Arizona Governor Doug Ducey recently signed HB 2311 into law, bolstering limited liability protections for employers when hiring employees or contracting with independent contractors previously convicted of criminal offenses.
The law attempts to balance increased risks and liability associated with possible negligent hiring. It prohibits the introduction of evidence of an employee’s or independent contractor’s criminal offenses and/or convictions prior to the date of hire or engagement in negligent hiring cases.
“Criminal offense” is defined as “any criminal offense except violent offenses and sexual offenses.” The broadest categories of coverage will be for non-violent or aggravated theft or the possession and sale of illegal drugs.
The liability limitations do not preclude potential lawsuits alleging negligent supervision. Furthermore, liability will not be precluded in situations where the employee/independent contractor was convicted of a criminal offense when the conviction is directly related to the nature of the work and the conduct giving rise to the action if the employer knows of the conviction or acted in a grossly negligent manner in not knowing of the conviction.
The legislation takes effect on August 3, 2018.
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