Highlight on Healthcare Background Checks: Avoid Negligent Hiring Suits

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

The best protection against negligent hiring lawsuits is a policy of due diligence on each applicant that approaches your company. The healthcare industry is particularly vulnerable to negligent hiring lawsuits because they are held liable for any illegal act conducted by their employees. Managers and supervisors can even be held personally responsible for the acts of those they manage and supervise.

If an individual in a healthcare facility is injured physically or financially by the criminal, violent, or negligent acts of an employee they may legally pursue a negligent hiring lawsuit against the employer. Punitive damages from such a lawsuit can range well into a six-figure settlement. Negligent hiring suits that are successful demonstrate:

  • An employment relationship existed at the time of injury
  • As a result of the relationship, the employee and the injured party met
  • Both parties had a right to be where they were at the time of injury
  • The employee was unfit or incompetent and posed a reasonable risk to the public
  • The employer knew or should have known the employee was unfit
  • The employee caused injury
  • The employer’s negligence in hiring was the proximate cause of injury

Utilizing background checks is one way to prevent negligent hiring from happening in the first place. A recent survey by SHRM (the Society for Human Resource Management) indicates that 53% of job applications contained false information and 10% conceal criminal history.

At minimum, conducting a criminal background
in all counties in which an applicant has lived for at least the last seven years. Verifying licensure, employment and education are extremely valuable in the wake of public reports of education fraud on resumes.


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