Negligent Hiring Sex Offender Claim In California

In Federico v. Superior Court (1997) 59 Cal. App. 4th 1207 [69 Cal. Rptr. 2d 370], a hairstyling school could not be found liable under a negligent hiring theory for an employee's molestation of a minor where there was nothing that would have indicated the employee posed a threat of harm to minors he might encounter in the course of the work he was hired to perform. Consequently, "as a matter of law, hiring [the employee] did not constitute a breach of defendant's limited duty to exercise reasonable care in his selection of employees." (Id. at p. 1213.) The appellate court also held the minor's cause of action based on negligent supervision should have been disposed of by summary judgment. While the record contained evidence of the employee's conduct at work which, in hindsight, could have been indicative of the employee's "deviant sexual proclivities," such conduct "did not result in any complaints to [the employer] by the children involved or their parents." (Id. at p. 1216.) Thus, they could not be used to impose liability for negligent supervision on the employer, who had no actual knowledge or reason to suspect these incidents had occurred. (Ibid.)