According to an October 2012 Los Angeles Times story, the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department recently launched an investigation into the background of a new hire. Somehow, even with a history of violence and theft, the county hired Daniel Bissman as an unarmed courthouse security guard.
As the story goes, Bissman admitted liaisons with prostitutes, and was on probation for punching a man unconscious even at the time he applied for the job. In addition, he has a history of drug use, dishonesty, and involvement in as many as 100 domestic violence incidents.
So what went wrong?
According to The Times story:
Though several of Bissman’s transgressions could have been grounds to reject him, the department’s confidential hiring guidelines do not specifically disqualify someone with Bissman’s background, even from being hired as an armed and sworn deputy. The sheriff’s rules give officials wide discretion in making hiring decisions. Some experts said the sheriff’s guidelines allowed for too much leeway, especially when it came to serious misconduct such as lying, stealing and violence.
We’ve spoken previously about balancing the need of employers to protect themselves against hiring inappropriate workers and violating the rights of applicants. Experts generally recommend that employers…
…avoid blanket employment policies that eliminate anyone with a criminal record from being hired.
However, it is equally important to consider the type of position for which someone with a dubious background is applying. While Bissman’s criminal record might not have disqualified him from filling another role, hiring him in a law enforcement position was clearly an error in judgment and a potential safety threat.
It’s important to investigate a potential new hire’s background. However, it is equally important to review the information received very carefully and balance the good of the whole versus the good of the individual.
That’s where TruDiligence can help. We promote the interests of public safety by providing fast, accurate, comprehensive background checks, investigative screening, and verification services. Contact us for more information on how we can help you conduct investigations before you hire, so you don’t run into problems afterwards.