A jury in Texas has awarded more than $1 million in a negligent hiring lawsuit filed against a company on behalf of an employee who was killed on the job by a co-worker. They claimed the company knowingly provided an unsafe workplace for employees.
On April 1, 2015, at the workplace premises Steven Young shot and killed co-worker Jacob Matthew Cadriel with a 38-caliber handgun. Young was arrested and charged with murder. He is currently serving a 45 year sentence.
The negligent hiring lawsuit claimed the employer failed to “conduct comprehensive employment background checks and criminal record searches on their employees”.
The company was negligent because it “failed to listen to numerous workers at the facility who repeatedly reported the erratic and unstable behavior of Young” and also “failed to provide training or education on identifying and handling this type of violent behavior in the workplace.”
In 2008, Young was “arrested, charged and convicted of carrying an illegal weapon on the jobsite.” In 2014, he was “arrested and charged with making a terroristic threat.” He was out on bond awaiting trial when he murdered Cadriel. “Out on bond” means this court record would show on a screening report as an ACTIVE CASE “if” the a criminal check had been processed.
Sadly, the instant, Nationwide Criminal databases many employers use for their criminal records search does not report ACTIVE CASES OR ACTIVE WARRANTS. “You will never see an active case from an Instant Database even if they do “claim” to be Nationwide and thorough”, states Rebekah Near, owner of Orca Information, Inc. a background screening company providing thorough employment screening reports in all 50 States.
Rebekah adds, “We try to educate our clients and HR professionals but there is still a lot of misunderstanding
when it comes to Instant Nationwide criminal databases. They just are not reliable. Cheap – yes. Reliable – no!”
The jury returned its verdict stating “the employer was negligent, the premises was in an unreasonably dangerous condition, and failed in their duty to warn Cadriel of the highly foreseeable likelihood of harm, which contributed to his death.”
The jury awarded for the estate of Mr. Cadriel his pain and suffering, medical bills, lost earning potential, and his wife’s loss of companionship.
“When an employer fails to exercise due diligence and a person is harmed by an employee, that employer can be sued,”. “The name of the legal action is negligent hiring”.
Every employer has an obligation to exercise reasonable care for the safety of others when hiring workers. The legal description of that duty of care is called due diligence. “If an employer hires someone who they either knew, or in the exercise of reasonable care should have known, was dangerous, dishonest, unfit, or unqualified for the position, and it was foreseeable that some sort of injury could happen as a result, the employer can be sued for negligent hiring,”.
Data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) shows that deaths related to workplace violence by coworkers is rising nationwide. 61 people were killed by workplace violence at their jobs by a co-worker in 2014, up from 49 killed in in 2011.
For more information on our “comprehensive” employment screening services, contact Rebekah Near