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“Negligent Hiring” leads to $7 Billion in Punitive Damages

negligent hiring

A Dallas jury recently awarded $7 billion in punitive damages against a cable company for “systemic safety failures” leading to the negligent hiring of a field technician. That employee stabbed and murdered an 83-year-old woman in her home in 2019.

According to the complaint, the cable company “got rid of an employee screening program” and hired this individual without verifying his employment history. Had they done so, they would have discovered that he was lying about his experience.

A proper background screening also would have revealed that he had been fired for forgery, falsifying documents, and harassment of fellow employees.

A North Texas law professor noted that the punitive damages in this case was founded on the fact that the company had a “heightened duty” with regard to its hiring process since their employees enter the homes of customers and the company has to ensure their safety. “The law imposes duties upon employers,” the law professor noted.

“The duty of care in a case like this is greater than the normal duty of care because employees are entering the home. The question then becomes — was that duty of care breached?”

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Effects of Negligent Hiring

A claim of negligent hiring is made by an injured party against an employer. The basis of the claim is that the employer knew or should have known something about the employee’s history which indicated dangerous or untrustworthy propensities.

Some of the most effective ways of avoiding these claims include pre-employment background checks and employee drug testing. Hire Image has extensive experience working with employers to provide the services they need most to understand who they are hiring.

Contact us for more information.

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