Employment Background Checks Protect Employers and the Workplace

Posted by in Recruiting, Hiring and Retention | Comments Off on Employment Background Checks Protect Employers and the Workplace

Employment background checks are no longer the exception at many companies, even small businesses, with fewer than 100 employees. They are just as vulnerable to the same problems, or even threats, as the largest corporations that could result in unknowingly hiring someone who could cause more harm than good. One of the most important reasons for screening potential employees with background checks is that if someone is hired with a record of violent behavior, for example, and attacks another employee, then the employer may face what is called a negligent hiring lawsuit. The employee/victim could sue the employer for hiring a violent person, even if the employer had no knowledge of that violent background, and endangering everyone in the workplace.

Employment background checks have also been added to the hiring process at many companies because of potential terrorists. These don’t have to be persons from other countries that violently disagree with western politics, culture or capitalism. For most companies, “terrorists” are more likely to be someone that has a grudge against the company and surreptitiously tries to become an employee to retaliate; or someone could be angry with a spouse and stalks him or her to the workplace and perpetrates domestic violence. Employment background checks can also be a useful tool to reduce the number of supposedly qualified candidates that are hired, and then quickly fired because their resumes or statements inflate their true skills.

Employment background checks, as regulated by the government, also have additional implications for employers and employees. These checks are not required of all employees by law, except when potential employees will be interacting with children, the sick and elderly. Employers should ask their attorneys for details about federal and state laws that may affect their background check policies. Some employers have the staff and prefer to conduct employment background checks internally, while others will use third-party vendors that are skilled and equipped to provide those services.

Many small-business employers will find it easier and less costly to pay a fee to an outside agency, rather than spend the time and money to plan, implement and manage an internal process. Those outside agencies are bound by the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) (and state-specific regulations), which states that not all information discovered during background checks can be shared with employers. For examples, bankruptcies more than 10 years old can’t be reported, nor civil suits and arrest records more than seven years old. A third-party employment background check company is also required by law to obtain permission from the candidate to conduct the check and provide him or her with a copy.

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