In yet another case where doing employment screening right is the right thing to do, this story comes out of the Myrtle Beach Herald. The newspaper reports that the father of a former St. James Middle School student is suing Horry County Schools over the district’s hiring of a teacher who had sex with the father’s then-13 year old daughter.
This sad, but certainly not unheard of tale, features a teacher with a checkered past, a district trying to save time and money, and the life of a young girl that will forever be changed.
Had a comprehensive – or even a bit more thorough — background check been performed, it could have easily been discovered that the teacher had a sexual relationship with another student in Michigan prior to being hired in Horry County. This discovery was made when a school resource officer made a simple phone call to the teacher’s previous high school employer.
An Employment Screening Wake Up Call
Employers need to understand what it means to demonstrate a reasonable duty of care and how the cost of negligent hiring – both in tangible and intangible expense — can be far more detrimental than spending a few extra dollars to perform the right background check for the job.
In the case of Horry County Schools, remarks made by school security consultant, Kenneth Trump, are embedded with smart advice to school districts and private employers alike.
Be consistent in your employment screening practices.
A spokesperson for Horry County says that decisions on how far each background check should reach are made on a case by case basis. Trump questions the school district’s ‘trigger’ for digging deeper and says, “You have to dig to find the red flag to dig further…”
Don’t stop at minimum requirements.
Trump says that school districts historically have only done the minimum required under state law. This ‘check the box’ type of approach typically stems from budgetary and time limitations, but when you look at the idea of matching the risks of the position with an adequate background check it’s easy to find cases where the minimum just isn’t enough.
Our favorite quote from Trump:
“It’s doing their due diligence and it’s a cultural change,” he said. “If you’re doing a thorough background check, often it can be those things that are not said by a previous employer that can be as much a red flag as those things that are said.”
If your employment screening program could use a reality check, give us a call. We’re experts in crafting background screening programs that reduce your hiring risks and help you build a better workforce.
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