Who’s Checking Your Subcontractors

Nick Fishman

News Channel 12 in Cincinnati, Ohio is reporting that a tier three sexual predator accused of raping a 14 year old girl has been working as a subcontractor for a carpet installation company.  That’s right, he’s installing carpet in the homes of non-suspecting customers.  I don’t know about you, but I would consider another flooring option; perhaps oak?

We’ll give the carpet company the benefit of the doubt.  They most likely would not have hired this person if they knew about his past.  Where they don’t get a pass is for their decision not to conduct a criminal background check.  It’s just as important to conduct background checks on your subs as you do on your regular employees.  We highlighted this trend in our Top 2009 Background Screening Trends release and also dissected this issue in the article, My Contractor Said They Performed a Background Check.

The Criminal At Your Door

You wouldn’t invite a convicted child molester into your home, but they could come into your house without you suspecting anything. Most people assume repairmen, installation workers, and delivery people are just there to do their jobs. And in most cases, they are.

But Local 12’s Rich Jaffe shows us, some people with criminal backgrounds could be walking right through your front door.

Before you ever open the door to a stranger, consider the case of Danny Warman. Last November, local investigators were searching for the convicted sexual predator. Clermont County issued warrants for Warman after he failed to register his address. Wilmington Police wanted him for allegedly raping a 14-year-old girl. A tip to CrimeStoppers got Warman arrested. Where had he been? He had been working for a subcontractor used by a local carpet company.

Det. Brian Kratzer, Wilmington Police: “He’d be in houses where you’d have pictures of your family setting around, he’s installing carpet…kind of look at all the pictures of the family… maybe kids left home alone, older teenagers, it would definitely be alarming, a guy who’s a tier three sex predator is coming and going out of your house.”

So, who’s legally responsible checking out these people? Not the carpet company, since Warman was a subcontractor. In fact, no law requires criminal background checks. However, many companies do it on their own. Last year, Ohio courts ruled Home Depot was not responsible for what one of their subs did.
In 2004, Derek Lee Sullivan, another carpet installer, worked as a subcontractor for Home Depot when he robbed a Clermont County couple, after making a delivery to their home. Sullivan pleaded guilty, but never showed up to serve his sentence. There are now several warrants on file for him in Ohio and Kentucky. Companies use subs, because it’s cheaper. They avoid taxes and paying workers compensation.

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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.
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