In a 5-0 decision on Friday, June 17, the North Carolina Supreme Court ruled in favor of the Keiths, an elderly couple who survived a home invasion robbery plotted against them by an employee of the home health care agency they hired. The jury awarded them $750,000 due to the company’s negligent hiring decisions.
Justice Tamara Barranger wrote an opinion article in which the court said, “A person of ordinary prudence could have reasonably foreseen that as a result of [the company’s] negligent hiring, the home invasion and robbery of the Keith’s home or some similar injurious result was probable, and that the trauma from such event would injure the Keiths.”
The opinion states the Keiths hired the home health care company in 2012 after one of them had a heart procedure. They both have mobility issues and require in-home care.
A Foundation of Dishonesty
The home health care agency’s owner informed the Keiths and their son that criminal background checks are completed on all employees, and their website even emphasized this point. It is required by North Carolina law to have home health aides undergo background checks by the state Bureau of Investigation if they enter their clients’ homes.
If their claims were true, and the company had run a thorough background check on an employee they hired in 2015, they would have found the following offenses on her record:
- Guilty of driving with a revoked license in 2008
- Charged with possession of marijuana and drug paraphernalia in 2009 & 2010
- Charged with communicating threats in 2010 & 2011
- Convicted of criminal contempt in 2010
The aide was also untruthful on her job application; she claimed she had never been convicted of any crimes, and she stated she had a valid driver’s license. This was the home health aide who was unfortunately assigned to care for the Keiths.
The Crimes Committed
It was in 2016 that the Keith’s family members noticed the first odd occurrence in their home – $1,260 in cash and $900 in rolled coins were suddenly missing. After this discovery, the home care company promised to avoid assigning them their aide in question in the future, but she returned to care for them just a few weeks later.
Shortly after this first situation on September 28, 2016, the aide and two accomplices drove to the Keith’s home. Using a hidden spare key to enter the house, they disconnected the Keith’s phone and took a .32 caliber gun from Mr. Keith’s nightstand, his ATM card from a desk drawer, and two boxes of rolled coins totaling $500. He was watching a movie in another room when these events occurred.
That isn’t the end of the story, either – additional crimes were committed against Mr. Keith.
You can read the entire story here.
Police identified the home health aide using a photograph taken of her while she was cashing in the rolls of coins at a nearby Coinstar machine. She was later fired by the home health care agency she worked for.
Once the Keiths filed a lawsuit in Pitt County Superior Court, a jury found the home health care company showed evidence of negligence by hiring the aide without conducting a thorough background check. Mr. Keith was awarded $500,000 and his wife was awarded $250,000.
According to North Carolina Department of Corrections records, the aide was convicted of first-degree burglary and second-degree kidnapping. She is currently being held at the North Carolina Correctional Institution for Women in Raleigh and serving a 10-year, 11-month sentence.
Hire Smarter from the Start
It’s safe to say that your home health care company doesn’t need to experience the same extreme and unfortunate series of events to realize how vital it is to make smart hiring decisions, especially in such a growing industry.
You want your home health aides to represent your company in the best light possible. Their levels of experience, dedication to clients, and backgrounds all impact how much they value the important positions they hold. If you want to hire nothing but the best home health care employees, you need to start with the right background checks.
Good Egg’s pre-employment screenings help ensure you’re hiring the person behind the resume and the (hopefully) good record they claim to have. We can offer the following background checks:
- Criminal - As this agency should have done, you can see if your applicant has committed any crimes and confirm their identity. Screens are completed on local, state, and national levels to give you a comprehensive look into their history.
- Driver History - This company should have checked the convicted employee’s driving record. You can see your applicant’s license class and status as well as accident and citation history. It’s vital to hire someone reliable enough to drive to each client’s home or take them in their vehicles as necessary.
- Post-Employment - And if you’ve decided the applicant is a seemingly perfect fit for your home health care company, you can still keep an eye on their driving habits, criminal activity, social media use, and more with our post-employment screenings. Peace of mind and positive reputation management have never been so easy to achieve.
Let’s Get Started
Whether you’d like to find out more about our home health care screenings, or you’re ready to get a quote, our background check specialists are here to help. Your clients’ safety and well-being are just as important to us, and we’ll do everything we can to ensure you hire the best home health aides out there. Get in touch with us today for a better background screening experience.