Richmond failing to conduct background checks

RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) – Is Richmond hiring felons it shouldn't be?  A new report said the city needs to have a better policy when dealing with criminal background checks in the hiring process.

The investigation stems from a complaint dealing with the criminal background of a social services employee, but the results have implications citywide.

Richmond's Auditor's and Inspector General's Office explained the city needs to create a detailed and consistent process for how departments handle job candidates with criminal backgrounds.

The report comes after an employee with the Richmond Department of Social Services was hired several times, despite his criminal history.

The investigator found that person didn't truthfully reveal his felony charges of arson and grand larceny. Department checks weren't adequate enough to catch them.

We asked Mayor Dwight Jones' administration for comment.  A spokesperson said this is an opportunity for improvement, "as the city's Human Resources Department is presently looking at ways to create a more formalized process for background checks to ensure departmental follow-through."

We also took the report to Missie Murdock with the Society for Human Resources Management.

"A best practice would be to do that thorough background screening based on each individual position and maybe have policies that govern each position instead of a blanket across the whole company," she suggested.

She said these issues are difficult to tackle for any large organization.

"You want to be fair to the applicant and you still want to protect the customer and the company itself."

It is important to note the city does not prohibit hiring felons.  There is an exception when the position in question mandates the person not have a criminal record and there are only certain jobs with that exemption.

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