Conducting background checks on potential employees is a major part of the business process. Whether you’re new to employment screening or already have a program in place to run background checks on candidates, it’s important to create and implement a screening process that’s right for your business.
When hiring new employees, you want as much information as possible to make smart decisions. But there’s a caveat. Employees have rights in certain areas, and it’s a right they can enforce with legal charges if background checks are not conducted within the laws that govern employment screening. Become familiar with the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA). Regulated by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), the FCRA gives the employer and applicant a fair method for processing reports for employment screening. All reports compiled and received by employers are subject to the laws of the FCRA.
If information should surface that an employee is unfit for the job, businesses can be held liable for negligent hiring. Negligent hiring is based on the premise that employers have an obligation to protect employees and clients from harm or injury (or “foreseeable” acts) caused by an employee. If a company fails to conduct a background check prior to hiring and an employee commits an unspeakable act, the employer assumes the liability for the employee’s actions. This is why employers should conduct background checks on every new hire, regardless of business size.
When implementing your background screening program, here are a few guidelines to remember:
- Create a written background check policy specifically for your business.
- Follow all FCRA guidelines and federal, state and local regulations.
- Use a combination of screening products and develop job-specific searches.
- Establish criteria to evaluate information – what will constitute disqualifying information.
- Eliminate subjective opinions to ensure consistency when reviewing results.
Employment screening is a first line of defense in protecting employees and company assets. Your business wants to receive a return on your investment and mitigate potential legal and financial exposures. While the scope and method of employment screening can differ between businesses, the purpose remains the same, to hire the most qualified candidates.