By Russ Warner, VP Marketing –
When it comes to screening employees for drug use, sex offenses or other felonies, many sophisticated companies require random drug tests and background checks.
Background checks are done to determine if there is a history of questionable behavior based on public record. Professional reference checks try to bring to light past working behaviors.
If these routine checks look good, a candidate can be hired. And in most cases, these steps are sufficient to help eliminate more risky employees from the employment pool.
But what happens when an employee’s behavior after hours and habits finally devolve into a crime affecting a child?
When People “Snap”
As we have seen in the news, it is very easy for someone to finally “snap” and do something very bad one day. When people make choices that can adversely affect children, perhaps we should require more rigorous ongoing investigation and intervention measures for sake of the potential victim pool.
This week, Disney has been dealing with this issue, as exposed by CNN.
Since 2006, a minimum of 35 Disney employees in Florida have been arrested and accused of sex crimes involving children, according to a recent Huffington Post report. Of those 35 people, 32 have been convicted.
Disney Screening Fails
Disney employees were involved in viewing child pornography or having sex with minors. Those involved were in occupations ranging from a theme park ride repair manager and costumers to tour guides, security guards, maintenance workers, and even a gift shop worker.
While Disney claims to use extensive measures to screen and monitor employees before they are hired, the problem is obviously not resolved, and children were victimized.
What is needed is ongoing screening with regular checkups on employees that work with children.
The Employee Polygraph Protection Act (EPPA) which was enacted in 1988 legally prevents private companies from submitting employees to lie detector tests (polygraph examinations). There are very few exceptions to the rules, such as screening law enforcement and some government employees.
New Screening Laws Vital
However, because of the numerous ways that children can be negatively affected in today’s workforce, U.S. Rep. Dennis Ross (R-Florida) is seeking to get an exemption made to the EPPA to allow employees to be screened when they work for companies that serve children.
Polygraphs, voice stress analyzers, psychological tests, and eye movement monitoring are a few of the measures used to detect deception. Each method has its benefits and level of accuracy.
But as we debate whether ongoing employee screening violates civil liberties, we also need to consider the civil liberties of children who currently frequent businesses where they are obviously exposed to risk.