Concepts of Negligent Training and Negligent Retention of an Unsafe Employee

Shot of a businessman looking stressed while sitting at his desk

We already covered the umbrella concept of Respondeat Superior and the concept of Negligent Hiring which we used an employer failing to check the driving record of a dangerous driver as an example to illustrate this concept. Today we’ll finish up with the concepts of Negligent Training and Negligent Retention of an Unsafe Employee. Being a fellow smart and good-looking person I’m betting you’ve guessed the general shape of these without me defining them. But let’s get started.

We’ll try and stick with our death metal loving delivery driver, the example may get a bit convoluted but I like the guy despite his wildly irresponsible decisions. It might surprise you to learn that there is no actual case that is based on Negligent Training. When it is used it is covered under the umbrella of our secret fifth type of Employer Liability, Negligent Supervision. Now for you experienced logophiles and nascent wordsmiths alike I’m sure you can already grasp the connection between these two states. They are functionally identical in a lot of ways. If you have an employee and don’t teach them how to do a thing safely you basically failed at watching over them until they could be trusted to do a thing safely. Negligent training is Negligent Supervision! Negligent Supervision is Negligent training! Going back to our unreliable example the death metal loving delivery driver (“DMLDD”) if we pretend that it is not common sense and instead a trained skill to not head bang while driving, then we can also assume it is an act of negligence to not in turn teach this to your delivery drivers. Further, if you let your delivery drivers just start working without first making sure they can drive without head banging reliably then you are being pretty negligent. Blammo, you have yourself a case of Negligent Training and Supervision.

Finally, what I feel is the easiest to grasp version of employer liability, Negligent Retention of an Unsafe Employee. Or Negligent Retention as it is more commonly known. It is exactly what it says on the tin. If you are an employer and, while in your employ, you become aware or should have become aware that an employee is unsafe in the performance of their duties, and you keep that person performing their duties with little, no, or below industry standard corrective action then that employer is liable of Negligent Retention. In order to prevail on a claim relying on Negligent retention the plaintiff can so, “only by showing that an employer had actual knowledge of numerous and serious violations on its driver’s record, or, at the very least, when the employer has flouted a legal duty to check a record showing such violations.” Western Industries, Inc. v. Poole, 280 Ga. App. 378, 381-82, 634 S.E.2d 118 (2006). In the case of DMLDD if while employed his boss sees that he is wracking up accidents and fails to do anything about he too is responsible for the damages caused by his employee. Not firing someone because they have a familial connection to you, such as being the brother of your spouse, means that you have a financial duty to reimburse those hurt by your own inaction.

I too am impressed that I was able to tie everything together and finally bring in your personal family connection DMLDD. But we are out of space for this week so look forward to next time where we’ll continue our drive to educate you on some of the basics of the law and maybe have a little bit of fun along the way. Remember though, these articles are just to give you an introduction to some common legal topics. They are no replacement for a good attorney. So please make sure you consult with an attorney before taking legal action and if you’ve been in a car wreck and want to make sure you get a fair deal from an insurance company.