November 10th, 2014 | Sterling

No License, Big Problem

No License, Big Problem | SterlingBackcheck

In a tragic accident last August, an East Harlem cab driver who was allegedly driving with a suspended license struck and killed 25-year-old cyclist Jerrison Garcia. While bike safety advocates want drivers to pay more attention to bikes and share the road, background screening advocates are wondering why this driver was even operating a cab (or any motor vehicle for that matter) to begin with.

The cab driver was arrested at the scene of the accident and was charged with several offenses including driving without a license, failure to exercise due care and a right of way violation. According to state records, his license was revoked in 1976 and he was not licensed as a cab driver by the Taxi and Limousine Commission.

This unfortunate accident is an example of why employers need to take greater care in screening and monitoring their employees and contractors for criminal and driving offenses. Companies are responsible for the actions of their workers while they are on duty, and depending on the nature of the position sometimes even when they are off the clock. Maintaining that responsibility includes taking measures to verify that their staff and extended workforce have the necessary qualifications and do not pose a threat to society.

The consequences of employing or contracting a driver who is not permitted to operate a motor vehicle can be stiff. Not only could that driver cause an accident resulting in the tragic death of an innocent bystander, but your company could face even more serious ramifications. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) recently shut down a Florida-based trucking company due to numerous violations including employing drivers with positive drug tests and suspended licenses.

Employee monitoring and alerting services are now available and useful for all organizations. However, they can be particularly helpful for organizations that are required to be extra vigilant about potential risky behavior by employees, such as those organizations that employ drivers or work with the vulnerable sector. Criminal monitoring services alert employers when an employee is arrested or charged with a crime, while driver monitoring services focus more on traffic-related offenses and license validity. The presence of a notification doesn’t mean that the employer must suspend or terminate their worker. It simply provides the employer with information that they can use to make informed decisions. This can mean taking an action – or no action – to protect the company, employees or society at large.

It’s not just employees that should be monitored. A thorough and effective background screening policy also covers the extended workforce including any temporary workers, agency workers, independent contractors, or consultants.

Background screening doesn’t stop once an employee or contractor is on-boarded; background screening should be a continuous and ongoing process throughout the entire employment lifecycle. When an individual is arrested, chances are they are employed somewhere and unless they are jailed or self report, their employer probably won’t find out about it. Monitoring services and risk alerts enable employers to better manage their organization, mitigate risks associated with negligent employees, and most of all prevent incidents like the one in New York that took the life of Jerrison Garcia.

This publication is for informational purposes only and nothing contained in it should be construed as legal advice. We expressly disclaim any warranty or responsibility for damages arising out this information. We encourage you to consult with legal counsel regarding your specific needs. We do not undertake any duty to update previously posted materials.