Sentry's blog

High Penalties for Employers in Negligent Hiring Lawsuits

Credential Sentry's Communication Team6/11/2022
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Accidents or injuries to third parties caused by the negligence of licensed professionals are not, unfortunately, uncommon occurrences.

Consider the periodic judicial findings of inadequate care by nurses or news reports of vehicle accidents owing to a truck operator’s negligence. As may be expected, the professional who caused the injury may be primarily liable. However, less known is that those who hire specialists in regulated industries without adequate professional license background checks may also be found at fault.

Several recent high-profile cases have generated renewed public attention to the issue of negligent hiring and retention, and the consequences that deficient credential checks can have on employers.

  • In 2007, an accident in Atlanta occured when a commercial truck driver ran a red light. A lawsuit was launched by a victim and the owner of the trucking company admitted to having failed to conduct a pre-employment background check (which would have revealed a history of accidents and prior suspensions). The victim obtained $566,000 in compensatory damages and $15,000 in punitive damages against the trucking company for negligent hiring.
  • In 2011, a timber company was found 75 percent liable when one of its truck drivers killed individuals in an accident in Arkansas. The company had failed to conduct a basic search of the driver which would have revealed a history of unsafe driving, and also that his license had been revoked twice. The court awarded $7 million in damages in this instance.
  • In 2019, a $54 million jury verdict was affirmed against a trucking company for the negligent hiring and retention of a truck driver with a poor driving record. The truck driver caused an accident when he drove down the wrong way on a highway.

These examples serve to underscore the concept of negligent hiring and retention, and the potential consequences an adverse judicial finding may have for an employer of licensed or credentialed professionals in the wake of an accident. Whether your organization hires truck drivers, dental hygienists, architects, or any number of other professionals, the same legal liability can apply where credential verification practices are deficient.

The Harmful Impacts That Poor Hiring Practices Have On Employers

In order to guard against unfortunate situations like these, which can result in heavy financial penalties in addition to a dent in your company's reputation, is to conduct a thorough and error-free background check during the hiring process to ensure that the individuals you hire do not have an instance of license suspension in their employment history.

Automated License Check Processes to Eliminate Negligent Hiring

It is a time-consuming and laborious task that is also fraught with the possibility of error to conduct manual screening and vetting on each new employee that you hire while simultaneously monitoring the current license status of your existing workforce.

However, with the recent development of software that performs an automated license lookup, the process of performing due diligence and staying on top of things in terms of managing the professional details of your workforce has become significantly simpler, more reliable, and more efficient.

The following is a list of the primary duties that comprise due diligence:

  • Professional background screening;
  • Verification of professional license status via a reliable website;
  • Searching for previous instances of license suspension.

Some of these responsibilities, like determining whether or not a professional license is active, have to be carried out at predetermined intervals and without fail. Furthermore, the information of each individual worker must be organized into a categorical database so that it is always available when needed.

All of these tasks can be now completed on an automated basis, accurately and efficiently thanks to Credential Sentry's online license verification tool.

Here are the most crucial steps for conducting automated license checks for employees and contractors in licensed industries using Credential Sentry:

  • To initiate the process, you are only required to submit a list of your employees and contractors;
  • After uploading the file, the status of each license is automatically determined and displayed on the dashboard;
  • The system streamlines the tedious license verification process by performing the task automatically and without your action;
  • The tool performs the license status check on your behalf, screening official third-party websites that contain information on the licensed in the jurisdiction of your choosing, and immediately notifies you of the results;
  • The system displays the license status (active or inactive) so you can determine if an employee's license has been suspended or revoked for unprofessional conduct;
  • Additionally, the software can be configured to conduct routine screenings on a predetermined schedule and send you email alerts so that you are always informed while saving time, money, and other resources.

Benefits of Employer Due Diligence Software for Hiring

Many advantages can be gained by using automated software to conduct employee license checks, the most significant of which are outlined below:

  • Saving time, effort, and energy so that you can focus on more important business growth-driving activities;
  • Boosting overall productivity of the company, as more of the workforce can be deployed to other demanding tasks than conducting background screenings and license checks;
  • Ensuring high-quality professionals within your workforce with valid and authentic licenses and certifications;
  • Preventing you and your company from facing any legal actions due to negligence in hiring and license verification;
  • Building trust between you and your employees and between your employees and the customers;
  • Maintaining strong business relationships in your field that boost the reputation of your business;
  • Providing you peace of mind of knowing the exact license status of all of your employees at all times.

Effective Vetting Processes Reduce Hiring Risk

Employers have a fundamental responsibility to undertake due diligence when collaborating with specialists in licensed vocations, and given the demanding nature of the corresponding rules that result in harsh fines, failing to do so can be devastating to their business growth and reputation.

Credential Sentry's automated license verification tool is used during the hiring process to ensure more informed decisions and time savings due to its error-free and efficient operation, which could save an employer's life. Using software that conducts accurate, efficient, and timely license checks on your behalf is the best investment you can make to safeguard your company and yourself against negligent hiring and work with the people you can rely on. Sign up for a free demo at and learn how to get started.

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