Sex offender registries and schools

I work for a construction company in Maryland and we have a lot of state/federal contracts.  Something i am seeing more and more of is contracts requiring that anyone we put on the job site on or near school grounds requires us to clear all the employees from the applicable sex offender registries.  Does anyone have an experience with this?  I know there are privacy concerns galore, but I am getting more concerned with negligent hiring issues.  Has anyone heard of any company being held liable for hiring a sex offender (outside the 'usual' positions that require direct contact with children).



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  • In an appellate court case (Blair vs. Defender Services), it was determined that an employer may be liable for the acts of an employee when:

    "An employer in placing a person with known propensities, or propensities which should have been discovered by reasonable investigation, in an employment position in which, because of the circumstances of the employment, it should have been foreseeable that the hired individual posed a threat of injury to others."

     In the case of a school, you are really in a danger area. I would excercise due diligence in the pre-hire stage to clear candidates. The applicant could sign a release authorizing a check of his or her criminal history.

  • This is something I would take to a corporate attorney.  If the company is signing a contract (especially state and federal contracts) that requires you to clear all the employees then you need to find out what your legal obligations are.  It may be that completing a background check (by a 3rd party firm) will give you the information you need. 
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