Are You Screening Your Vendors? NJ School Bus Company Disregards District Requirements and Uses Unsafe Practices

Background checks for employees are commonplace across many highly regulated industries such as education, government, and healthcare; but a comprehensive screening of a contractor or vendor is much rarer. Naturally, when a bid for a project is received, it is expected that the provider is honest regarding the scope of their services as well as if they meet the buyer’s requirements. Unfortunately, many employers are learning the hard way that businesses are not always as honest as they seem, and that upfront due diligence is the best way to weed out bad actors.

For example, a New Jersey school bus company operated unsafe buses, failed to conduct required background checks and hired drivers with criminal records. According to the article, the company falsified documents it provided to school districts in order to cover its tracks and a surprise inspection by state investigators found so many inspection violations that a large number of the buses were impounded and not allowed to be driven off the school properties. Additionally, fingerprinting, motor vehicle reports, and DOT drug testing were not being completed as required by NJ schools. Since criminal records were allegedly not being checked, the company employed drivers that otherwise would have been disqualified during the screening process. A registered sex offender was able to slip through the cracks and be employed as a driver, and two drivers were charged with driving buses with children aboard while under the influence of narcotics. As a result, the vendor’s owner and manager currently are facing criminal charges.

As a rule of thumb, running a thorough background check on a potential vendor and its subcontractors is recommended prior to awarding a contract. PBSA accredited companies like CRC have access to civil court records at the state as well as federal levels to screen both the owner(s) and operator(s) as well as the company itself for history of litigation. Additionally, checking a company’s reviews on sites like Glassdoor, Yelp, and the Better Business Bureau can provide insights into how they operate and if allegations of deceptive business practices are common. Depending on the type of services and information that is available to the contractor, an independent third-party inspection of the vendor’s site may yield important insight on how they handle, store, and dispose of sensitive materials.

If you are interested in Vendor and / or Contractor screening services, contact a CRC representative at (877) 272-0266 for more information.