SEP 2016

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LEGAL PAD 94 DAYSPA | SEPTEMBER 2016 The stakes for negligent hiring can be high. If an employee with a record of theft is hired to clean the premises and a customer's wallet goes missing, that's one troubling issue. But suppose that same employee has a record of sexual assault and he violates a spa client? At that point the level of liability skyrockets to a whole new order of magnitude, with damages in the hundreds of thousands of dollars, not to mention damage to both the client and the spa's reputation. A business owner I know recently hired an inven- tory manager. Prior to coming onboard, the employee underwent a battery of personality tests administered by a hiring consultant. He passed with fl ying colors. Later—too much later, unfortunately—it came to light that this employee was on probation following a fel- ony conviction for theft and embezzlement. (He may have had a stellar personality but, unfortunately, he was also a crook.) Needless to say, a criminal back- ground check would have prevented the hire, as well as a rash of trouble down the road. ONE SIZE DOESN'T FIT ALL So, the upside of performing criminal background checks on prospective employees is prevention of possible harm to your spa and to your clients. Case closed? Not exactly. If you do decide to proceed with a check, it's important to be aware of certain pitfalls. That's because, if misused, criminal background checks can also pose potential liability for employers. One well-publicized example concerns Pepsi Bev- erages, which in 2012 was fi ned $3.13 million for improper use of criminal background checks. In a charge brought by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), it was found that Pepsi excluded a disproportionate number of African Americans from employment via the use of criminal background checks. © GETTY IMAGES

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