Authorities in Upper Darby recently reported that a part-time bank teller at a Delaware County bank allegedly made off with $80,000 in customers’ money and the bank’s money. The teller appears to have been hired despite a background check `that showed she had been charged with counts of forgery and theft the previous year.
Although those charges eventually were withdrawn, they were certainly a red flag that the would-be teller’s character might not be a good fit for a position in which a lot of trust is placed on the employee to handle large sums of money in an honest and forthright manner.
The case reminds us of what happened at Juniata College with Jerry Sandusky, the former Penn State assistant football coach facing dozens of charges of child sex abuse. Sandusky was denied a volunteer coaching position after a routine background check found that he was being investigated — though not charged — by a Pennsylvania high school. Despite the investigation and the college denying him the position, the football coach allegedly secretly allowed Sandusky to volunteer anyway.
Conducting background checks and other forms of pre-employment screening is only useful when you use the information you find. You must be careful about how you use the information — when someone is investigated but isn’t charged with a crime, for instance, is it discriminatory and unfair to deny them a position with your company? Perhaps. But you have to take the nature of the investigation into account when making your hiring decisions. Be intelligent about how you interpret and use the results of all pre-employment screening reports. It could save your company, your customers, from great harm.