NEW LEGISLATION LIMITS LIABILITY FOR EMPLOYERS

A new revision to the Texas Civil Practice and Remedies Code provides protection to employers who hire employees with a criminal record.  The new legislation protects an employer from liability where the sole basis for the suit is a claim that the employer was negligent in hiring or failing to supervise an employee because the employee has a criminal record.  The legislation defines employer to include contractors and subcontractors.

Under the statute, employers can still be liable if they knew or should have known the employee had been convicted of a violent offense, a sexual offense or an offense performed while performing similar duties to those for which the employee is being hired to perform.  Furthermore, the statute does not protect the employer for liability for a breach of fiduciary duty by the employee if the employee had a previous conviction of a crime involving fraud or dishonesty.  The limitations and exceptions under the new statute make sense, but the statute still affords valuable protection for an employer while encouraging the employment of individuals deserving of a second chance.