Negligent Hiring of Unfit Employee In California

"In California, an employer can be held liable for negligent hiring if he knows the employee is unfit, or has reason to believe the employee is unfit or fails to use reasonable care to discover the employee's unfitness before hiring him." (Evan F. v. Hughson United Methodist Church (1992) 8 Cal. App. 4th 828, 843 10 Cal. Rptr. 2d 748.) "The theory of negligent hiring here encompasses the particular risk of molestation by an employee with a history of this specific conduct." (Id. at p. 837.) Furthermore, there can be no liability for negligent supervision "in the absence of knowledge by the principal that the agent or servant was a person who could not be trusted to act properly without being supervised." (Noble v. Sears, Roebuck & Co. (1973) 33 Cal. App. 3d 654, 664 109 Cal. Rptr. 269, 73 A.L.R.3d 1164.) The doctrine of respondeat superior is an exception to the general rule that liability follows fault. Respondeat superior generally imposes liability on an employer when its employee engages in tortious conduct while acting within the course and scope of employment. In such cases, the faultless employer may be held vicariously liable for the employee's actions on the theory that it would be unjust for an enterprise to disclaim responsibility for injuries occurring in the course of its characteristic activities. (Mary M. v. City of Los Angeles (1991) 54 Cal. 3d 202, 208 285 Cal. Rptr. 99, 814 P.2d 1341.) The employer's liability thus extends beyond the employer's actual or possible control of the employee to include risks inherent in or created by the enterprise. (Perez v. Van Groningen & Sons, Inc. (1986) 41 Cal. 3d 962, 967 227 Cal. Rptr. 106, 719 P.2d 676.) It follows, in part, that a plaintiff seeking to impose liability on a theory of respondeat superior must show that the employee's tortious conduct was committed within the course and scope of employment. (Mary M. v. City of Los Angeles, supra, 54 Cal. 3d at p. 209.)