Screening News Weekly Wrap: October 11th, 2019

Screening News Weekly Wrap: October 11th, 2019

By Tricia O'Connor

Could a gruesome murder have been prevented with a quality background check? Would you hire a seasonal worker without screening them? Should off duty cops, firefighters, and bus drivers be allowed to smoke marijuana? Today’s EBI Screening News Weekly Wrap presented by Jennifer Gladstone has the answers to all these coulda, woulda, shoulda’s.

Lawsuit Alleges Background Check Fail Led to Murder

The family of a woman bludgeoned and burned to death by a delivery man has filed a lawsuit alleging inadequate background checks. Screening News Network first reported Evelyn Udell’s horrific murder in September. The Florida woman was beaten and set on fire by a man who delivered her new washer and dryer. Udell’s family has now filed a wrongful death lawsuit naming not only Best Buy, where she bought the appliances, but the two delivery sub-contractors responsible for employing the attacker – JB Hunt and XM Delivery.

The Udell family says the crime could’ve been prevented through a background check. Court records show the man accused of the murder had a suspended license.

Udell’s family says they are also planning to lobby for new laws at both the state and local levels to require extensive and ongoing background checks for anyone who goes into customers’ homes.

Best Buy plans to join the family to call for legislation to make background checks mandatory. Best Buy is also working with an independent security firm to review their subcontractors’ practices and to make sure the subs are taking the right steps to screen anyone making deliveries on their behalf.

EBI takes a proactive approach to helping companies review their screening policies. We have the industry’s only Trusted Advisor Program that allows you to call at any time and speak with one of our compliance experts to answer questions or talk you through your concerns.

Ho! Ho! Ho! Best Screening Practices for Hiring Holly Jolly Seasonal Workers

The holly jolly hiring season is almost here. Yes, we know it’s merely the second week of October but major retailers like Target and Amazon have already announced plans to hire hundreds-of-thousands of seasonal employees. UPS is also aiming to add about 100,000 holiday hires to help manage the 40-million package deliveries they will make every day (yes, you read that right – 40 million every day) between November and January.

Even if your seasonal workers will only stick around for a few months, it is essential you screen them just as thoroughly as your permanent hires. Comprehensive pre-employment background checks and drug screening are imperative. A CareerBuilder survey shows a bad hire can cost a company about $15,000, and that doesn’t even come close to the cost of losing your clients’ trust or the price of a negligent hiring lawsuit. Remember, all the same laws from the FCRA to Ban the Box still apply to temporary workers.

But EBI knows you want to hire good people fast in this competitive market, so follow these steps to ensure you don’t get a Grinch.

  1. Review last year – Did you hire an extraordinary set of elves last season? Now’s the time to look back and examine how you did it. How did you advertise, interview and select your candidates? What tools did you use to screen them? Were you compliant? Analyze the strengths and weaknesses of last year’s hiring process and use that info to improve this year’s plan.
  2. Partner with a background screening firm – It’s hard to keep up with the pace of seasonal hiring AND monitor compliant HR processes. Partnering with an internationally-accredited screening firm like EBI can give you more time to deck the halls properly.
  3. Re-verify previous hires – A lot can change in a year. Last season’s best employee may now be dealing with some sort of criminal case. That’s why re-verifying a seasonal worker’s background check results is hugely important before bringing them back into the fold.

Off Duty Pot Smoking OK in DC

Should off duty cops, firefighters, and bus drivers be allowed to smoke marijuana? If the mayor of Washington, D.C. has her way, pot rules for public employees will soon be changing.

“As we seek to make the District’s cannabis laws fairer and more equitable, it is critical that we also provide a clear path forward on personal cannabis use for our public servants,” says D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser.

Bowser has released a memo essentially allowing all city employees to smoke pot if they are off duty.  Currently, medical and recreational marijuana use is legal in DC, but not for many of the city’s 30,000 public employees. The new rule allows those employees to smoke marijuana on their own time but does not clearly protect them from losing their jobs.

Bowser, who has long supported revising marijuana laws, says the District needs to update its rules on marijuana consumption while also helping employees understand how to use their new freedom correctly.

D.C. Council also passed a bill this week barring any kind of discrimination against medical marijuana patients. The Medical Marijuana Program Patient Employment Protection Emergency Amendment Act says city government employers can’t refuse to hire, terminate, or take any other Adverse Action unless the patient physically used or possessed the drug at work, or showed up under the influence. The Act passed, but not without strong opposition from industries who rely on drug testing to keep their employees and workplaces safe.

“We absolutely cannot risk a person working who might be impaired if they are working on our natural gas lines, if they are working on clean drinking water,” Deborah Harvey, executive director of the National Utility Contractors Association D.C. chapter, told the Labor and Workforce Development Committee as reported here.

In both instances there are carve-outs for safety sensitive positions like child caregivers, and the new rules do not apply to federal employees – they’re still bound by federal law.

A Medical Review Officer can help enterprise-caliber organizations ensure the drug testing process is accurate and efficient while protecting both the employer and employee. MROs have a background in substance abuse and knowledge of the pharmacology of illicit drugs, and can help employers comply with any state, federal, or industry drug testing regulations, ensuring required procedures are followed.

Navigating the constantly changing laws surrounding marijuana legalization is tough. We’re launching an “Ask an Expert” feature so you can get your burning questions answered about that topic and other screening issues. Send us your question and we might feature it in an upcoming segment!


ICYMI: Operation “Fourth and Goal.” Sounds like football, but it’s not. Find out the shocking details in our previous EBI Screening News Weekly Wrap. Subscribe here.

About the Author

Tricia O'Connor

Tricia O'Connor

Writer. Digital marketer. Storyteller. An award-winning writer and editor, Tricia O'Connor is the Marketing Content Manager at EBI. Tricia worked as a broadcast and print journalist for nearly two decades writing and producing programming for high-profile networks like ESPN Radio, History Channel, and Hallmark Channel, as well as contributing editorial work to publications nationwide. Tricia joined the EBI marketing team in 2019 and is responsible for content strategy, development, and engagement. Tricia earned a master's degree in journalism from the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University and is a proud undergraduate alumna of Wheaton College in Massachusetts.

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