Judgment Call

Posted on December 1, 2001
You’ve hired a school bus driver, and he’s done satisfactory work for the first three months. Now you learn from one of your staff who worked with him at another school district that he was fired from that job because he physically threatened one of his passengers. What do you do? On our job application, an applicant must inform us if he has ever been fired. I would call him in and confront him with this information. My actions would be based on his responses and whether or not I felt he could safely transport schoolchildren. You hear lots of things about employees, some true, some not. Everything has to be thoroughly investigated. Tom Taylor Transportation Director Williamson County (Tenn.) Schools [email protected] I would begin by verifying the hearsay allegation. Once verified, I would then discuss the issue with the school district’s human resources department. After the administrative processes have been established, I would have a conversation with the employee and hear his side of the story. If the employee is performing at or above standard and is going to be retained, I would jointly (with the employee, HR staff and transportation staff) develop specific monitoring and evaluation criteria to address the operational and legal requirements identified through the review process. This review process would recognize and respect an employee’s right to due process, beginning to end. Augie Campbell Transportation Director Aurora (Colo.) Public Schools [email protected] I see several possible scenarios. The common theme, of course, is to contact the other district, request confirmation of the accusation and ask about the relationship there between the two. I assume the three months means the accused employee has completed his probationary period. We require all of our applicants to submit their fingerprints, even those who are transferring from another district, so we would have found out if there was a conviction or charges pending. If he or the other district confirms the accusation or law enforcement reveals charges, I think it qualifies for material misrepresentation during the application process and is grounds for termination. If he denies the accusation and the other district refuses to confirm, watch both employees to see who’s truthful and if there may be some hidden agenda. Fred Fennell Transportation Director Flagstaff (Ariz.) Unified School District [email protected]
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