Negligent Hiring North Carolina
Negligent hiring practices can create a stressful—or even dangerous—work environment for everyone. If you have noticed patterns of sexual harassment, discrimination or dangerous behavior in your workplace, your employer may be failing to take appropriate steps during the hiring process and supervision process of its employees. If employees violate certain laws or company policies and your employer takes insufficient remedial action, the employer may be liable for any harm caused to you as a result.
North Carolina’s courts recognize a claim for negligent hiring or negligent retention where an employer is negligent in placing or keeping a person with known propensities, or propensities which should have been discovered by reasonable investigation, in an employment position in which, because of the circumstances of employment it should have been foreseeable that the hired individual posed a threat of harm to others.
The six elements of a negligent hiring or negligent retention claim are:
- The offending employee was an employee of defendant;
- The offending employee was unfit for employment;
- The employer knew or should have known that the offending employee was unfit;
- The victim employee was injured by the offending employee’s wrongful act;
- The employer owed a duty of care to the victim employee; and
- The hiring of the offending employee was the proximate cause of the victim employee’s injuries
Your employer is obligated to safeguard the workplace and exercise due diligence when new people are hired. This generally includes performing criminal background checks, drug testing, credit reports, and checking applicants against the sex offender database. Many people tend to assume that employers automatically do all of these things, but lawsuits are filed every year over negligent hiring. If, for example, someone operates heavy machinery and a proper background or reference check could have discovered that this person was fired from a previous job for repeatedly failing to follow safety procedures, your employer may be legally negligent in hiring this person if that employee injures someone at work.
If an employee commits a severe breach of policy, or behaves in a way that raises concerns—inside or outside of work—your employer must take steps to correct the situation. For example, if management is aware that a sexual harassment complaint has been made against one of its supervisors, the company ignores the incident, negligent retention may have occurred if that person subsequently sexually harasses another employee at work.
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