Updates and advice for attorneys and law departments.

How to Avoid Negligent Hiring Charges

Negligent hiring charges – and liability – are on the rise.  Law firms and legal departments are in a particularly sensitive position when it comes to negligent hiring.  The nature of legal work requires the highest concern for confidentiality and client protection.  And because legal organizations specialize in understanding the law, courts are more likely to hold them to the highest standards when it comes to ensuring they hire with due care.

How can your law firm or legal department reduce the risk of facing a negligent hiring claim while still finding the people you need when you need them?  Consider the following tips:

  1. Review your background check policy.
    Recent court rulings and EEOC rulemaking have changed the expectations regarding background checks for potential new employees, especially in organizations that handle confidential information, financial data, and other sensitive documents. If your firm or department hasn’t reviewed and revised its background check policy within the past year, make it a priority to ensure this policy reflects the latest work in negligent hiring law and practice.
  2. Train hiring managers and staff on how to implement the policy.
    Hiring managers understand that successful hiring navigates tricky waters. On the one side, the organization needs to protect itself from a negligent hiring situation; on the other, it must avoid illegal discrimination in the hiring process.In order to improve the chances of “smooth sailing” between these two obstacles, train hiring managers and staff on the details of your organization’s background check policy and other hiring policies.  Standardize these processes whenever possible, and make sure they are followed precisely.
  3. Work with your staffing firm.
    Your staffing partner specializes not only in finding top candidates, but in screening them to help your organization meet its “due care” responsibilities in hiring. Make sure your staffing firm is also familiar with the details of your background check and other hiring policies, and that your staffing partner can provide evidence that your policy requirements are met for each recommended candidate.  Your staffing firm can also provide an “on the ground” view of hiring, with real-world examples, that can help your organization revise its policies for better effectiveness.

At Assigned Counsel, our experienced recruiters can help you execute background checks, screen candidates, and implement other tools to reduce the risk that an allegation of negligent hiring will “stick.”  Contact us today to learn more.

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