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Employment April 17, 2014
 
Employment
 

Respondeat Superior Liability and Internet Use

Many employers, recognizing the business advantages inherent in its use, regularly provide their employees with access to the Internet.  Increased ...(more)

 

Employer Bankruptcy and Employee Benefits

Generally, a business that is facing serious financial difficulties might seek to file for bankruptcy under either Chapter 7 or ...(more)

 

Provisions of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act Affecting Employers

The Sarbanes-Oxley Act (the Act) became effective in July of 2002. The Act contains provisions that regulate the auditing and ...(more)

 

Statutory Employees May be Subject to Withholding

The term "common law" refers to a body of non-statutory tradition, custom, and decisions in actual cases that has historically ...(more)

 

Employment Law In The News

IRS Denies Additional Obamacare Delay

Employment law changes aplenty in 2014

The EEOC Mediator Said What?

Appeals court revives claims in Utah sexual harassment suit against judge

Seasonal workers warrant equal treatment in employment law matters

Employers' Liability for Failing to Screen Potential Employees


"Negligent hiring" is a legal doctrine that holds employers liable for unlawful acts committed by their employees. The issue arises when an employer hires a person that she knew or should have known could pose an undue risk of harm to others within the course and scope of employment.

Under this doctrine, the employer has the responsibility for checking the background and references of any job applicant before placing that individual in a situation of contact with the public. Examples of businesses particularly at risk may include:

  • Schools
  • Housing
  • Youth organizations
  • Customer-service

Establishing a Claim Under Negligent Hiring
A person that alleges injuries caused by an employee and expects to hold the employer liable under the doctrine of negligent hiring must show that:

  1. The employer owed a duty to that person because there was an association or connection between that person and the services or business the employer provides;
  2. The nature and frequency of the employee's contact with the public may pose a potential risk of harm; and
  3. Evidence of the employee's potential risk to others existed prior to and at the time of the hiring and that the employer failed to investigate.

Negligent Hiring Frequently Cited in Litigation
In December, 2005, the parents of an eight year-old boy filed a lawsuit against FedEx Corp., alleging the negligent hiring of Paul Sykes, a convicted sex offender. The lawsuit alleged that Sykes approached the family at the Connecticut FedEx Kinko's store where he was employed, and offered to repair their home computer. While visiting their home to repair the computer, Sykes allegedly assaulted their son. The lawsuit asserted that FedEx knew, or should have known, of Sykes' dangerous propensities as a sexual predator. In April of 2007 Sykes was sentenced to 12 years in prison for the molestation.  In 2008, a federal judge dismissed the civil lawsuit against FedEx, ruling the company could not be held responsible for the conduct of its employee outside the workplace. The case is currently on appeal. 

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