Featured article

The case of Little Bo Peep: The jailhouse employee

Background checks can minimize or prevent criminal enterprise

When employment circumstances change and pressures mount, criminals might disguise red flags of misbehavior. Because past actions can be a useful indicator of future behavior, background checks provide a snapshot of an applicant’s criminal, credit and employment history. Here we discuss the importance of background checks and how to properly vet your applicants.

(This article isn’t intended to provide legal advice, but rather it’s a starting point for discussions with leadership, legal counsel and professional investigators. — ed.)

During my first supervisory position many years ago, I quickly discovered some problem employees among the 15 people I managed. I’ll refer to one as “Little Bo Peep.” Her seeming innocence belied a poor work attendance history that affected her performance and the team. Peep’s problems were symptoms of a much larger scheme.

Her previous managers had already placed her on restrictive leave and had given her written guidelines of expectations for reporting to work and managing leave. She was told her absence affected production and her team members — they’d complained that they had to complete her work duties while she was out of the office.

Regardless, my first goal was to get to know Peep before making any judgments. My second goal was to devise a plan to help her to perform her assigned job functions.

Peep confided in me that she often used her sick leave to care for an ill child at home. She also said she’d taken all her annual leave to attend court for personal reasons — I never asked for details, but I assumed the court dates related to her family situation. During the first few months I tried everything possible to assist Peep with time and attendance issues by offering her coaching and mentoring opportunities, and by addressing specific job goals.

But Peep continued to miss work. So, I reviewed her recent and previous doctor notes — I suspected that she’d forged and re-used the notes multiple times. I noticed copier speckles, dots and lines in the same places of the dates, times and doctor signatures on all copies with no variations or changes (other than the actual dates).

For full access to story, members may sign in here.

Not a member? Click here to Join Now. Or Click here to sign up for a FREE TRIAL.