The following, sent to me by an E-FORUM reader begs the question, will the city manager find that carpet cleaning is a “sensitive position” that will allow a background check and inquiry about a job applicant’s past conviction record? We don’t know that because the list of “sensitive positions” is not part of the ordinance and will be developed administratively.
The city attorney has already stated that the City is immune from liability, placing all the risk on the employer. My amendment would have given the employer some discretion in making a judgment about whether an applicant’s conviction record might indicate an unacceptable risk.
Carpet firm hit with $9.38M verdict in murder
"OAKLAND, CA — In a verdict being called "a loud wake-up call" to service firms sending employees into people's homes, a California jury earlier this month determined that a company must pay $9.38 million in damages to the surviving spouse of a woman killed by a carpet cleaner.
The Alameda County Superior Court jury found America's Best Carpet Care negligent in not obtaining a background check on Jerrol Glenn Woods, 52, of Vallejo, who is serving life in prison without parole following the May 5, 1998, stabbing death of Kerry Spooner-Dean, 30. Woods pleaded guilty to murder with special circumstances two months later. He has multiple robbery convictions.
The case shows that employers can be held responsible for the actions of their employees, and the importance of conducting criminal background checks. The verdict is expected to further tarnish the image of carpet cleaners when it is featured as part of a program on service companies on ABC's 20/20 December 1.
Last week CM eNews Daily reported that ABM Industries Inc., Seattle, is being sued by a former employee who was raped on the job. Labor law attorney Jacob Monty says employers should protect themselves by running background checks on employees.
"Obviously, it's not cost-efficient to run checks on all of your employees," he says. But if employees are going into people's homes, are in a position of authority or they have access to keys, "you should do a background check on them."
Surviving spouse Daniel Dean says one of two goals in filing the wrongful death suit was to send a message to the industry that it must screen employees. The defense had presented evidence that screening was not common practice in the industry — in fact, that it was rare.
Dean says funds will be used to continue the work of his spouse, a pediatrician, by supporting a mobile medical van.
Court documents show Woods robbed and killed Spooner-Dean after becoming enraged when she criticized his work.
Coupon advertising brought the victim to America's Best, which, court documents show, serves as a dispatching agent to cleaners such as Woods, who operate their own companies.
The Oakland Tribune notes a similar case: The survivors of Terenea Fermenick won a $1 million-plus settlement from the company that employed Giles Albert Nadey Jr.
Sent to clean carpets in a rectory in 1996, Nadey, a full-time employee of a carpet cleaning company, raped and killed a minister's wife."
Interestingly, the article above makes the observation that Jerrol Glenn Woods was a sub-contractor, not an employee and even so America's Best Carpet Care was held liable. Also here is what Dr. Spooner-Dean's husband did with the judgment:
Read more: http://www.truckmountforums.com/threads/background-checks-for-employment.10654/#ixzz2a0WDMQ7Z