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Talking Points

Flagging Felons

November 12, 2000|LISA GIRION

A Texas jury awarded $1.1 million in damages to an 84-year-old patient with Alzheimer's disease who had been raped by a janitor at her nursing home. He was hired by the home despite a rap sheet that included five felonies.

Even though the janitor offered a fictitious name, date of birth and Social Security number, the jury held the nursing home operators liable for $550,000 of the award.

According to the California Employer Advisor, a monthly newsletter on employment law and employee relations, the plaintiff's lawyer argued that the nursing home failed to take five steps that can help flag a problem hire:

* Carefully checkphoto identification.

* Verify Social Security numbers through the Social Security Administration's free service to employers at (800) 772-6270.

* Ask about gaps in job history that might reveal prison terms.

* Check references.

* Question educational records.

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