Background Checks – Not Necessarily A Prevention Of Murder In The Workplace

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NBC’s June 4, 2010, Dateline featured Univ. of Ala. – Huntsville biology professor Dr. Amy Bishop, accused of shooting and killing several co-workers. The show asked: “Could knowing about Dr. Amy Bishop’s mysterious past have prevented the shooting deaths of the three people in Alabama?” The school’s top administrator noted that a post-shooting background check failed to reveal any evidence that would have disqualified her employment. The show focused on how, if Dr. Bishop’s hometown had properly investigated her 1986 shooting of her brother, this would have been on her record and reported for the school to know, and the information could have possibly been the basis for her disqualification from employment. Certainly if she had been found guilty and convicted, she may well have still been in prison and never even been able to apply for the job. But the show’s inference that a background check with the “proper” information could have prevented her UAH employment takes a giant leap not grounded in legal and practical reality.

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