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Lucy, Esq.
Lucy, Esq., Lawyer
Category: Criminal Law
Satisfied Customers: 30168
Experience:  Criminal Justice Degree, JD with Criminal Law Concentration. Worked for the DA and U.S. Attorney.
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An employee at a motel was not check out before or during

Customer Question

An employee at a motel was not check out before or during hiring him. I was moving to South Florida. Stayed at the motel in Central Florida and employee stole my car and belongs. Is the hotel liable for negligence as the police found out he had a warrant for his arrest for stealing and employers car in MD?
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Criminal Law
Expert:  Lucy, Esq. replied 1 year ago.

Hi,

I'm Lucy, and I'd be happy to answer your questions today. I'm sorry to hear that this happened.

There is no law that requires employers to do ongoing background checks of employees, so if the employee did not have a criminal history at the time of hire, the employer could only be liable if you could prove that they found out about the warrant and allowed him to continue working there, that they should have inquired based on what they observed during the course of his employment, or if they should have discovered it at the time of hire and denied him a job as a result. What they should've done is going to come down in part to what type of work the employee was hired to do.

There's some case law that suggests, if the employee in question had access to the inside of hotel rooms, then the hotel owner had an obligation to conduct a background check or criminal record check before offering him a job. See Island City Flying Service v. G.E. Credit Corp., 585 So.2d 274 (1991) citing Williams v. Feather Sound, Inc., 386 So. 2d 1238 (Fla. 2d DCA 1980). Or if he was employed as a valet, you could make the same argument, since he'd then have access to customer vehicles. If, on the other hand, he was employed to do landscaping or something where he did not access guest rooms or vehicles, that would make it more difficult to impose liability on the hotel. There must've been a reason that they needed to inquire.

Another case that might help is Tallahassee Furniture Co., Inc. v. Harrison, which deals with a situation where the employer was liable for keeping an employee on after becoming aware of his extensive criminal record.

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