Recent Developments

Issues that affect ministers and churches
Relevance of Previous Criminal Acts to Employment Decisions
Are prior criminal acts relevant in deciding whether to use a worker?
Ohio
State:
Key point: A prospective worker's previous criminal act may have occurred so long ago that it no longer is relevant in evaluating whether or not to use the worker.

In a significant ruling, an Ohio appeals court ruled that an employer was not liable for a worker's rape of a 9-year-old girl even though the employer failed to discover that the worker had been convicted of a similar crime 20 years earlier. A metropolitan housing authority hired a general contractor to perform work on some of its apartment units. The general contractor hired a subcontractor who hired a worker to lay floor tiles in vacant apartment units. One morning the subcontractor found two young girls in a vacant apartment with the worker. When questioned, the worker explained that the girls were "helping him." The subcontractor told the worker that he did not like the arrangement, but did nothing about it. Later that day, the worker took one of the girls (9 years old) to a closet and raped her. The girl and her mother later sued the subcontractor, claiming that it was responsible for the girl's injuries on the basis of negligent selection and negligent supervision. A trial court dismissed the lawsuit, and the girl and her mother appealed. A state appeals court upheld the dismissal of the lawsuit. In rejecting the claim that the subcontractor was responsible for the girl's injuries on the basis of "negligent selection" of the rapist, the court observed:

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Posted: May 2, 1994
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