According to reports, a recent tragic workplace homicide by a wanted fugitive underscores the importance of having effective background checking policies and procedures in place. The suspect, who was employed by a non-profit organization at the time, never submitted to a background check.
Prosecutors contend that the victim, Edward Hinds, had discovered that the suspect Jose Feliciano, a janitor, had not been fingerprinted or background checked in accordance with the organization’s policy and that Feliciano had criminal charges filed against him in Philadelphia in the 1980s. According to authorities, Feliciano had never appeared in court to address a Philadelphia charge of improper conduct with a girl and they contend that he used different birthdates, names and Social Security numbers to remain a fugitive for the past two decades.
Hinds included Feliciano’s name on a list of people working or volunteering at the organization that needed to undergo fingerprinting and a background check. Based on the information Hinds had discovered about Feliciano’s previous criminal charges, he reportedly intended to terminate his employment as custodian. However, just days before he was to terminate him, Hinds was murdered.
As a best practice, organizations, including non-profits, should conduct thorough background checks of all employees and volunteers prior to employment. The foundation for any thorough background check is checking past address history, which is typically based on a candidate’s Social Security Number (SSN). Checking a SSN may also help uncover any discrepancies in a candidate’s history. For example, if you determine that a SSN was issued prior to a candidate’s date of birth, this might highlight the need to conduct further investigation.