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The Daily Tar Heel

Aramark Institutes Background Checks

The decision comes on the heels of a new University policy requiring background checks for all new staff and administration it hires.

Mike Freeman, an auxiliary services administrator, said Aramark Corp. -- the company that CDS contracted with this summer -- decided to run background checks after two employees at CDS facilities were arrested on felony charges last month. Since then, two more employees have been arrested for violent acts.

Freeman said the company implemented background checks on all University applicants Sept. 12 at the request of UNC officials.

"(Aramark) is now running an in-state background check on applicants for any management or crew position," he said.

Freeman said Aramark would also run an out-of-state background check if an applicant has been a resident of another state within the last year.

In August, one employee was arrested when outstanding warrants for his arrest in New Jersey were discovered.

Another CDS employee was arrested in August for bringing a gun to Lenoir Dining Hall. A CDS employee also was taken into custody and released Sunday after allegedly assaulting a coworker.

But Freeman said these particular incidents would not necessarily have been prevented by background checks because it was not clear how long the worker had been out of New Jersey, as well as the fact that the employee who brought a gun to Lenoir was hired by Sodexho-Marriott, the company UNC contracted with before Aramark.

Freeman said about 98 percent of all CDS employees were hired by Marriott. When Aramark replaced Marriott, it retained nearly all of the hourly wage workers.

Last week, there were three separate physical altercations between CDS employees -- incidents that prompted the move to institute background checks.

Police reports state that on Sept. 17 one employee approached another with clenched fists. When a supervisor moved between them, the employee reached for a paring knife. No one was hurt.

The following Wednesday, reports state that an employee shoved her supervisor in the face after being told her hours were being cut.

Evan Klingman, director of dining services for Aramark, said anyone applying to work for Aramark will have to sign a release authorizing the company to run a background check that includes both criminal and credit history.

The background checks, which will be done by an independent company, will take 24 hours. An applicant will be hired only if the check comes back clear.

"Aramark has been proactive," said Ira Simon, a CDS administrator. "They are not required by contract (to perform background checks) but decided to do so because they saw the need."

The University Editor can be reached at udesk@unc.edu.

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