What is Employer Negligence?

N. Madison
N. Madison

Employer negligence is a legal situation in which an employer fails to provide a work environment that is safe and supportive of employee rights. There are many types of situations that may be considered negligence. For example, an employer may be considered negligent for failing to train employees property or neglecting to set and uphold safety standards. An employer may also be accused of employer negligence if he hires an employee with violent tendencies because he failed to screen the new worker properly.

Employers may face accusations of negligent hiring if they fail to properly screen employees.
Employers may face accusations of negligent hiring if they fail to properly screen employees.

Not only do employers have a moral obligation to ensure that the work environment is safe for their employees, but they are also legally required to do so. Many countries have laws that require employers to meet certain safety standards. Likewise, many jurisdictions have legal requirements for protecting employee rights. If an employer fails to run his business in keeping with the standards set by his jurisdiction's laws, he leaves himself vulnerable to employer negligence lawsuits.

An employer may be considered negligent for failing to train employees property.
An employer may be considered negligent for failing to train employees property.

One type of employer negligence involves the failure to ensure that the work environment, tools, and equipment are safe for a company’s employees. For example, a truck driving company has an obligation to ensure that its vehicles are in good repair. Failure to do so could result in injury to the company’s employees as well as other drivers on the road. If a truck driver is in an accident because his employer failed to inspect and properly maintain a vehicle, the employer may be guilty of negligence.

Sometimes employers are accused of negligent training or supervision. In such a case, an employer fails to train and monitor an employee, and this failure leads to some sort of damage. For example, an employer may require an employee to handle hazardous chemicals. If he does not train and monitor the employee in handling these chemicals, the employee may use them in a dangerous manner. If the employee harms himself or another person because of the lack of training and supervision, the employer may be accused of employer negligence.

An employer may also face an accusation of negligent hiring. This is a situation in which an employer fails to properly screen the employees he hires. In such a case, an employer may unknowingly hire someone with a history of violent or criminal behavior. For example, a daycare center may hire a childcare worker without running a background check to discover a history of child abuse. If the worker abuses a child at the daycare center, his employer may be sued for employer negligence.

Failing to provide a safe work environment might be considered employer negligence.
Failing to provide a safe work environment might be considered employer negligence.
N. Madison
N. Madison

Nicole’s thirst for knowledge inspired her to become a wiseGEEK writer, and she focuses primarily on topics such as homeschooling, parenting, health, science, and business. When not writing or spending time with her four children, Nicole enjoys reading, camping, and going to the beach.

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Discussion Comments


Can anybody please advise me? My brother works at a fast food chain and on the first day of work was not given the correct PPE to work on the grill and this resulted in him burning his hand.

A manager witnessed this, but didn't put the accident in the accident book. He was then told to watch another member once and then was left to "fend for himself." Is this negligence since the lack of training and supervision plus a lack of PPE resulted in burns to his hand?


I was injured at work a few years back when a pushcart wheel fell off, resulting in me falling and shattering my knee. The bolt had worked itself loose overtime and just fell off. Simple routine maintenance could have prevented my injury.

Despite the orthopedic specialist stating I had reached mmi, I still deal with often crippling pain. And workers comp just says too bad, past the sol. Is my employer still culpable for negligence/treatment if there is more damage from the injury than was originally diagnosed/treated?


I think that far too many lawsuits involving employer negligence are filed than necessary. Employees often abuse their rights, and they make outrageous claims about horrible work conditions that just aren't that awful.

I work in an old building that probably has mold and tons of dust in the air ducts. Everybody there sneezes frequently, but no one has really complained too much, and we all deal with it.

We had a new hire last year who just could not believe that we were working in what she called “such awful conditions!” She actually talked to a lawyer about what she thought was employer negligence, and she took my boss to court over this.

All the judge did was tell the boss to have a crew come in and clean out the ducts. He didn't reward any damages to the employee, who had only worked there for 4 months when she filed suit.


@Oceana – It sounds like the daycare manager also could have filed suit for employee negligence. Sure, the employer should have paid more attention to what her employees were doing, but then again, the employee may have behaved fine while she was being watched. This employee was definitely negligent, so she's lucky she didn't get sued by the daycare.

Your mother was employing the worker who watched over you, but actually, she was an employee of the organization, and she was at fault for what happened. So, it would be much more likely for a case of employee negligence to be won in this situation.


@OeKc05 – Well, that's a pretty clear-cut case of employer negligence causing injury. It's good that you guys got that man out of there, because so many more injuries could have occurred if he had stayed.

My mother could have had a good case against the daycare worker at the place she took me to, but she couldn't afford a lawyer, so she let it go. The worker was a high school dropout, and she often left sharp and dangerous objects lying around where the kids could reach them. Also, she would leave the room for long periods of time, so we were completely unsupervised.

One of the other kids at the daycare picked up a knife that the worker had left on the table and started jabbing playfully at me with it. She was only four, so she didn't know any better. She cut my arm, and I started bleeding a lot.

When my mother found out that we had been left alone in a room with a knife, she was furious. She talked to the manager of the daycare, who promptly fired the girl. That was enough to console my mother.


My employer had to pay negligence damages to my coworker. He was supposed to inspect and approve all machinery before allowing us to use it, and everyone in the factory knew that he wasn't doing this.

He actually passed off that duty to someone who wasn't qualified to inspect machinery. That's how lazy the boss was. The safety of his employees meant nothing to him.

My coworker lost the use of her left forearm because of his negligence. I'm glad he was forced to pay her. I'm even more glad that he was fired by upper management.

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