Investigation Into Transportation Authority Reveals Busload of Criminal Records

Nick Fishman

True or False: The bus company referenced below actually performed employment background checks on their job candidates.

The Times-Union checked the driving and criminal histories of the 330 people employed as bus drivers in November. The investigation found 258 of those drivers had a total of 1,276 criminal and driving violations going back to the 1970s. Some had as many as 20 offenses on their record.

Violations include domestic battery, child abuse, driving without a valid license and writing bad checks.

Given the totality of the information above, many would think that perhaps the Jacksonville Transportation Authority didn’t have a background screening program in place.  And in this case, they would be wrong (if you answered true, give yourself a big pat on the back).

The Florida Times Union began their investigation of the Jacksonville Transportation Authority after one of their drivers ran over and killed a passenger who had just gotten off the bus.  This coming a year after a second driver was charged with sexually assaulting a 12 year old girl on his bus.  To make matters worse, that same driver had been reprimanded in 2001 for making advances at a 15 year old girl.

When informed of the investigation the executive director of the JTA was incredulous and said that they had a screening program in place.  He has since terminated three people who had responsibility for performing background checks on the drivers.

It’s unclear from the article whether these three people just weren’t conducting background checks or if they were, if the checks they were performing were insufficient or if they were aware of the criminal records and driving infractions and chose to look the other way.

Whatever the case, this underscores the need for organizations to not only look closely at their screening methods and hiring criteria, but also to make sure that the people responsible for overseeing the process are making the right choices when it comes to identifying the right methods and employee selection.

Those in the transportation industry might be interested in checking out our recommended screening packages for this sector.

P.S. The executive director at the JTA is quoted as saying that he will not hire anyone with a criminal record from here on out.  The EEOC might have something to say about that.  Another post, another time.

Nick Fishman
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Nick Fishman

Nick Fishman is the co-founder of EmployeeScreenIQ, a leading, global employment background screening provider, and serves as the company’s executive vice president and chief marketing officer. He pioneered the creation of EmployeeScreen University, the #1 educational resource on employment background checks for human resources, security and risk management professionals. A recognized industry expert, Nick is a frequent author, presenter and contributor to the news media. Nick is also a licensed private investigator in the states of Ohio and Texas.
Nick Fishman
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