What IS Negligent Hiring?

by | Feb 1, 2023 | Helpful Tips

On April 1, 2015, Steven Young shot and killed co-worker Jacob Matthew Cadriel with a 38-caliber handgun while working at a fabrication factory in Texas. Following investigations and an eventual conviction, a lawsuit, claiming that the employer “had failed to conduct comprehensive employment background checks & criminal record searches on their employees” was filed. 

During the investigation, they discovered that in 2008, Young had been “arrested, charged and convicted of carrying an illegal weapon on the jobsite.” In 2014, he was “arrested and charged with making a terroristic threat.” A background check would have disclosed those concerning charges. Ultimately, the jury found the employer guilty of negligent hiring and they were ordered to pay restitution in the amount of $1 million dollars.  

An organization can be found guilty of this practice if it’s determined they didn’t use reasonable care (i.e. background checks, reference checks) in selecting an applicant and once hired, harms another individual in the organization. In laypersons’ terms, this is simply referred to as “due diligence”.

The key takeaway for employers is this. The size of your company doesn’t matter, and the reasons you may give for failing to utilize due diligence doesn’t matter. If an employer hires someone who they either knew, or in the exercise of reasonable care should have known, was dangerous, dishonest, unfit, or unqualified for the position, and it was foreseeable that some sort of injury could happen as a result, the employer can be sued for negligent hiring.