It came as a shock for one and all when a hospital employee – who as a temporary worker worked in six different states – was revealed to have deliberately infected others with Hepatitis C. His heinous act resulted in communicating the infection to at least 30 persons and threatening the welfare of at least 4700 others! The hospital claims to have duly performed pre-employment drug tests and standard and criminal background checks when hiring him. But he had worked in 12 hospitals across 8 states, one of which now says he was fired by them in April 2010, when he was caught with cocaine and marijuana in his system. It is unbelievable that the next employer failed to discover this crucial piece of information in the background check, if they conducted one.
In the event of such misbehavior by an employee, the employer cannot escape allegations of negligent hiring and/or negligent retention. An employer who hires a person with a history of conviction for a particular offence (like sexual assault or assault and battery on a co-worker) is fully liable if such behavior is repeated by the person on the new job. If it can be proven that the employer had prior knowledge of the worker’s history, the employer will face serious consequences.
Approval for new positions and searching for new employees consumes a lot of precious time before one manages to bring a resource on board. When the need for a new hire is immediate, or a position is not deemed critical to the organization’s success, there may be a tendency to rush through the various steps of the hiring process to get the employee onboard. However, if such speeding up implies a perfunctory approach to conducting a thorough reference check, the consequences of that compromise can sometimes prove extreme.
Conducting Reference Checks:
Prior to conducting a reference check you should obtain a written release from the candidate authorizing you to conduct the various verifications. This would enable previous employers to share the required information without fearing any repercussions, especially when it is sensitive like someone’s behavioral problems. When checking references, talking to an immediate supervisor is important, even when the prior employer’s reference policy specifies that you should speak to another designated person.
Some Useful Tips:
Every one of us cannot make easy conversation with perfect strangers to elicit information which they may be hesitant to divulge. A reference check is a challenge to both parties on either end of the phone, and is best approached after doing some planning and home work.
Once a candidate is offered the position, employers need to put proper policies in place to establish standards for appropriate workforce behavior, and create an atmosphere of zero tolerance. If negative information about an employee surfaces after joining your workforce, you must carefully consider whether the individual can and will continue to meet your work environment standards. Retaining such an employee can lead to employer liabilities for negligent retention. If continued employment is justified, the employer may define the worker’s role and provide supervision that mitigates the possibility of risk to other employees.
Mail (will not be published) (required)
five − = 4
Thanks for Subscribing to DCR Blog.