Corra Daily Planet » 2010 » February

Residential Care Workers Slip Through Background Checks

Fri, February 26th, 2010 - 5:24 am - By Gordon Basichis

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With an economy in the downturn, eveyrone is trying to cut corners.  But sometimes when you cut corners the few bucks you save up front may result in a series of consequences, not the least of them being expensive litigation.   In the case of residential care homes in Oklahoma, background checks are mandated for the various caregivers employed by these homes.  But according to an article in Group Homes,  residential care homes have neglected to conduct background checks or have failed to review the background checks on some 26 workers.

So this brings to mind the obvious quesiton, what good is it to mandate background checks when no one bothers to review them?  Of course, reviews reveal in some of these cases employees have serious criminal records.   Not a surprise  One employee is currently charged with rape, and a few have sexual offense charges against them.  This would not be the first time a public service business or agency neglected the mandate only to discover that it hired some dangerous and unsavory employees.  At one home, 25% for the applicants failed the background screening.  One fourth of those who applied.   That is a serious number.

Certain employers are hiring for their own businesses, and the background checks they conduct are a matter of discretion and in compliance with their own pre-employment screening program.  While they should be comprehensive, at least enough to understand the background history on any employment candidate.  But with public service entities and healthcare services, like hospitals,  there is a different criteria.   There is a matter of public safety and consequently the public trust.

Many of the people on social service or healthcare services are ailing and fragile.  They are easy prey for the criminal element who will steal from them, sexually assault them and otherwise abuse them physically and verbally.  Not a pretty thing.  It is also the type of thing that may prove embarrassing to your business and costly in litigation.

Finally, I can in an odd way understand why a group is reluctant or, frankly, negligent in conducting background checks.  Cheap. Avoiding the expense.  Avoiding the results.   I don’t know.  But once you do order background checks, why wouldn’t you take time to review them?   Remarkable.

Nurses Subjected to Workplace Violence

Thu, February 25th, 2010 - 5:55 am - By Gordon Basichis

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We all pretty much know that nursing is not an easy job.   Nurses work hard for their money.   Nurses also have to endure verbal abuse and physical threats.   According to the article in The Times of India, sixty-nine percent of the nurses say they have been physically threatened.  Fifty-two percent of the nurses interviewed  claim they have been physically assaulted.

Many nurses do not report these incidents to their supervisors.   They merely consider it as part of the job.   The number of incidents also varied according to what department the nurses were working in.   A great many of these nurses have been bruised or injured.  While most of the studies have focused on public healthcare facilities, there are incidents of violence at private healthcare facilities as well.

Upon reading the article, I would assume that most of the workplace violence is caused by the patients.   I have to wonder how many incidents are from other staff members.  Having read report after report where  hospitals and such are hiring healthcare workers with criminal records and histories of drug theft and sexual abuse, I have to wonder if this is at least partly the reason for silence on the part of the nurses.

If so, then it is all that more important to conduct thorough background checks on the healthcare staffers.  Thorough background checks means actually getting your money’s worth, where the reports are comprehensive and where they return in a timely fashion.  And then, most importantly, they are reviewed by someone who can actually read and can understand what they are reading.   Too often the final reports, even the more comprehensive ones are ignored or many relevant facts are overlooked.   It is like having a seat belt and not wearing it.  Doesn’t make sense.  Yet it happens.

Workplace violence should not be tolerated.  The fact that someone is a nurse and tending to patients gives neither the patients or the other staff members the right to threaten or abuse them.    There will always be incidents of workplace violence.  But with hte proper cautions and procedures, the number of incidents can be reduced so the nurses no longer think that physical assault and verbal abuse is just another day at the office.

Check them out before you hire.

Colorado Handing Its Background Checks to the FBI

Wed, February 24th, 2010 - 6:17 am - By Gordon Basichis

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A local libertarian in Colorado is advocating the the background checks for firearms be delegated to the FBI and not the Colorado Bureau of Investigation. According to an article in the Denver Daily News, the CBI has its known has been conducting background checks, but now the idea is to reduce the budget by turning the responsibility over to the Feds.

The CBI budget for background checks, as it stands is $1.7 million, annually.   This hardly seems like a lot of money, considering that supporters of the CBI claim that the investigative service does a better job.   According to the article, Colorado handed over its background checks for firearms to the FBI back in 1999.   The FBI subsequently approved one applicant, although the Colorado courts had a restraining order against him for physical violence.   The applicant later used the gun that was approved for purchase to kill his three children.

Supporters of the CBI claim that it may take a little longer for the CBI to turn around the criminal background checks.  But since the state bureau is thorough in its handling the background searches, the money is well spent.

I would tend to agree.  People can wait an extra period to be sanctioned to buy firearms.   With all the gun violence out there a little precaution to help protect the public is always a worthwhile investment.

Check them out before you hire.

Amy Bishop and the Issue of Background Checks

Tue, February 23rd, 2010 - 5:02 am - By Gordon Basichis

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As most employers know, they should not access or consider arrest records in background checks when assessing an employment candidate.   Which means the job candidate could have been arrested dozens of times, but as long as he wasn’t convicted, this history of arrests should not be considered or included in his background check.

Now obviously this law is intended to protect the rights of the job candidate.  Everyone is innocent until proven guilty.   Or at least everyone is not guilty until proven guilty.   In other words, if Al Capone was up for a job, the employer couldn’t consider his dozens of previous arrests for all sorts of heinous crimes.   The employer could only consider the crimes for which Al Capone went to trial and was ultimately convicted.    Does this mean that Al Capone or Joe Blow was actually innocent?  No, it simply means that he was arrested but never charged as the prosecutor did not choose to move forward with criminal proceedings.

Overall, it is a fair ruling.  But then there is Al Capone.  There is also Amy Bishop.  Bishop, who has been accused of gunning down several people at the University of Alabama, had years earlier shot her own brother.   She was never convicted of any crime.   She was never even arrested, according to an article in Business and Finance, written by Gary Davis.   As Davis points out in his article, any prospective employer may want to be aware of this prior shooting.  Most employers would want to review this incident as part of their overall background check on Bishop or any other employment candidate.

Would it change anything if the hiring body, in this case the University of Alabama, was aware through a background check that Bishop had been interviewed for what was determined the accidental shooting of her brother?   It’s tough to say.  Would the University or any employer want to know this little tidbit about the person they were preparing to hire?  Probably.

It’s a tough call and not one that is easily resolved.  I realize where background checks are run and criminal records are discovered only to somehow fall through the cracks.  Then something happens,   an ugly incident, and everyone is in a furor.    In the case of Amy Bishop, perhaps if the school had discovered this past shooting incident in a background check, it may give the hiring officials some pause.   Hard to say.

I want to follow the Amy Bishop case more closely as it move through the justice system.   Meanwhile, check them out before you hire.

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