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If one of your employees sexually assaults someone on the job, is your company liable? The answer depends on the extent to which the company created the opportunity for the assault to occur. Three main legal theories come into play here: negligent hiring, negligent retention, and respondeat superior. If the victim is able to prove each element in court, the victim would be able to recover a judgment against the company based on that theory.

Negligent HiringTo prove negligent hiring, the victim must show: 1) The employer was required to make an appropriate investigation of the employee and failed to do so; 2) an appropriate investigation would have revealed the employee was unsuitable for the job; and 3) it was unreasonable for the employer to hire the employee in light of the information the employer knew or should have known.

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