Background Checks and Negligent Hiring

While many businesses do perform background checks prior to hiring new employees, there are many others who don’t for various reasons. If you are an employer that cites the cost of these screenings as a reason for not conducting them, there are a few things you need to consider before continuing this practice. The most important reason, however, is the potential for you to be held liable due to hiring negligence.

What Is Hiring Negligence?

In general, hiring negligence is a term that ultimately means that if you fail to take care that is considered reasonable when hiring workers, your organization can be held responsible if an employee harms someone else while on the job. Reasonable care in this instance simply means that you took the steps necessary to provide yourself with the knowledge that a potential employee might not be the best fit for an open position.

If you employ a person who hurts another employee, a customer or even someone else while on the job, your actions during the hiring process could make you responsible to the injured party – especially if you knew or should have known that the employee had the potential for doing so.

Background Checks Can Help

Negligent hiring can be quite harmful to a business depending on the severity of the injuries against the third party. However, you do have a very important weapon in your arsenal that can protect you from these circumstances: a pre-employment background check. By performing a background check on all potential employees, this allows you to weed out potential new hires that have a history of violent crimes or criminal acts.

This isn’t to say that you shouldn’t hire someone with a criminal record. It just means that if you want to hire someone and find out he or she has several convictions for violent crimes within the past few years, it might be better for your company to pass over that person in favor of someone that doesn’t have a recent history.

When you utilize a pre-employment background check for all new employees, you are protecting yourself and your business against liability due to negligent hiring. However, keep in mind that this can still apply if you choose to hire someone with a violent background, even if it wasn’t a recent crime – you will have to use your own discretion.



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