The Georgia Department of Revenue learned about screening temps the hard way when they hired a temporary employee who embezzled over $100,000 in tax refund checks. Lisa Darden, a temporary employee, was hired to process state tax refund checks for the department. Darden, the ringleader, along with four other accomplices developed an elaborate scheme to cut checks to other individuals and then provided them a percentage for cashing the checks. Once the racketeering was uncovered, a warrant was issued for the five individuals. Darden pled guilty to theft and forgery and a DeKalb County grand jury indicted the five. According to the DeKalb County public justice system website, Darden had arrests dating back to 1995.
The temporary agency’s website claimed that they conducted an "in-depth criminal background check on each and every candidate." The Department of Revenue failed to conduct their own background check as well. According to government officials, that process has since changed.
Like the Georgia Department of Revenue learned, an employer’s worst liability may work inside their office, but still not be on the payroll. Background screening of temps, contingent workers and outside contractors often falls between the cracks for many HR Professionals. Communication is the key ingredient between human resource departments and their staffing partners, especially when it comes to the specific depths of background checks. Employers should always have a formal understanding of the type and thoroughness of the background check being conducted on candidates.
To assist a staffing firm in meeting specific screening needs, HR Professionals should provide written company policies on employee screening or at least communicate screening guidelines and expectations set by the employer. They should even make such language part of an overall contract or service agreement to spell out expectations. EBI works with staffing firms and employers alike and we provide expert assistance in helping to close the screening gap.
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