Bartz Law Group

Employee Rights Advocates

California Law on Negligent Hiring, Supervision, and Retention

California Law

According to California law, an employee is responsible for an employee’s negligence, carelessness, or willful misconduct if the company knew or should have known that the person posed a danger to others. This legal doctrine is “negligent hiring, managing, or keeping an employee.”

Contrary to California’s Respondeat Superior statute, which holds employers vicariously responsible for an employee’s wrongdoing, the state’s negligent hiring, supervision, or retention legislation holds employers accountable directly for failing to take reasonable precautions to ensure the safety of others.

This is significant because workers often lack the resources necessary to retain an employment attorney in Southern California and cover all compensatory damages incurred by affected parties. Employers often have more financial resources and are more likely to have insurance to cover their workers’ conduct in a personal injury lawsuit.

Examples of frequent negligent hiring, negligent supervision, or negligent retention situations include:

  • A driver with a history of violence is hired by a taxi or ride-sharing firm, and the driver assaults a passenger.
  • A restaurant that does not require servers to wash their hands after using the lavatory, a nursing facility in Southern California that does not follow the proper evacuation procedures.
  • A patient who suffers a severe injury in a fall may file a lawsuit against the restaurant for food poisoning injuries.

Additionally, businesses that hire untrained nannies, caretakers, camp counselors, daycare workers, babysitters, or youth group leaders regularly face claims of negligent supervision of children.

The Elements of Negligent Hiring, Supervision, or Retention Claims

In California, the plaintiff must show the following to establish that the defendant was negligent in selecting, managing, or retaining an employee:

  • The worker was not qualified to perform the duties for which they were recruited.
  • The employee’s unfitness or incompetence and the potential danger it posed to others’ safety were both known to or should have been known to the defendant.
  • The employee’s unfitness or incompetence harmed the plaintiff.

Who is Considered an Employee in Southern California?

Employees are defined as anybody who is directly under the authority of an employer for California’s negligent hiring, retention, or supervision legislation. These individuals include both paid workers and:

  • Temporary employees
  • Individual contractors
  • Brokers
  • Security guards

What is Knowledge About an Employee Required?

An employer must have known or been made aware that the employee was unsuitable or incapable of executing the task they were employed or retained to be held accountable for negligent hiring, supervising, or retention.

Sometimes, all that needs to happen is for the employer to have received notice. In other situations, responsibility is based on the plaintiff’s legal need to exercise reasonable care.

Special Duties of Teachers, Ride-Sharing Companies, and Others

California laws require certain categories of employers to provide in addition to their general duty of care. For instance, schools have a responsibility to take reasonable precautions to safeguard pupils against harm from third parties that is reasonably foreseeable, including carelessness on their part and that of other students, professors, and staff members at the institution.

Companies that operate transportation networks, such as taxis and limousines, are required by law to research the criminal histories of their drivers. A driver with a history of certain offenses, especially violent ones, may not be hired.

Retaining an employment attorney during employee hiring is vital. The hiring process involves many elements that could land you in trouble if overlooked. Your attorney could build a strong defense if you are charged with negligent hiring.