First of all if you missed it ABM Janitorial had to discharge 1200 or their 4000 or so employees in this market last weekend because of their illegal status.
I assume the cross match of their social security numbers on ABM’s payroll submissions triggered some sort of flag at the INS. ABM gave everybody the opportunity to correct any errors then discharged those who didn’t.
First, ABM was 100% in compliance with the law. The law is an “honor system” for the employee – a contract cleaner can take the employee at his word that the identity documents being submitted when we fill out their I – 9’s are legitimate. At this time there is no obligation on the employer to do a background check that might (or might not) verify that the documents were in fact “real” and not forgeries.
Second, the operative word is background check. At Coverall we do a high quality (i.e. expensive) background check on all new janitorial franchisees. Where merited or required by customers we require the janitorial franchise owners to do background checks on their employees as well.
It’s been years since a franchise candidate investigation has turned anything other than a non – security related issue (we do get the occasional DUI – but unless a franchise owner will be operating a customer vehicle that poses minimal risk to the customer) but occasionally a franchisee employee candidate will get flagged for illogical or fraudulent immigration status and be disqualified from employment.
I have no opinion on the right way to proceed with the global issue of immigration reform, enforcement etc. From my standpoint, working exclusively with “legal” people, we are obviously at a cost disadvantage competitively to a variety of small competitors who aren’t as scrupulous – but the big significant players like ABM are operating on the same playing field as we do, so we can deal with it.
However, if they claim they are doing a background check, it is obviously not as thorough as the one we get.
I pay about $100 per candidate to a company called “Orange Tree” – I recommend them to anyone, competitor or no. We have tested them against the (numerous) solicitations we get and so far they have been able to find some fairly tricky non security related transgressions better than anyone we have tested.
Of course, there are people out there who would “prefer not to know ” aren’t there ?