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Have You Heard The Term Negligent Hiring Liability?  


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By Emilio Polce, EcoChoice Termite & Pest Control, LLC

Employers have a moral and a LEGAL obligation to provide a safe work environment. The court defines negligent hiring as “the failure to investigate a job applicant’s work experience, character, criminal history and other relevant data prior to the hiring of an employee.” It means your company can and will be held liable for the criminal or violent acts of its employees.

In addition, courts have repeatedly affirmed that employers have a duty to exercise REASONABLE CARE in hiring individuals who, because of the nature of employment may pose a threat to the public.

So, what can you do to ensure that you know who you’re really hiring?


Comprehensive background checks are CRITICAL to ensuring you’re obtaining an applicant’s criminal records, license certifications, former employment history, etc. These are tools that will not only protect your company, but also save time and money in recruiting, training and hiring. Many companies who do background checks see an almost immediate improvement in the quality of applicants.

Knowing whether a potential employee has been involved in criminal activity (such as substance abuse, reckless behavior, dishonesty, theft or dangerous and violent behaviors) allows an employer to determine if an applicant is suited for the job and work environment, and helps the employer determine if the applicant poses a potential threat to clients or other employees. 

Please understand even if you do all the checks there still maybe people that go awry after you hire them. If you have a track record of always doing background checks you have fulfilled “REASONABLE CARE. “

Some of the most common background screening packages:

• A Nationwide Criminal Search (NPMA Price $6.50)

• This should be a search of all 50 states for criminal convictions.

• A Social Security Trace (NPMA Price $2.45)

• A SSN Trace is a two-part search that verifies the validity of a SSN number and provides expanded address history for the life of the SSN.

• MANUAL County Courthouse Searches for 7 years of applicant address history (NPMA Price $9.00)

• (2 – 3 counties on average). Manual county searches are searches where researches go into a courthouse to pull records

• Employment Credit Check (NPMA Price $4.50)

• Credit checks should only be run if they are applicable to the job itself – such as taking payments, handling money, going into a client’s home, handling banking information, etc.

• Former Employer Verifications (NPMA Price $9.00)

• Professional Reference Checks (NPMA Price $9.00)

• Many applicants may not be honest about the reasons they left their previous employers.

• License or Education Verifications (NPMA Price $9.00/each)

- A good background screening firm should be able to verify almost any type of specialty license or credential.

• MVR’s (Motor Vehicle Records) (NPMA Price $2.50 plus CT Fee $18.00)

- MVR’s should be run if an employee is operating a company vehicle or driving their own vehicle for business purposes, such as driving to a client’s home to perform a service. 

The key to a comprehensive background check is having a great background screening partner. Look for a partner who is NAPBS accredited, focuses on educating clients on what they do and DON’T need, is honest and forthright about their sources of data, acts as your compliance partner – relieving your burden of staying up to date on the ever-changing regulations regarding the use of criminal records in hiring, EEOC issues and hot topics such as Ban the Box and finally, look for a firm that is honest and will treat your business like it’s their own. 

NPMA Preferred Background Screening Partner – Reference Services, Inc.

After much consideration, the NPMA found a background screening firm that they felt truly worthy of calling their partner – Reference Services, Inc. 

RSI is nationally accredited by the National Association of Professional Background Screeners. They’ve earned the business of many national clients by uncovering criminal records that others miss.

Deb Keller, VP of Compliance, Danielle Chase, Client Account Manager or any of the RSI team at 812-474-9000. And even if you’re not quite ready to become a client, the RSI team will help you by answering your questions about background screening or compliancy. They’re committed to NPMA & QUALITY PRO members and offer special member pricing as well. You can also visit RSI’s website for more valuable information at www.referenceservices.com.