A recent USA Today inquiry cost a registrant and his company hundreds of thousands of dollars in federal contracts and who knows how many other jobs. The article in its entirety can be read on the ACSOL website “Sex Offender loses Covid-19 Contract at VA Hospital after USA Today ask questions.”
The employee’s janitorial firm had had multiple government contracts over the years. There were never any issues with his employment record, he and his company were responsible employees and in good standing with the federal government’s vendor database. He wasn’t on any “list” of vendors excluded by the government from obtaining government contracts. Everything this guy did seemed to be above board and done by the books, and yet, all it took was one USA Today reporter’s inquiry and article regarding this particular vendor’s offender background, to cause the federal government to drop him and any of his company’s remaining federal contracts, like a hot potato.
Coincidently, that same week, three registrants all employed by a popular restaurant chain known for giving felons a “second chance”, all lost their jobs. Suddenly and without cause, they were all deemed “security risks” by the company headquarters and immediately terminated.
How and why does this happen?
Management’s response to one employee’s questions about his termination were confusing, he was advised that either the company had a list of felonies that they wouldn’t hire or that perhaps “sex offenders” was a “new” addition to the types of felonies they wouldn’t hire.
There were two problems with this response. First, this company was fully aware of the status of each of these registrants when they were hired. Two of the three had been with the company for several years. Their probation officers had spoken with the General Managers when they were hired to verify that the company was aware of their registry status. And secondly, there was a precipitating factor that management is ignoring. One registrant’s status had recently been “outed” by a new employee who researched his co-workers on the internet and then found it amusing to share an employee’s registry info with other employees. This fire was then fueled by yet another employee who made a “if I ever see that guy (although they used a much darker term) in a dark alley, he’s dead” kind of threat, which was overheard by other employees.
The registrant, the victim of a now hostile work environment, brought the matter to the attention of his managers, who took it to Human Resources, who then took it up with the Corporate Office. One would think this would have resulted in the employees who spitefully revealed registry info and made death threats, being terminated. But that’s not how it ended. Instead, the company decided that having registrants employed by the company was too much of a “security risk,” and decided to instead, immediately terminate them.
Three registrants. All hard working, valued employees, minding their own business, lose their jobs, their health benefits and a bit of their dignity all because one nosey person, like in the USA Today article, took it upon himself to look people up on the internet, on the registry and then use that information for their own malicious purposes.
Some days it’s just so damn hard to find the justice in this world.