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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 backgroundchecks.com 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 backgroundchecks.com -

backgroundchecks.com - 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., backgroundchecks.com is home to one of the largest online criminal conviction databases in the industry. For more information about backgroundchecks’ offerings, please visit www.backgroundchecks.com.

Source:  http://www.10tv.com/content/stories/2009/07/02/story_lifeguard_checks.html


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