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Who’s Responsible? Pre-Hiring Neglect Leads to Rape


The BP oil spill has certainly resulted in quite a mess that needs cleaning up. But, the mess goes much farther than the spill itself. At least one very serious legal issue has arisen as a result of a lack of pre-employment screening.

According to reports, one Rundy Charles Robertson, 41, a temporary worker hired to work on the oil spill cleanup, raped a coworker – a woman on the crew he was supervising. Turns out the victim was working side-by-side with a convicted sex offender.

Robertson, with a criminal record dating back to 1991, a 1996 conviction for contributing to the delinquency of a minor, and a 2003 conviction for cruelty to children, was hired by an employment firm contracted by an environmental firm working for BP to provide cleanup workers. Now, everyone’s playing “pass the buck.”

BP hired the Miller Environmental Group, who hired Aerotek, the staffing agency, to provide workers for the cleanup. Aerotek did not perform background checks on the employees it hired for the job. One witness even said that potential workers were applying for jobs with house-arrest collars on. Aerotek claims that it did not require background checks because they were not required in their contract with Miller. However, they did start requiring checks about three weeks after the fact, per Miller’s request.

Aerotek claims it is not responsible because it was only following the guidelines Miller required. BP claims they are not responsible because they entrusted Miller with the task. Is Miller responsible?

Ultimately, someone will be held legally and financially responsible for not performing background checks on individuals hired to work on the BP cleanup. Sure, Robertson, if convicted, will serve time for his crime.

But, neither a jail sentence for Robertson, nor reparations made by any or all of the companies involved will eliminate the fact that a woman has been brutalized.

A simple background check would have uncovered Robertson’s criminal history and excluded him from employment.

Who’s responsible?

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