How Sexual Offenders Can Affect the Workplace

Google recently fired an employee for breaking the company's strict internal privacy policy. According to an article in the Wall Street Journal, the employee who was dismissed allegedly gained access to information on several users who were minors. The fired employee was a software engineer.

If the charges are valid, then there is no doubt Google did the right thing by firing its employee. Because I must say when I read that anyone is trying to obtain personal information related to minors, then the first thing that crosses my mind is a pedophile in search of another victim. I may be right; I may be wrong, but as the co-owner of a background checking service we are not entirely unfamiliar with employees or job applicants who populate the sexual offenders registry in all fifty states. Not a foreign concept at all. In fact, I would believe that for most people who read about such alleged charges one's attempt to engage in improprieties with minors is up among the first things that crosses their minds as well.

Do we often see background checks where the final report for pre-employment screening reveals criminal records along with notation that the job applicant is a not-so-proud member of the sexual offenders registry? Truthfully, not too often. When we do see criminal records that relate to sexual offenses, other than prostitution, then overwhelmingly the employment candidate is a male. In the rare times it is a female, as far as their charges and convictions, believe don't want to know. Except of course if you are considering that person for employment.

I am told by clients that sex offenders are generally toxic to the workplace. Once it is learned that the new employee is a sex offender, quite often office morale will diminish. Male and female employees alike tend to express violent attitudes toward the sexual offenders. In the case of some males, they would often prefer to express themselves in a much more physical manner. Whether you approve or not, this is not the issue. What is the issue are the chances for injury and workplace violence and the liability issues that are often the consequence and incumbent with these situations.

On the other hand we have a client who manages a non-profit group. She says her best worker is someone on the sexual offenders list. So go figure.

Nevertheless, we applaud Google for being proactive about its privacy breaches, as protect their users and avoid what we can politely call untenable situations. Anytime there is a zero tolerance policy for any alleged acts that can cause harm to others, it is worth noting. We have witnessed instances where this is not the case. And that is awfully foolish.

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