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Hiring licensed applicants? Check for violations that revoke the license

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in Discrimination and Harassment,Employment Background Check,Hiring,Human Resources

When hiring people who need to possess certain licenses, make sure you do more than just check that the applicant holds the license. Your application process should include a background check into any violations that could lead to a license revocation. Then, use that information to reject applicants who have such convictions.

Also, if a position requires a license, the job description should state that convictions would disqualify the person from winning the job.

Thus, truck drivers who must have a CDL (commercial driver's license) should also be required to have a record free of serious traffic offenses.

The only way to know for sure that applicants have a clean record is to check. If you don't and hire the applicant anyway, you may be giving up your legal defenses if sued for discrimination or negligent hiring.

Recent case: Viola Underwood earned her CDL and applied to work for the county as truck driver. The county required a CDL and a clean driving record. But it didn't check Underwood's driving record, which would have shown two speeding tickets that (under CDL rules) would require her license suspension.

When Underwood wasn't hired, she sued, alleging sex discrimination. A lower court dismissed her suit on the basis of her driving record, which came to light after she sued. But the appeals court reversed, saying that unless the employer knew that Underwood had driving violations when it refused to hire her, it couldn't retroactively use that information as a defense. (Underwood v. Perry County, No. 04-11713, 11th Cir. 2005)

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