Clear Background Check in Florida Could Still Result in Lawsuit

Nick Fishman

We are closely following a proposed bill in the state of Florida which would remove certain protections the state’s employers currently receive against negligent hiring suits in the event that they conduct an employment background check.

Florida House Bill 449 “Jim King Keep Florida Working Act” would remove a provision in Fla. Stat. § 768.096 (Employer presumption against negligent hiring) which was enacted as part of the 1999 Florida Tort Reform Act.

According to one legal expert I have spoken with, “The statute provides that in a civil action for death or injury caused by an employee’s intentional tort, the employer is presumed not to be negligent in hiring the employee if he engaged in one or more pre-employment background investigation steps that did not ‘reveal any information that reasonably demonstrated the unsuitability of the prospective employee for the particular work to be performed or for the employment in general.’”

The state’s website introduces this bill as follows:

“Criminal Justice; Designates act “Jim King Keep Florida Working Act”; requires state agencies & regulatory boards to identify & evaluate restrictions on licensing & employment for ex-offenders; prohibits state agencies from denying certain applications based on person’s lack of civil rights; provides exception; requires employer to review results of criminal background investigation & not place employee with criminal record where conduct similar to past criminal conduct would be facilitated, etc.”

This bill should be of significant concern to employers in the state of Florida.  It basically means that even if you performed a comprehensive background check which did not indicate any adverse information, you can still be held accountable for negligent hiring.  Does that make any sense?  I suppose state lawmakers would prefer that employers look into a crystal ball to predict the future.

Read full version of Florida HB 449

Nick Fishman
Follow Me

Nick Fishman

Nick Fishman is the co-founder of EmployeeScreenIQ, a leading, global employment background screening provider, and serves as the company’s executive vice president and chief marketing officer. He pioneered the creation of EmployeeScreen University, the #1 educational resource on employment background checks for human resources, security and risk management professionals. A recognized industry expert, Nick is a frequent author, presenter and contributor to the news media. Nick is also a licensed private investigator in the states of Ohio and Texas.
Nick Fishman
Follow Me
Tweet
Share
Email
Share