What should companies do about dangerous employees?

Story highlights

  • Philip Holloway: Keeping quiet about a former employee's true nature is about fear and money
  • Could death and injury be avoided if past employers were more forthcoming about a potentially violent employee?

Philip Holloway, a CNN legal analyst, is a criminal defense lawyer who heads his own firm in Cobb County, Georgia. A former prosecutor and adjunct professor of criminal justice, he is former president of the Cobb County Bar Association's criminal law section. Follow him on Twitter: @PhilHollowayEsq Megan W. Grout, who is of counsel to Holloway's law office, contributed to this article. The opinions expressed in this commentary are theirs.

(CNN)It's called passing the trash. Keeping quiet about a former employee's true nature is about fear and money.

Violent and criminally-minded employees often move from job to job without anyone raising red flags about their bad experiences with them. Employers are afraid to talk about their unpleasant experiences with the ex-employee for fear of retaliation, either physical or through litigation.
    Instead, these past employers give only the most basic information (sometimes called NRS: name, rank and serial number) to the prospective employer who calls for references. Some prior employers, no doubt, silently thinking to themselves, "Lots of luck. You're going to regret hiring him." It