Death from DUI is not an Accident
Magistrate Judge Patrick Auld, sitting in the Middle District of North Carolina, found in favor of an ERISA plan fiduciary who determined that a death resulting from driving while intoxicated was not an “Accident” for purposes of an Accidental Death & Disability benefit under an ERISA-qualified employee benefit plan.
Johnson v. American United Life Ins. Co., 2012 U.S. Dist. Lexis 32718 (M.D. N.C. 2012). In Johnson, the plan participant died after his pickup truck left the road at an excessive speed, hit a road sign, and overturned several times. The postmortem toxicology report showed a blood-alcohol concentration of .2898, more than three times the legal limit.
Traditionally, Courts have found a concrete definition of “accident” elusive, particularly in a situation like the scenario in Johnson, when a driver intentionally became intoxicated and intentionally decided to drive, knowing the inherent dangers, yet probably did not intend to crash, sustain injury or die.
Facebook and Tenant Screening
Last summer’s party anthem, “Last Friday Night (TGIF)” may have had you rocking out in your car and empathizing with the line, “pictures of last night ended up on line, I’m screwed.” But have you really contemplated how the photos of your night of debauchery might hurt you in the future? There has been a lot of fodder about how what you post online might come back to haunt you. Recent reports indicate that many employers are now requiring applicants to surrender their social media passwords as part of the hiring process. But future employers may not be the only one searching Facebook for information on you; your future landlord may be looking too.
We have discussed the necessity of thoroughly screening your tenants in our article “Becoming Your Own Property Manager”, but are using social media sites to screen your tenant a good idea?
You have two applicants that are interested in renting your home. Both applicants have filled out an application, have agreed to a credit/background check and have submitted references. Applicant A has good credit, no criminal background and their references check out, but you dig a little deeper and you see pictures on their Facebook page that indicate they enjoy hosting large parties for the progressive church of which they are a member. Applicant B has fair credit, slight mark on their criminal background, their references are good and your review of their Facebook page reveals that they like to spend time biking with their family and watching movies on the weekends.
As a result of the U.S. economic downturn and housing bubble burst, an increasing number of people are choosing to rent, rather than own. In fact, according to the Census Bureau, home ownership has fallen to 65.4 percent, as compared to the peak of 69 percent home ownership in 2006. This equates to about three million more households renting today than six years ago.
This shift toward renting is due to a wide variety of factors, including higher lending standards, a lack of down payment funds and the fact that it has become cheaper to rent than to own a home.
With an influx of renters, there are also a much larger number of landlords, many of which do not have the resources or the know-how to protect themselves against unruly tenants.
Fortunately, a newly redesigned tenant screening platform available from the Rental Protection Agency helps landlords run accurate reports and background checks on potential tenants. The new system from RPA provides landlords with an increased level of functionality, including easier tracking, more detailed data and a more user-friendly interface, and allows them to perform a 3-in-1 background check.
The 3-in-1 background check includes a 50-state criminal check, an identity trace and a stolen identity search, and a global, FBI and Homeland Security check.
And unlike other, more basic, screening systems available on the market, the RPA’s new address history feature allows landlords and property managers to view detailed data on their tenants’ previous addresses.
The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), th agency that enforces federal anti-discrimination laws, shook up employers and the employment defense bar when it issued new “guidelines” on employers’ use of arrests and convictions in making hiring decisions.
In short the EEOC decided: “An employer’s neutral policy (e.g., excluding applicants from employment based on certain criminal conduct) may disproportionately impact some individuals protected under Title VII, and may violate the law if not job related and consistent with business necessity (disparate impact liability).” In other words, because African Americans are disproportionately represented among the population of convicts, if an employer decides, for nonracial reasons, he doesn’t want to risk hiring someone with a conviction on his record he can look forward to being sued.
Read the rest here
LinkedIn has some great groups that cover the employment screening industry. Some of our favorites are below, be sure to check them out.
Background Screening and Due Diligence Professionals
Background Screening News and Legislative Updates
Better Background Screening
Compliant Background Screening Partners
Due Diligence and Screening Services
Employment Background Check
Employment Screening Best Practices
International Background Screening Forum