Roger Reagan would be alive today and enjoying the holiday season with his loved ones if Dunaway Timber Company wasn’t so negligent in their hiring practices. Dunaway Timber Company hired Morgan Quisenberry as a tractor trailer operator in September of 2008. Nineteen days after being hired, Morgan Quisenberry’s tractor trailer crossed the center line and veered head on with Reagan’s semi truck. Roger Reagan was killed instantly by the impact.

Had Dunaway Timber Company performed a simple background check on Morgan Quisenberry, they would have learned that his license was twice suspended for substance abuse (which Quisenberry lied about on his employment application). A federal court found Dunaway Timber and Morgan Quisenberry guilty of negligence and awarded Reagan’s family seven million dollars. The plaintiff’s attorney argued that “We all expect trucking companies who send truck drivers out onto the public roads to do so with professional, competent people and then make sure the company trains them and monitors them. But this was an example where a company hired someone who had no business driving a truck in the first place, and then blatantly ignored the regulations that govern the trucking industry.”

How many of these stories will it take before employers realize the importance of conducting employment background checks on all new hires? If any business wants to stay in business and avoid negligent hiring liabilities, an effective background screening policy is a must.