Staffing Agencies in trouble from lack of background screening

An investigation identified a host of criminals working for Dallas County, Texas. The investigation was conducted by The Dallas Morning News and examined several agencies under the umbrella of Dallas County. They included The Tax Office, Elections Department, Health and Human Services Department and the District Attorney’s Office.

What the newspaper found was shocking. One worker, Kelton Bivins, came on board with an extensive criminal record. He was hired as a temporary worker in the Elections Department. His record included 3 felonies for allegedly firing 5 times into an occupied car and wounding the occupant twice. He was charged with 2 counts of beating his girlfriend, and evading arrest. Bivins was also on probation for a drug charge and served prison time for theft.

Even though the Staffing Agencies contracted by Dallas County were required to do background checks, Dallas County was unaware of Bivin’s criminal record or the records of other temporary workers.

The Dallas Morning News randomly checked the backgrounds of some temporary employees in selected Departments.

A sample of their findings are as follows:

1. A temp assigned in the Elections Department is on probation for FELONY theft.
2. A temporary accounting clerk who worked in the Health and Human Services Department was on probation for public lewdness.
3. A temporary accounting clerk was hired while on probation for FELONY theft for falsifying documents at the Hyatt Regency in order to steal $26,000.
4. A temporary Data Entry Clerk was charged with FELONY assault when she was hired by Health and Human Services (HHS).
5. A temporary Nurse assigned to HHS was hired after being convicted of misdemeanor theft.
6. There were other temps hired with extensive traffic violations and outstanding warrants.

The sloppiness of the background checks revealed that a temp employee who was hired using a false name, went on to steal $1,360 from the Tax Office.

There were two companies doing the staffing for Dallas County, All-Temp and Ad-A Staff. Ad-A-Staff, one of the country’s largest staffing contractors told Dallas County that Bivins’ legal problems (criminal record) was accidently overlooked. Whether that’s true or not is open for debate. The fact is the County never received the results of a background check.

Marie Mumme, Ad-A-Staff, President, said she was checking with the companies that do the background checks to see how many criminal histories they missed. She noted that her company uses two screening companies because the checks they do are not always accurate.

That’s a pretty sad commentary on the companies she uses. It appears the results they provided served the basis for Ad-A-Staff to lose the contract with Dallas County.

To make matters worse, Bivins also worked for Chartwell Staffing Solutions who also missed the criminal records.

The moral of this story is Staffing Companies need to deal with Background Screening Companies that are competent and thorough. Incomplete or non-existent background searches may be the basis for losing a contract.