In the past few months, I’ve been assisting a client with a drug related investigation. If the initial homework had been done, the client would have made a very different decision at the time of hiring the subject of the investigation.
The client had completed a traditional background check that consisted of a criminal, financial and reference check. Then about a year after hiring this employee, some disturbing circumstances appeared relating to drugs and racist comments. Based on the current situation we advised the client that they should consider the following:
- Investigative Research
- Social Media Surveillance
- Undercover and/or Surveillance
The client elected to conduct social media surveillance for a 30-day period. We identified approximately 150 keywords related to the client’s concerns and commenced harvesting data across the top most common platforms. We wanted to capture the last 100 posts per platform plus be alerted to any current activities. The employee was lax with privacy settings, so we were able to harvest a gold mine of information such as racist comments and posts showing drug use and risky life style choices. The client then elected to commence with a parking lot surveillance for phase two, as the data gathered indicated there was a strong likelihood that drug related activities were taking place on company property. The surveillance uncovered the use and sale of drugs by the employee and other coworkers. In addition, the employee was observed leaving the site in a company vehicle where other transactions took place in public locations with unidentified individuals.
Based on the information and evidence collected, the client had us contact and work with local law enforcement. The client’s goal was to terminate those involved in illegal activities. The decision was made to have police intervene on company property during a time when most activity took place. This proved to be very successful, as a large amount of marihuana was found and several arrests were made. The client had a clear policy on drug use, which allowed for termination of the individuals involved. The police also learned that the subject of the investigation had a grow op in his home.
The potential damage to the client’s reputation and brand could have been considerable. Concerns for workplace safety and violence could have developed had the problem continued.
During the follow up and de-briefing, the client indicated that they wanted to develop a program to mitigate future risks. After consulting with the client’s human resources and legal department, we developed a social media footprint search as part of their pre-employment screening process. Each new employee’s social media footprint is reviewed along with the last ten posts per platform are collected. This provides a recent snapshot of the potential employees’ lifestyle choices.
Since implementing the program a number of potential employees who would have met traditional requirements have been disqualified based on social media footprint results.
The cost of a bad hire can have extremely damaging results. Make sure you really know who you are hiring.