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In a story of short employment tenure, on April 3, 2014 the Great Falls Tribune reported the University of Great Falls (UGF) hired and fired an employee in the span of two hours. Todd Brittingham was named UGF’s sports information and marketing director on Thursday, but after the Tribune discovered his criminal history, the school terminated him.


The paper recounted, “Brittingham was convicted in 2012 in McPherson, Kan., of endangering a child and furnishing alcohol to a minor, both misdemeanors.


“He pleaded guilty to those charges in November 2011, and in exchange, four felony charges of unlawful sexual relations against him were dropped.” According to a released statement by the school, a background check on Brittingham “failed to disclose any record of criminal behavior.”


A quality background check is important for schools and companies. Your organization’s reputation is on the line, and situations such as the above one can do great harm to it. Some background screening best practices to consider:


  • Review your background screening program. Sit down with someone with experience and review your practices. Is searching one national criminal database enough? Many people believe that’s all they need to do, but in actuality there is no one national repository that houses all criminal records. Dig deeper by checking various record sources, including local records, under all names. Your background screening company should act as a trusted advisor and help you select products that will ensure your background check program is solid.
  • Don’t forget the basics. Recently, the University of South Florida was unable to hire Manhattan College’s men’s basketball coach Steve Masiello because a background check revealed he had lied on his resume (click here to read the Corporate Screening blog on this topic). Even if someone is in a senior position or is well-known, it’s prudent to check education and employment claims. A good recommendation is a place to start, but you also want to make sure that the information your future employee claims to be true is actually accurate.


Once again, it’s your institution’s reputation that’s on the line. Don’t rely on standardized background screening packages. Review your background check program with a trusted background advisor such as Corporate Screening, to make sure that it really does have you covered.