Employers have a responsibility to hire people who will not only be respectful and conscientious on the job; they must also screen out workers who could pose a threat to the other employees and create an unsafe workplace. If an employer fails to do so, they could face negligent hiring claims.
Clearly, quality hiring decisions are key to a successful business and a positive brand image. However, they are also crucial to workplace safety.
Here are some key things employers can do to avoid negligent hiring claims and help to ensure a secure and effective workplace:
1. Safe Workplace Structures and Procedures
Workplace safety starts with a well-organized work environment. Safe procedures, ergonomic equipment and well-trained staff make it easier for new hires to fall in line with workplace safety. This sets the tone for efficient, effective and safe operations going forward for both staff and customers.
2. A Brand Ethos of Safety
Safety and security should also be a part of the workplace brand. Creating an atmosphere of quality operations and accountability automatically builds this energy into the workplace. Safety can then become “contagious” in a positive way to both current employees and new hires.
3. Verify Credentials and Work History
Just because it’s listed on a resume doesn’t make it automatically true. If an employer doesn’t verify an applicant’s work history, schooling and accomplishments, this could play into a negligent hiring lawsuit later.
4. Following Up with References
It’s one thing to ask for references or see them on a resume; it’s another to actually follow up and contact them. It’s the responsibility of employers to check past employment history and character references to verify that the potential new hire doesn’t have a history of questionable behavior.
5. Thorough Background Checks
A background check is one of the most effective ways to avoid a negligent hiring lawsuit. Most negligent hiring claims are based upon the filer believing the employer should have been abreast of an individual’s history. If there is criminal activity, violence, sex offenses or other unsavory activity in an applicant’s past, employers should become aware of this. If they haven’t screened for this and hire the person, they could be sued for negligent hiring. For some jobs, drug screening, a physical, a credit check and/or a driving record search may also be required to avoid negligent hiring claims.
Negligent hiring is a risk and concern for a range of industries. While specific requirements can vary from state to state, any business can benefit from following these five tips for safe, responsible hiring.
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