A recent appeals court ruling will certainly present challenges to businesses who regularly check employee driving records as part of the employee screening process. The decision concerns Motor Vehicle Reports (MVRs), and was handed down from the US Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit in Ohio.
The case was first brought before the court when the employee screening process found a Motor Vehicle Record from the Ohio Bureau of Motor Vehicles that indicated two moving violations and one “noncompliance suspension,” as well as three accidents. The report was passed on to the employer, who fired the driver as a result. The driver filed suit because two of the three accidents were not his fault. While the District Court dismissed the case, the Court of Appeals overrode that decision.
The Court of Appeals found that the MVR provided was accurate, but not “maximally accurate.” This is because the presence of an accident on the driving record does not include details about who caused the accident. In Ohio, if you were involved in a collision and a police report is made, all of the parties have the crash put on their driving records.
Unfortunately, this decision places more responsibility on the employer when completing employee screening to clarify the details of MVRs. An accident that appears on the MVR does not mean that the person in question was responsible. In fact, they could be a victim of the accident. We suggest that you talk with the individual who is undergoing employee screening about any incidents listed to find out what occurred.
When you are examining any accidents listed on the MVR report during employee screening, check the violations section to see if there are any violations listed on the same date. While this does not guarantee that the accident was their fault, it can be one indicator that they were held responsible for the accident. A little bit of clarification can ensure that you make no uninformed decisions during the employee screening process.
James P. Randisi, President of Randisi & Associates, Inc., has since 1999 been helping employers protect their clients, workforce and reputation through implementation of employment screening and drug testing programs. This post does not constitute legal advice. Randisi & Associates, Inc. is not a law firm. Always contact competent employment legal counsel. Mr. Randisi can be contacted by phone at 410.494.0232 or Email: firstname.lastname@example.org or the website at randisiandassociates.com.