Employer Liability For Negligent Hiring, Supervision, Or Retention Of Employees

An area of law that does not get a lot of attention in personal injury, wrongful death, motorcycle crash, and motor vehicle accident cases is an employer’s potential liability for negligent hiring, supervision, or retention of its employees.  Basically, employers have an obligation to use care when selecting, supervising, training, and deciding whether to keep their employees.  Failure to do so can result in direct employer liability if the employee injures someone.

Employers can be liable for the negligent or reckless employment of improper persons in work involving risk of harm to others, for the inadequate supervision of employees’ activities, or for permitting, or failing to prevent, negligent or other wrongful conduct by persons, whether or not employees or agents, upon the employer’s premises or with instrumentalities under the employer’s control.   Such claims are available even if the employee does not cause physical injuries to the other person.

A cause of action based on negligent hiring, supervision, or retention allows an injured party to recover even when the employee’s conduct is outside the scope of employment, because the employer’s own wrongful conduct has facilitated in some manner the negligent acts or wrongful conduct of the employee.  But a necessary element of a claim for negligent hiring, supervision, or retention is an underlying negligent or wrongful act committed by the employee.  Thus, an injured party must show that the employee’s underlying negligent or wrongful act caused a compensable injury, in addition to proving that the negligent hiring, supervision, or retention by the employer was a cause of those injuries.  If the employee didn’t do something wrong that caused harm to someone, then the employer cannot be liable for negligent hiring, supervision, or retention under any circumstances.

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