Al Zimmerman had a solid employment record when the Florida Department of Children and Families (DCF) hired him as a spokesman. He was later promoted to press secretary and received good reviews, right up until his arrest for allegedly paying two teenagers to perform sexual acts while he photographed them.
An investigation revealed Zimmerman had a criminal record, including a charge of driving under the influence in Georgia, and an outstanding warrant for grand theft in Texas.
DCF Secretary Bob Butterworth said the department did not have a policy of fingerprinting potential employees when Zimmerman was hired two years ago.
Note: Negligent hiring lawsuits are on the rise. Conduct thorough on prospective hires, but be careful. You may only be able to consider past violations that relate to the job being applied for.
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- Use consistent interview questions to ensure fairness in hiring and promotions
- Firing harasser is necessary, even if long-ago age comment could spark lawsuit
- Run background checks, even for top-dog positions