Who’s Responsible For the Background Check?
July 15, 2008
Most of us have probably opened our door to a stranger – we needed the meter read, the cable fixed or the phone connection checked.
And most of us probably willingly allowed these uniformed workers in without giving it a second thought.
Unfortunately, a few of these employees aren’t as trustworthy as we may think.
Last month, a registered sex offender entered a 23-year-old woman’s house while working as a subcontractor for Time Warner Cable and allegedly sexually assaulted her.
Joseph J. Devine, 36, of Endicott, is an employee of Sure Connect in Kirkwood, not an employee of Time Warner, said David Whalen, vice president of public and government affairs at Time Warner Cable of Central New York.
Whalen said Time Warner performs background checks on all employees and requires the companies it contracts with to do the same.
However, Devine was convicted of first-degree sexual abuse in 2001 in Broome County, according to the state Department of Correctional Services records. Shouldn’t this red flag have come up in a background check and be reason enough not to allow him to obtain a job where he’s often alone with people in their homes?
Whalen said it would be “improper” for him to comment on whether Time Warner or Sure Connect knew of Devine’s conviction because he isn’t an employee of Time Warner. But in our minds, he’s close enough. He was representing Time Warner, and the company should take responsibility and admit somewhere along the line, their system of background checks failed.
I’ll leave the lecture about the importance of conducting background checks for a later time. I think everyone has heard that lecture now (except the company that contracted the employee in this case).
Instead, I’m going to focus on the issue of the service provider “Time Warner” contracting with a subcontractor responsible for entering their customers’ homes. Shouldn’t they demand that the subcontractor performs background checks? Shouldn’t they know what type of background check they conduct? Shouldn’t they have developed standards for what is considered an acceptable background check?
Yes, yes, and yes! We recently published an article on this very topic: My Contractor Said They Performed a Background Check. Check it out. Among the advice provided was the need for the contracting organization to ensure that background checks being performed and that they their minimum standards. We also listed the types of workers that must be checked beyond a company’s own employees.
The following are examples of contract workers that should be screened before being cleared to work at your organization.
- Contract (PEO for example) and 1099 Employees
- Temporary or Temp-to-Perm Workers
- Onsite Vendors’ Employees