Some form of pre-employment screening has become so common for many firms that they don’t think twice about it. For others, such screens as background checks haven’t historically been important. For any firm that is preparing to institute background checks for any reason, or that is changing its policy to require periodic rechecks, it is absolutely vital not to exclude any class of employee—even among existing personnel—from these checks.
In early August 2015, the Dallas Morning News and other local media reported that an unidentified woman is suing the transportation network company Uber as well as one its drivers, Talal Ali Chammout, who she alleges sexually assaulted her. (The lawsuit also names Triple Class Limousines of Plano, Texas.)
Chammout reportedly escaped a background check by Uber’s system because he claimed to already have a valid city permit, a criteria that Uber uses to “grandfather” existing taxi drivers when they join Uber.
However, when Chammout initially applied for Uber, the media reports, he used a fake Dallas city permit. Although both Chammout’s charges and the $1 million lawsuit are still pending, Uber has admitted that an internal investigation found it mistakenly granted driver status to Chammout.
This is an extreme example, but it shows how serious and potentially dangerous it can be for an organization to exclude some of its personnel from background checks without performing due diligence. At the very least, excluding existing employees from background checks could potentially cause inadvertent but actionable discrimination if new employees that undergo checks qualify for protection under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act.
For more information or to discuss an evaluation of your company’s current screening processes, we invite you to give us a call at (765) 932-5917.