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The Side Bar – Volume VII, Issue 7

The Side Bar – Volume VII, Issue 7

July, 2014


From Lenny’s Corner

Gracious Professionalism

The business litigation arena is a molten venue compressed with A+ personality lawyers responding to A+ personality clients who expect lightning fast results in a judicial system that continues to be handcuffed by the economic crisis. This charged atmosphere breeds frustration and dysfunctional behavior. The predictable products are expensive litigations, unsatisfactory results, dissatisfied clients, exasperated judges, and burned out lawyers and legal staffs.

I’m proud to say that Englander Fischer lawyers, know and practice professionalism and civility; treasure solutions, not processes; and stay focused on the high road. Young lawyers ask if professionalism comes out at the cost of being pushed around? It doesn’t. I love the simplicity of “Gracious Professionalism” a philosophy articulated by MIT’s Dr. Woody Flowers:

“…With Gracious Professionalism, fierce competition and mutual gain are not separate notions. Gracious professionals learn and compete like crazy, but treat one another with respect and kindness in the process. They avoid treating anyone like losers. No chest thumping tough talk, but no sticky-sweet platitudes either. Knowledge, competition, and empathy are comfortably blended.

In the long run, Gracious Professionalism is a part of pursuing a meaningful life. One can add to society and enjoy the satisfaction of knowing one has acted with integrity and sensitivity.”

Our lawyers and staff share a fiercely competitive spirit, but seek to treat opposing lawyers and staff with respect and kindness. We have no intention of varying from that ethos, even if it’s not offered in return.

Negligent Hiring: Could You Be Liable For Your Employee’s Actions?

Much like a first date, most people are savvy enough to be on their best behavior, hide the crazy, and debut their “representative” for a join interview. After being charmed by the best version of your new hire, weeks go by before you realize you were duped. Before you know it, the new hire has punched a customer in the face and a lawsuit follows. While your instincts may be sharp, as an employer, Florida law requires that you perform an adequate background check in order to avoid potential liability for death, injury, or damage caused by your employee. This article provides some tips to avoid potential liability for negligent hiring.

What Should I Do When Hiring A New Employee So That My Hiring Is Not Presumptively Negligent?

Florida Statutes § 769.096 gives employers guidance concerning what a reasonable employers would do to investigate a prospective employee. An employer’s hiring will be presumed not negligent if the guidelines in the statute are followed. Some examples of guidelines in the statute are:

  1. Obtain a criminal background investigation on the prospective employee.
  2. Make a reasonable effort to contact references and former employees concerning the suitability of the candidate for employment. A diligent effort should be made to reach each reference and the employer should document its attempts to reach references and what the references stated.
  3. Obtain a job application from the prospective employee concerning the details, date and penalty of any criminal convictions, as well as details, date, and disposition of any civil action where the prospective employee was a defendant in an intentional tort action.
  4. Check the prospective employee’s driving record with written authorization from the prospective employee if a driving record is relevant to the duties of the employee.
  5. Interview the prospective employee.

The best way to prevent an employer’s liability is to take the simple preventative measures described in Florida Statues § 769.096. A qualified attorney should review the hiring practices, applications, and background check procedures performed by an employers to ensure the hiring procedures are sufficient to qualify the employers for a presumption against negligent hiring. Should you have any further questions regarding negligent hiring issues, please call Englander Fischer to see how one of our attorneys can assist you.

What’s New At Englander Fischer?

  • Englander Fischer is pleased to welcome this year’s summer law clerks, Andrew J. Davis and James Klinedinst.


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