Background Checks

There is a very interesting article in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, dated March 6th, about “a woman who was sexually assaulted by a cable repairman [and] is suing her attacker and three companies, claiming the crime could have been prevented if they had done better background checks.”  The case has yet to be decided, but it will be extremely interesting to see what the court concludes about the extent of the duty employers have to do background checks on their employees.

The allegation is that his employers could have found out enough about the individual if they had done a better background check.  The question that will be asked is “how thorough must the employer be to insure the safety of its customers, particularly when employees will be entering the homes of customers?”  Obviously, the standard would seem to be higher in these types of situations than for employees who will only be working on the employer’s premises.  How the court decides this suit could set a new standard of care that employers must follow.

In this particular case, it has been alleged that the defendant “fabricated his job duties with multiple prior employers…”  It was also alleged that “none of the companies checked…previous employers or personal references before hiring him, and the limited criminal background check that was performed was inadequate…”  The outcome of this civil suit could, theoretically, change how thorough employers must be to insure the safety of their customers.

I’ll be following up on this story to see what the outcome of the civil suit is.  If you’re interested, here’s the link to the story: