New Texas Law Limits Negligent Hiring Liability
Texas has a new law that limits the liability of employers hiring persons with criminal convictions. Under its protections, employers are insulated from liability for negligent hiring or failing to adequately supervise when they hire individuals with criminal convictions, with certain exceptions. Signed by Governor Perry on June 14, H.B. 1188 is effective immediately.
Marc Levin, the director of the Center for Effective Justice at the conservative Texas Public Policy Foundation, said in a news release that the bill would be good for business. “Many business leaders have identified the threat of being sued for negligent hiring as one of the main reasons they cannot hire and retain otherwise qualified and productive rehabilitated ex-offenders,” he said.
Specifically, the Texas Civil Practices and Remedies Code is amended to bar a cause of action against an employer, general contractor, premises owner, or other third party “solely for negligently hiring or failing to adequately supervise an employee, based on evidence that the employee has been convicted of an offense.”
There are some exceptions:
1) When the employer, general contractor, premises owner, or other third party knew or should have known of the conviction; and
2) When the employee was convicted of:
- An offense committed while performing duties substantially similar to those reasonably expected to be performed in the employment, or under conditions substantially similar to those reasonably expected to be encountered in the employment;
- Any offense listed in Sec. 3g, Art., 42.12 of the Texas Code of Criminal Procedure, which includes among other offenses, murder, indecency with a child, aggravated kidnapping, aggravated sexual assault, aggravated robbery, sexual assault, compelling prostitution, trafficking in persons, sexual performance by a child, where a deadly weapon was used or exhibited, and certain enhanced Health and Safety Code violations; or
- A sexually violent offense.
The protections under the new law also do not cover lawsuits involving misuse of funds or property of other persons when, on the date the employee was hired, he or she was convicted of a crime that includes fraud or misuse of funds or property as an element of the offense, and it was foreseeable that the job for which the employee was hired would involve discharging a fiduciary responsibility in the management of funds or property.
Moreover, H.B. 1188 expressly does not create a cause of action, nor does it expand any existing cause of action.