A new bill in Florida (HB 1129) aims to require all companies using home delivery drivers to conduct background checks on their drivers. This would apply to independent contractors, third-party companies, and full-time employees.
Florida Representative Mike Caruso filed the bill, the Evy Udell Public Safety Act, after Best Buy's third-party delivery driver murdered a woman in her home when delivering her washer and dryer. This horrific event has emphasized the need for background checks-- especially in an era that often uses contractors and third parties. Whether or not the bill passes, here’s what you should know about bill HB 1129 and background checks for delivery drivers.
If HB 1129 passes, any person who “contracts for or engages in the loading, transportation or shipment, or unloading of household goods as part of a home delivery service” must go through two levels of background checks before they enter someone’s home. If these background checks are pending, delivery service providers cannot enter the customer’s home or they cannot enter unsupervised. This bill would not include postal workers.
If a background check reveals that a delivery driver has been found guilty of a crime related to sexual misconduct or violent crimes like murder, assault, domestic violence, or abuse, they cannot enter the customer’s home or be unsupervised when doing so.
If a company uses a third party for their delivery, they must disclose that to its customers. They must also create clear documentation about the delivery, its delivery drivers, and obtain permission from the customer to enter their home.
The bill states that if a company willfully fails to conduct background checks and/or complete the specified documentation, they have committed a third-degree felony.
If passed, this bill would go into effect on July 1, 2020.
There are a couple of crucial points in the wording of bill HB 1129. First, Rep. Mike Caruso said “[The bill] calls for level two backgrounds checks on all delivery persons who cross the threshold of your home,” in a CBS 12 article. But, the threshold of the home isn’t actually the threshold of the bill. Even if a worker does not intend to enter a customer’s home, they still must pass a background check if they’re delivering anything.
Second, if a driver has not completed a background check, or if their background check found a record of sexual or violent crimes, they cannot enter any customer’s home, no matter what, or they cannot do so unsupervised. This will add inevitable costs to delivery companies.
Lastly, a company needs to provide clear documentation of what will be delivered, who will be delivering it, who they work for, where and when they’re be delivering it, and to whom. This documentation is tricky because it requires a lot of specific information, and failing to disclose such information is just as punishable as not conducting background checks.
Whether or not HB 1129 passes, the fact will remain that there’s a safety gap among delivery companies and their drivers. Countless companies use third-parties for delivery needs, and screening drivers has slipped through the cracks before. Take this impending legislation as motivation to be proactive about your background screening process.
If your company uses delivery drivers for any part of your business, think critically about what safety measures you have in place for those drivers and the people they serve. If your drivers are your employees, you’ve likely checked their driving records. This new bill would require that you also check multi-state criminal records and sex offender registries for all of your delivery drivers, so it’s just a matter of adding additional screens to your background screening process. If you work with drivers through a third-party, check with that organization to find out what exactly their background screening process is. The more thorough, the better.
Proper documentation is a trickier transition. It requires working with third-parties, customers and delivery drivers to make sure that all three parties’ information is correct. However, once you have a good system in place for documenting this, you’ll be in good shape to reduce your liability. Regardless of the results of HB 1129, you’ll have a clean paper trail that shows exactly who was where delivering what.
If HB 1129 passes, a lot of companies will have to revise their background screening strategy. It’s crucial to find a high-quality background screening provider that will help with this transition and provide quality background screens that will cover all of your legal and logistical needs.