When a hired worker enters your home to perform a service that you requested, do you know to whom you are opening your door?
So asks an article on HuffingtonPost.com — ‘Could You or a Loved One End Up Like Elizabeth Smart?’ — that shows why background checks are needed to uncover unsafe employees working in and around homes of other people, and how background checks can help people avoid tragedies like the one experienced by Lucia Bone, the founder of ‘Sue Weaver CAUSE’ Consumer Awareness of Unsafe Service Employment.’
The article title references the case of Elizabeth Smart, whose father hired a contract day-worker who then later returned to the house to kidnap Elizabeth. The girl survived the ordeal, but Sue Weaver, Lucia Bone’s sister, was not so fortunate even though the worker who entered her home was hired by a large company.
In 2001, according to the article, Weaver was raped and beaten to death in her Florida home. Six months before her death, Weaver had contracted with a major department store to clean the air ducts in her home. Both workers sent to her house had criminal records. One was a twice-convicted sex offender on parole who — like the worker in the Smart case — returned to a home where he had once worked to commit a crime.
Sadly, the article reports Weaver’s murder is not an isolated case, since many consumers are robbed, assaulted, and murdered each year by workers with jobs that allow them access into homes. Because of this, Bone started Sue Weaver CAUSE to both honor her sister and to fight for standardized background checks of all in-home service employees. Through consumer awareness and legislation, Bone wants to ensure that big, reputable retail companies like Sears, Best Buy, Home Depot, Lowes, and others perform thorough criminal background checks on the contractors and sub-contractors they send into homes.
Since there are currently no federal or state laws requiring companies to do criminal background checks on contractors or sub-contract workers sent into homes, Sue Weaver CAUSE is demanding legislation for CAUSE Certification compliance. When interviewed for the article, Bone says the CAUSE Certification would require annual background checks following CAUSE minimum screening standards on all employees, contractors, and subcontractors. Bone adds that these standards were determined from survey results from questions asking background screening professionals what minimum screening should be conducted on workers going into homes of elderly mothers, pregnant wives, and people with special needs.
According to Bone, the minimum requirements for CAUSE Certification are:
- Social Security Number (SSN) Address Trace;
- County-Level Criminal Check (Search records for past seven years in counties where applicant lived, worked, or attended school);
- Multi-jurisdictional/”National” Criminal Database, and;
- National/State Sex Offender Registry.
In addition, Bone says consumers “never think about (criminal background checks for in-home service workers)” and automatically assume the company they hire would not sendÂ criminals into their homes. She advises consumers to be proactive and not assume companies properly screen workers sent to homes. “Bonded and insured is not a background check.”
The Sue Weaver CAUSE website is located at: http://www.sueweavercause.org/.
For more information on background checks, please visit Employment Screening Resources (ESR) at http://www.esrcheck.com.