Workaholics Anonymous | Drug Abuse Among Nurses

Nursing is one of the most admirable positions a person can hold. It takes a kind, strong soul to maintain the desire to continue helping people each and every day. The endless workload can take it’s toll on nurses, as double shifts, rotating shifts, decreased staffing and other factors can lead to high levels of stress. Fatigue, alienation, and the “workaholic” mentality can be tough to deal with and oftentimes, lead to nurses living, breathing, and sleeping through their work. This can lead to drug and alcohol abuse.

Much like anyone else, someone who is in an unstable environment is at risk for abusing alcohol or drugs. Unfortunately for nurses, though the work they do is for the betterment of patients and their families, it is indeed an unstable environment for them. They battle through it each and every day and continue to show up, and that is a testament to all nurses all over the country.

The American Nurses Association has estimated that around 8% of nurses use either alcohol or drugs to an extent that could impair their professional judgement. One could suspect that up to 10% of nurses have alcohol or drug abuse problems, based on the lifestyle that nurses are forced to live. Prescription-type medication use has been noted to be higher among nurses, while cocaine and marijuana use is lower than the general population.

Drug and alcohol abuse can greatly affect an individual’s wellbeing, as well as their families and friends. This could increase tenfold when dealing with the responsibilities that a nurse has when taking care of patients. Drug abuse from nurses is a very harmful and dangerous situation. Just a few consequences that could happen when a nurse is using drugs or abusing alcohol include:

  • Patient mistreatment, including incorrect basic care, medication errors and abuse
  • Patient death
  • Higher hospital or clinic costs associated with legalities of patient mistreatment, stolen drugs, lost wages, training, and re-hiring
  • Nurses may lose time due to treatment, thus receive lower wages
  • Nurses can lose their job and even their entire career depending on the damage drug abuse has caused in their life

Employers that are hiring new nurses should be aware of the risks associated, and implement a drug testing policy with all employees. There are benefits to pre employment drug testing, in order to weed out potential hires who use drugs, but because of how much responsibility a nursing staff has, regular or random drug testing should be on the minds of employers. If you are in charge of hiring new personel at a hospital, nursing home, or any health care facility, turn to an employment drug testing company who takes their position seriously. Employment Screening Services has a long list of clients who know the passion that goes into helping the right people get hired, and preventing the wrong ones from causing harm to your company.

College Football Player Dies During Workout, Strength Coach Not Certified

Employment Screening Services is a company that prides ourselves on ensuring your organization hires the right man or woman for the job. The way we go about this is by verifying and checking the background of your potential new hire, and ensuring that they are completely honest and compliant with your organization’s regulations. Education and employment verification is something we specialize in. The following story is a very tragic one.

This past June, a teenager attended his football workout. The temperature was 81 degrees. A hot day, but nothing out of the ordinary. Running the workouts that day would be Ross Bowsher, the head football sports performance coach. Tyler Heintz, 19, was enrolled in early summer classes and preparing to fulfill his long term goal of playing division 1 football at Kent State. As an incoming freshman, he had yet to even strap on the pads, as this was a summer preseason workout, to show dedication and commitment.

That morning, Tyler Heintz would collapse around 9am. He was pronounced dead shortly after.

A tragic story of a young man destined to fulfill his dreams. The cause of death was initially undetermined, but has now been determined was due to hyperthermia (inability of the body to properly cool itself). This was one of 35 college football players that have died since 2000. 29 of those deaths were related to outside preseason conditioning or offseason drills.

One of the things the NCAA has done to combat this problem is requiring all strength coaches to be certified by a sanctioning body. This was a change made in 2015, after Bowsher had been employed at Purdue and Arkansas Tech. He clearly had no intention of harming any of the players, as he was employed to strengthen and condition his players. He was entering his 2nd year as the strength coach at Kent State. 

Following Heintz’s death, both certification bodies, the National Strength Coaches Association and Collegiate Strength and Conditioning Coaches Association reached out to CBS Sports to tell them that Bowsher was not certified by either association.

A teenager died during a workout with an uncertified strength coach.

So what does this have to do with background screening? Well, what we do is prevent organizations from hiring someone who is unqualified. Depending on the industry, which all have different regulations, we check and maintain that everything on their work history is verified, and ensure that any obligatory accreditations are met. This helps prevent lawsuits. Lawsuits like the one that will probably be instituted on the case of Tyler Heintz. Though the coach had been certified in “Personal Training” from IUPUI, which is a program designed to prepare students for accreditation tests, he was never formally certified.

This not only causes a bad look for the University and it’s administration, but is going to lead to a hefty lawsuit. The Conditioning Coaches Association Executive Director has this to say about the matter.

“Today, the way liability is, if you’re not certified by an accredited organization you’re walking on thin ice.” Lawsuits could be $20 million-$30 million dollars. I can’t imagine hiring someone without the appropriate credentials.”

A tragic story of a young man losing his life. An unfortunate example of how improper hiring practices and failing to ensure all regulations are verified can end up costing massive amounts of money to an organization.

Reasonable Suspicion | Signs of Drug Use in an Employee

Regardless of if you implemented a pre employment drug screening, an employee using drugs is a high risk to your company. You simply can’t afford to risk ignoring a person who is using drugs frequently, or under the influence of drugs while on the clock. This person is not only putting themselves in danger under your figurative wing, but putting their teammates in jeopardy, and could end up costing the company money.

Drug testing all prospective employees prior to their hiring is a good way to avoid letting drug users into the workplace from the get go, but what if you suspect someone currently employed is under the influence? This makes for a time to request a reasonable suspicion drug test. There are many signs that a person may be using illegal drugs, or abusing prescription drugs. Here are a few signs.

  • Frequent Absences With Lack of Notice
  • Flimsy Excuses/Lack of Documentation for Sick Days
  • Frequent Lengthy Trips to Bathroom/Car/Other
  • Irregular Work Performance Fluctuation
  • Evidence of Lack of Attention, Poor Judgement, or Bad Decision Making
  • Typical Issues Causing Serious Explosive Outbursts
  • Memory Loss, Confusion, Difficulty Concentrating
  • Refusal to Take Responsibility
  • Lack of Typical Appearance/Hygiene
  • Intense Personality Changes
  • Fellow Employees Noticing Any Signals

As an employer, the responsibility falls on you to do your due diligence to maintain a staff that is working at the highest of their ability. Without a drug free staff, that task is impossible. Beyond the responsibility associated in ensuring the business runs safely and efficiently, consider the ethical and moral responsibility. If you recognize this person is showing significant signs of drug abuse or addiction, you can intervene and help them fix their situation before it’s too late.

With so much abuse turning into life-altering overdose and in some cases, death, don’t be afraid to reach out to someone who appears to be struggling. That being said, legality is in question when drug use is signified. As an American, you have a legal responsibility to ensure everyone in your circle is not breaking the law. Drug users can cause an accident in the workplace, but when left untreated, they can also cause harm to themselves and their family.

If you are considering implementing a new drug testing policy at your company, turn to a background screening company that takes this seriously. When it comes to employment screening companies, you can find a lot of different salesman, but turn to someone you trust. With years of experience working in this industry, following our leader, Bob Wright, ESS can help you today with any background screening or drug testing needs. Just simply give us a call!

Million Dollar Embezzlement Part 2 | Woman Sentenced to Face Jail Time

Here on our blog back in January, we featured a story here in Western New York of a woman working for a local car dealership that embezzled over $1 Million over the course of her career. As it all turned out, the amount of money far surpassed a million. We are talking some serious cash. When it was all said and done the 55 year old who worked for the car dealership had caused a loss of over $4.1 Million!

This woman had worked for the company for 15 years before anyone noticed anything. Trust is one of the most, if not the most important factors in any employer/employee relationship. Knowing that you can trust your team to work hard and always do the right thing is paramount when hiring new employees. In this case however, trust was the one thing hiding the truth from this woman’s employer.

“Through all of this I never got a chance to apologize to the ‘family’ for what I’ve done to them,” she said tearfully. “They treated me like family. I wish I could pay it all back.”

A family-run company, the business was started 48 years ago, and employs over 420 people from around Buffalo and Western New York. Who would have thought that one woman could steal over 4 million dollars with no one noticing? Drug testing employees is one way to ensure you are hiring a solid person, but this woman wasn’t stealing to buy drugs or gamble. Why did she do it? She used the money to fund her love for buying and training horses for competitive dressage. She spent the money as she took it, to avoid anyone noticing.

She stood in front of the judge last Tuesday to find out that she will be going to prison. Though she could have faced the maximum sentence of 25 years, she will face 4-12 years. Members of the family who owned the company wrote letters to the court to try and lessen the sentence, because she did try to make payment restitution by selling everything she owned. Making up the full 4 million dollars however, that would be impossible. She owes the state $256,000 in taxes, and deducting the $1 million covered by insurance, the family’s loss was still over $2 million. After the woman does finally get out of prison, she will be paying $500 a month just to reduce that number, probably for life.

“The ‘family’ say they felt betrayed and have lost trust in people, especially after providing you with such a wonderful job and wonderful salary,”

Though justice has been served, and the company no longer employs the largest embezzler in the history of Erie County, the money remains in limbo and the owners of the company have lost trust in people. This clearly is a daunting example of how even in our own backyard here in WNY, you can find white collar criminals that are damaging the reputation of a company. When your company needs a new employee, you should always take every possible step to ensure you’re hiring someone you can trust.

Read the Full Story From the Buffalo News

Employment Screening Services provides background check services for any industry. We also offer employment drug testing that can be provided prior to employment or during. We take what we do seriously, and our background in law enforcement backs that up. Don’t go cheap when looking into background checks, because you get what you pay for. You could very well miss something on a potential employee’s record that could not only damage your reputation, but it could cost you money. Let this example of a family-owned company losing over $4 million ensure that you take every step necessary.

Urinalysis Test Cheaters | How Employees & Job Candidates Can Try To “Beat the Test”

You’ve probably heard old wives’ tales about how so and so “beat” a drug test by using various different methods. You’ve also probably seen some of our materials on the benefits of hair follicle drug testing, in contrast to urinalysis. Maybe you follow professional sports and hear about potential first round draft picks dropping because of “diluted” samples. We figured we could take some time to talk about common methods that potential job candidates may use to “beat” a pre employment drug test.

Dilution

This is probably the most widely used, and widely marketed process to avoid a positive urine drug test. Companies all over the U.S. compete to sell their “Detox” drink, that all promise the same thing; undetectable drugs. Though most are known by title as “detox” drinks, they do not detoxify the body. What it actually does is hold the toxins in the body, allowing someone to pass a drug test. A drug user can possibly turn up a negative test by simply drinking the drink 2 hours before, urinating 3-4 times before the test. “100% Satisfaction Guaranteed” is present on most of these products, but oftentimes, the test will show unusual amount of dilution, which should always require an additional test.

Substitution

A simple Google search, much like the dilution “detox” drinks, can find you a multitude of “Urine Substitutes”. Back in the good ole’ days, a potential drug test cheater might just request or purchase another person’s urine, and try and sneak it in, to use as their sample. Nowadays there are all types of products and methods to try and substitute clean urine. Just check out the number of message boards on the internet to see how much thought and effort go into switching urine samples. Typically the strict way to avoid cheating is for a lab worker to literally watch the person urinate, but there are even products that recreate the process using tubing and artificial genitalia. Yes, artificial genitalia.

Adulterating

This is something that you can see a potential candidate try and to, or even a current employee that may want to turn back a random drug test. Basically what adulterating a sample is tampering with the sample by adding certain chemicals that will either mask the drugs in the system or interfere with the equipment/test. Also known as “doping” a sample, someone who wants to buy time for themselves in a random drug test scenario could add soap, salt, bleach, eye drops or something else to try and avoid a positive test.

As you can see, there is a lot of thought and effort that go toward beating drug tests. This is something that every business owner should know and understand, so they can avoid being fooled someone is drug free. Regardless of if you test them in the beginning, a drug user causing an accident or stealing from the job could cost you serious money. It’s always beneficial to administer a urine drug test for any possible candidate prior to hiring, and it’s also vital to think about random and reasonable suspicion drug testing. Hair follicle drug testing could possibly offer a better solution for new hires, with a longer window of detection. If you have any questions about employment drug testing, feel free to send us a message in our contact form, or give us a call!

4 Things To Keep In Mind For Pre-Employment Background Checks

If you’ve found this page, we have a pretty decent feeling you already know there are countless advantages that running comprehensive criminal background checks can offer your business or organization. Ensuring something you’ve given years, or even decades of blood, sweat and tears building is protected against a prospective employee that may not have your best interests at heart is one of, if not the most valuable safe guards you can in invest in.

But outside of carefully considering what questions to ask candidates, hiring managers should also be focusing on when to conduct an advanced background check, what type to run and what sorts of issues will eliminate a prospect from consideration. Today we’re touching on four things to remember when vetting possible employees – to ensure your business has the resources needed to cultivate a positive and successful environment.

Know your fair chance law

A noticeable trend in the last several years has been the fair chance (ban-the-box) movement. These polices require the removal of specific questions on an application that pertain to criminal history. These laws can exist on state, county or city levels and lay out when in the hiring process you can run a background check. It’s important to research the specific laws in your area to know if you’re required to follow the protocol.

Consistency

What type of issues and checks are you going to run on potential employees? Are you concerned about driving history? A credit check? Drug usage? Whatever red flags you identify, make sure you stay consistent throughout your entire roster of applicants. If you run a credit check on one applicant, you have to run the same check on all the other applicants, otherwise you risk being accused of discrimination.

Focus On Relevance

Be mindful not to simply turn away any and all applicants who may have a criminal history, or else you could be face a lawsuit for discrimination. Instead, focus on if an individual’s criminal conviction(s) relate directly to the person’s ability to perform the requisite duties of the job at hand. For example, a misdemeanor for trespassing shouldn’t impact an employee’s ability to perform customer service. On the other hand, if a check turns up a chronic history of violent offenses, they could post a legitimate risk to clients or coworkers.

Additionally, it’s important to consider the age of the offense. If an applicant has a conviction or arrest for a petty or non-violent offence that is fifteen or twenty years old, you can typically consider that information as out of date or irrelevant – just as long as the individual hasn’t been convicted of similar repeat issues since. Naturally, more recent issues should be given increased weight.

FCRA and EEOC Guidelines

Both the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) and Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) lay out guidelines on how businesses and/or organizations can conduct background checks to make hiring decisions. Some of the information they provide is similar to what we’ve discussed in this post, but there are additional guidelines that every hiring manager should be familiar with.

Hiring the right employee(s) is one of the most integral parts of stocking your business with the requisite assets for success and Employment Screening Services has you covered. Whether it’s reasonable suspicion drug testing, an advanced background check or NYS licence verification in Buffalo NY, we’ve empowered companies all over the Buffalo-Niagara region to identify the type of employees that ultimately facilitate success.

Does Detail Count?  Instant Vs. Manual Background Checks

The level of detail on any specific criminal background check depends on the circumstance.  For example, do you need to commit resources to checking a potential employee’s driving record for a desk job?  Factors to consider are the field, industry and/or niche your company specializes in, the specific position and duties of job you’re screening for and what specific issues your organization considers important to know.  When requesting a background check, the results depend on the specific databases you want assessed, and those vary premised on if an instant or manual report is being used.  Today we’re differentiating between the two reports and what each one is able to yield.

Time Sensitive?  Instant Reports May Fit the Bill

Some types of information can be accessed immediately in the form of online databases.  While one might assume there is one, national database that documents every crime, that’s not the case.  Instead, a combination of databases can be used that have records reported by state and local municipality courts.  One example of this is the Interstate Identification Index System, from which records from the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and State repositories can be shared for some purposes that include employee background checks and government licensing.  But it’s important to keep in mind that a significant amount of state records, whether it be from courts or specific law enforcement outlets either aren’t included or haven’t been adequately updated.  As such, a legitimate issue that runs concurrent with these types of reports is that some local courts aren’t always the best at timely updating national databases, resulting in incomplete reports, and the content of information available depends on an individual state.

Manual for Robust Screening

Manual, also known as repository reports are manually recovered by a court reporter.  The source is direct, from the state and/or federal databases and are updated to be current, making sure all information is available.  These reports are available at both the county and federal tiers, and it’s up to an employer to decide what issue(s) they feel are important to screen for.  As the name suggests, the manual report takes more effort and will typically cost a bit more than the instant version(s), but this type of advanced background check will further ensure nothing slips through the cracks, which is often integral to protecting a business or organization.

Whether you need a criminal background check, reasonable suspicion drug testing or want more information on the process, don’t hesitate to contact Employment Screening Services.  With an actual background in law enforcement, we pride ourselves on our ability to protect and serve all employers, to ensure they hire, and retain the most trustworthy candidates to help their business grow.

Embezzled For Years | Local Dealership Looted for Over $1 Million

 

How well do you know your employees? Background checks and pre employment drug testing can certainly help weed out the majority of potential bad hires, but what about existing employees? Recently right here in Buffalo NY, an unfortunate case of broken trust is haunting a local automotive dealership.

Way back in 2001, a woman began working for the dealership. We can’t know whether or not she was given a background check back then, but she has worked for the company ever since. Even if the dealership had run a background report, and done a drug test during the hiring process, a lot can happen, and change, in 15 years. When someone works with the same company for 15 years, and they do a good job, everyone begins to trust them.

So imagine this, the 55 year old woman who’s been with the company for 15 years, serving as Controller for the last 8, has embezzled over $1,000,000!  This nightmare became a reality for the owners of Towne Automotive in Orchard Park. Apparently the woman had been stealing money since 2012. She went almost 5 years without anyone even batting an eye.

It wasn’t until a credit card company called the dealership inquiring about a credit card that wasn’t being used by the dealership that anyone even asked a question. It’s safe to assume the woman was in contact with the credit card company directly, and must have slipped up in some way. But, that didn’t stop her from taking a 7 figure sum over the course of 4 years, right under the other employees noses.

What’s worse, is that an attorney told WGRZ Channel 2 that in most embezzlement cases, the estimated total of money at the time of discovery is only a third or a half of what the actual total is at the conclusion of a case.

“Usually when you first find out about an embezzlement case, it usually then increases by magnitudes of two or three as to what the final amount is in my experience, so if this is the initial amount by the time they get through all the books and find out if she and or other people were also engaged in further embezzlement, it could be a much higher amount,”

This is cold reminder of the reality of what can happen if you don’t pre-screen all potential employees, and keep a close watch over ALL employees. This is how trust is built, over time and experience. Step one is to establish trust with all new hires through verifying they are who they say they are, and ensuring they are drug free and safe to work alongside your other team members. Step two, especially with employees handling large sums of money, is to pay attention to all the details. Letting someone’s leash out, just because they’ve been with the company for x amount of years can cost you large sums of money. In this case, millions of dollars.

For more information on pre employment background screening and various forms of drug testing for employees, contact Employment Screening Services today. We have worked with companies all over WNY, as well as around the country. With a background in law enforcement, we pride ourselves on being here to protect and serve all employers, to ensure they hire, and retain the most trustworthy candidates to help their business grow.

Negligent Hiring | What Does it Mean To Business Owners?

Job candidates that misrepresent his or her employment credentials can potentially expose employers to serious legal liabilities if and when the person or another employee are harmed. Conducting thorough background checks and drug testing potential and current employees are important to help maintain the safety, effectiveness and morale of the organization, and we know that. But it’s also important for employers to understand the magnitude of the liability associated with hiring a job candidate who misrepresented themselves throughout the hiring process.

What is Negligent Hiring?

By definition, negligent hiring is a legal claim made against an employer by a damaged employee/client or third party who claims that the employer either knew about or should have known about a situation in the employee’s past that indicates they may be violent, untrustworthy or under qualified. Generally, in order for a plaintiff to prove negligent hiring claims, they must demonstrate 2 things.

  1. The Employer knew or, in the exercise of ordinary care, should have known of the employee’s unfitness at the time of hiring
  2. The negligently hired employee proximately caused the plaintiff’s injury

Essentially, a plaintiff could be another employee who was injured or harmed, or a family member or friend of another employee. So if someone is hurt or harmed because of someone who was hired based off falsified information, and you didn’t catch it, your company is liable.

Real Life Scenario

In the case of Rucshner v. ADT Security Systems, Inc., a plaintiff made a negligent hiring claim against an authorized security services dealer for ADT Security, Inc. The security services dealer, we will call “Company S” warranted in several of its contracts with ADT that all employees performing services under these agreements had passed a drug screen and a criminal background check. Despite the claim that Company S screened and checked all of their employees, it was found that Company S had not done so with all of their employees, including the employee who sexually assaulted the daughter of the plaintiff.

Company S hired an employee without checking to see if they had a criminal record. A 14 year old girl was sexually assaulted. Her father sued ADT and Company S for negligent hiring because they failed to do a background check on the employee. This is a sad, yet true story, that can all be found in the case of Rucshner v. ADT Security Systems, Inc.

Employment Screening Services prides ourselves on providing comprehensive, tactile background checks for employers because it is important to us. We aim to prevent the wrong people from entering your organization, because it could not only harm your company’s bottom line, it could result in harm to a human being. For information about background screening or drug testing for employment, please don’t hesitate to reach out and give us a call to see what we can do for you moving forward.

 

How a Potential Hire’s Driving Records Give Important Insight Into Responsibility

A quality and comprehensive employee screening processes has increasingly become an integral cog in both filling job openings and establishing the trusted, and effective human capital needed to run a successful business and/organization.  While it’s common knowledge that companies use criminal and credit history during the screening process, driving records are often overlooked and underutilized.  Some employers may not fully understand the potential benefits of including driving records in the hiring process, but in reality, these records can yield a myriad of information that can signal problems down the road and should be taken into account by employers.

Temperament and Behavior

Driving records can provide a window into an applicant’s temperament and character — sometimes even more so than a traditional sit down interview.  Infractions or chronic traffic issues can mean behavioral trends and provide a candid look into the life of a potential employee.  Does a record implicate road rage or is there a regular occurrence of accidents?  Aggressive traits can translate into aggressive driving.  A potential hire who is a calm, careful and responsible driver is not going to have a long list of traffic violations and/or accidents.  Driving records that include a laundry list of infractions are riddled with red flags.  Think of it this way.  If an applicant can’t be trust with your vehicle, why would you trust them with your business?

But Isn’t Drug and Criminal Record Screening Enough?

While there is a plethora of information that can be gained from driving records, one of the main reasons hiring managers use them is to determine if an applicant is reliable and safe on the road — not to mention shedding light on responsibility and dependability levels.  For jobs that entail travel or transit via company vehicles, employers are rightfully interested in assessing the potential risk factor behind the wheel.  Needles to say if an applicant has a questionable driving record, it could bring high insurance rates.  Not only can insurance rates rise, but employers have to worry about liability.  The last issue any company needs is an employee being responsible for injury another individual.

No Show

Another important factor that driving records show goes a long way into determining general responsibility and professionalism.  If a potential hire’s history shows a repeated failure to appear in court, what makes you think they’ll show up to work or perform with the level of responsibility you expect out of a paid employee?  If an applicant hasn’t taken a summons into court seriously, it raises a substantial red flag.  If an individual is willing to blow off a judge, it’s time to questions where work falls in their hierarchy of priorities?

ESS offers the most comprehensive and effective packages of advanced background checks — From employment drug testing in Buffalo, NY and NYS  license verification to hair drug tests. For more information on employee drug testing, please feel free to contact us or give us a call at (716) 332-2274.