Some Ohio pools rely on reference checks instead of background checks for their life guards

By Michael Klazema on 4/9/2012

With the pool season about to start, many recreation centers are starting to hire lifeguards at local pools. Since most of them are so young, it’s somewhat understandable that their employers might not think to run them through a background check before hiring them.  In Ohio though, the inconsistent and low hiring standards has some citizens concerned for the safety of their children.

While some pools require statewide criminal background check on any applicant older than 15 years, others rely on reference checks and the honor system they say. As with any sector, it sometimes only takes one prominent case to put the spot light on a less than desirable employment screening policy.

In Ohio it was the case of a lifeguard arrested and convicted of public indecency, with more charges pressed for a couple sexual assaults on girls at the same pool.

Parents who assume all lifeguards go through a background check were shocked to find that it was not statewide policy to carry out a background check on each applicant and only some pools required it.  They felt that any employee charged with looking after children should be checked out.  Pool employers though felt that their lifeguards were too young for such a requirement.  One employer who owned a large waterpark facility cited the cost of background checks as a reason for not doing them. 

If pool owners fail to submit their lifeguards to background checks though, a sexual assault by one of their employees could expose even a recreation center to negligent hiring law suits. Aside from the fact that the state of Ohio could benefit from a mandated consistent employee background check policy for all recreation center and pool operators, an expansion of the scope beyond Ohio state lines might also be necessary. Especially in this seasonal sector it is not uncommon for pools to hire college kids on summer break. With millions of those students attending out of state universities it is easy to imagine how a local reference check or single state background check might fail to uncover criminal records.

With enough publicity on this matter, it is likely communities in Ohio will come together to demand a higher standard for their lifeguards.  While background checks do cost money, pools with a lot of lifeguards can buy packages through companies like that can be customized to meet their budget.  This would give them access to affordable instant criminal record search products such as the US Offender OneSEARCH which searches the entire nation for sex offense registrations and the US OneSEARCH criminal record database for quick multi-jurisdictional search with a nationwide focus.

About - - a founding member of the National Association of Professional Background Screeners (NAPBS®) - serves thousands of customers nationwide, from small businesses to Fortune 100 companies by providing comprehensive screening services.  Headquartered in Dallas, Texas, with an Eastern Operations Center in Chapin, S.C., is home to one of the largest online criminal conviction databases in the industry. For more information about backgroundchecks’ offerings, please visit


Tag Cloud
Recent Posts

Latest News

  • March 15 As more states legalize the recreational use of cannabis, they contend with the emergence of new industries surrounding marijuana cultivation and production. 
  • March 14 In most cases, it is easy to determine where an issue might show up on a pre-employment background check. Citations for traffic violations or reckless driving charges will appear on a motor vehicle record check. Verdicts in a civil court case will show on a civil court background check. And criminal convictions—from petty theft to violent felonies—show up on criminal background checks.
  • March 13 How many years back do employment background checks go? This question can have multiple different answers depending on the situation.
  • March 13 A new bill in Florida would require landlords of apartment complexes to present tenants with verifications of employee background checks to give them peace of mind the people working in and around their homes are trustworthy.
  • March 08 Police officers working with the University of Texas at Arlington recently arrested a man who had avoided police capture on a warrant out of Oregon for nearly two decades. The man, whose real name is Daniel Charles Ray Hanson, spent those 17 years using a variety of fake names and identification documents to move around the country, often engaging with educational institutions under false pretenses. Police say Hanson regularly went by at least three different aliases. He sports a rap sheet that stretches back to an arson conviction in 1995. 
  • March 07

    The Future of EEOC Guidance in Texas Is Up in the Air

    The EEOC issued guidance in 2012 warning employers about the dangers of enforcing categorical policies to bar candidates with criminal histories. That guidance is not enforceable in Texas thanks to a recent court ruling.

  • March 05 Vermont is the latest state to restrict employers’ access to and use of social media accounts of employees and applicants. 
  • March 01 In an age of "industry disruptors" turning established business models on their heads, companies such as Uber and Lyft rely on a unique workforce of individuals outside the traditional employer-employee context. Uber calls them "partners" while other businesses refer to them as "independent contractors," the official classification these individuals use for tax purposes. Recently, the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) revealed they had warned a business, Postmates, for misclassifying their staff as independent contractors. In the NLRB's determination, these individuals were employees.
  • February 27 Governor Asa Hutchinson signed House Bill 2216 which amends the employer’s directives regarding a current or prospective employee’s social media account.
  • February 23 A Texas summer camp is in the spotlight after an unflattering investigation from a local news channel. The case has some parents asking what they can do to vet summer camp programs before enrolling their kids.