Deep Background

Failing to properly vet prospective employees can endanger the workforce

A Texas jury awarded a $1.2-million verdict against a metal-fabrication company after one of its employees shot and killed another employee on the job, despite other workers’ warnings about the shooter, according to court documents.

Shot at the jobsite

Jacob Matthew Cadriel had served two tours of duty in Iraq and Afghanistan before taking a job at Woven Metal Products, according to news coverage of the case. In 2015, he was shot at the jobsite by co-worker Steven Damien Young (who later was sentenced to 45 years in prison after pleading guilty to murdering Cadriel).

Cadriel’s widow then filed a lawsuit against the company for allegedly creating an unsafe workplace. Young had had a previous arrest for unlawful carrying of a weapon, and at the time of the shooting he was facing a charge of making a terroristic threat, according to court records.

No criminal record check

But the company never performed a background screening or a criminal record check on Young, testimony at the trial showed, according to news accounts. Co-workers warned company managers that Young had a number of confrontations with people at the jobsite, and that he acted bizarrely.

On a previous work shift on the day of the shooting, Young had tried to fight another worker. The company had begun the process of firing Young but hadn’t finished the process, according to a statement by attorneys representing the widow.

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