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Avoid Negligent Hiring Mistakes

AHI newsletter

According to a survey, approximately one in four employees have been harassed, threatened, or physically attacked at work. And since juries are notoriously sympathetic to victims of workplace violence, you need to stop the violence before it starts -- at the hiring phase if possible -- before a jury orders your company to shell out hundreds of thousands of dollars.

Check out the following tips to nip potential violence in the bud before it has a chance to blossom.

- Double-check résumé information. Look for false statements or exaggerations that may indicate that a candidate is dishonest or a safety risk by verifying all information on the application and résumé.

- Conduct pre-employment screening. In addition to calling references, you should investigate an applicant's background in at least one or more of the following areas: criminal records; driving records; credit records; educational records; federal court records; Workers' Compensation records (but only after a conditional job offer has been made to avoid running afoul of the law).

Not every position demands that you research every category. However, the more contact the employee will have with the public, the greater risk of harm he/she poses and the more extensive your check should be.

- Choose hiring interview questions carefully. Ask questions regarding the applicant's worst boss. Doing so may invite him/her to make comments or express body language that could suggest a potential violent streak.

- Convey your company's anti-violence stance during orientation or soon after an applicant is hired. Spell out your company's violence policy, if one exists, and the consequences of violent behavior.

- If an anti-violence policy does not exist, create one. At a bare minimum, such a policy should prohibit: making verbal or physical threats toward management, staff, supervisors, co-workers, vendors, guests, or anyone else while on company property or while engaged in company business off-site; and bringing firearms or other weapons onto company property.


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