Friday, February 8, 2013

Health club hired convicted molester, lawsuit claims

Health club hired convicted molester, lawsuit claims

This story demonstrates what is, unfortunately, a very common scenario, which is the negligent hiring, supervision and/or retention of employees with criminal histories of sex offenses.  As an attorney that routinely prosecutes civil claims against such employers, I find it appalling that employers ranging from small companies to major corporations continue to have unreasonable policies and procedures regarding the screening of personnel they hire who they know will come in contact with their patrons.  This particular case is a health club worker but, I have had cases in hospitals, mental health institutions, drug rehabilitation facilities and many other types of organizations including non-profit and religious institutions where this occurs.

What Does California Law Say About Negligent Hiring?

With certain exceptions and nuances, the negligence laws of CA provide that an employer may be held liable for the acts of its employee when the following elements are shown:

1. That the employee was unfit and/or incompetent to perform the work for which [he/she] was hired;
2. That the employer knew or should have known that the employee was unfit/incompetent and that this unfitness or incompetence created a particular risk to others;
3. That the employee's unfitness or incompetence harmed the person seeking damages; and
4. That employer's negligence in hiring, supervising, and/or retaining the employee was a substantial factor in causing harm.

 In the present example, if the molestor sexually assaulted a patron of the club and it was found that the club knew or should have known about his background, there very well may be good cause to make the club pay money damages to the patron assaulted or battered.