Perhaps you are screening a job candidate you are thinking about hiring for your business. Maybe you are a landlord who wants to do background checks on potential tenants before you approve or deny their applications. There are numerous laws that dictate what you can and cannot do in this kind of setting.
Crucially, you must obtain the consent of the person you are vetting before you move forward with the background check. Otherwise, you are failing to comply with the law. You are also disrespecting the legally-protected rights of a prospective employee or tenant. Breaches of compliance on this level can lead to legal action. The FCRA has several detailed steps and policies that employers must follow. These requirements concern everything from the consent form to the process an employer should use to notify a candidate about an adverse hiring decision. Most employers use background checks to screen all new hires.
These employers are extremely careful about following the FCRA to the letter, as failing to do so can be an extremely costly mistake. Vetting prospective employees has become one of the most popular applications for background checks. Will you be working with money or finances, confidential data, or will you need to be bonded? Credit and Financial Status: do you have a positive credit record and have you ever been bankrupt; also did you earn what you claim to have earned?
Driving Abstract: if you are applying for a job as a courier, taxi driver, truck driver or related occupations, is your driving history free of major accidents and motor vehicle offences? The service will probably start with a simple online search. So clean up your digital dirt at a minimum. Verifying the facts about you that exist for others to see, as described above, can take a bit of time and cost a few dollars.
Do not run background checks on all applicants. Instead, make your employment offers conditional on passing a background check. This will dramatically reduce the number of background checks and avoid numerous other thorny issues as well background checks often reveal other sensitive personal info that could create other grounds for suit. Only search for criminal convictions, not arrests. Arrests do not mean much so exclude them.
Consider limiting convictions to 7 to 10 years. Conduct an individualized inquiry into each case to determine the nature of the crime and how it relates to the position. For example, if an applicant is applying to be a truck driver and he has driving related offenses, you can safely exclude that applicant. Also, allow the applicant an opportunity to explain the situation.
The point is to use the criminal background information in a reasonable individualized manner instead of a broad policy of systematic exclusion. It is essential to have a consistent policy in how criminal background checks are used. If people are treated differently, the company would be open to allegations of employment discrimination. This puts employers in a conundrum because the EEOC wants companies to look at each criminal history finding on an individual basis. This makes it almost impossible to have a truly consistent policy because subjectivity will creep into the individualized inquiries.
Companies will need to document each case and explain the basis for each decision.
As long as a logical basis exists for each decision, the company should be able refute any allegations of discrimination if they arise. The EEOC is putting employers in a difficult situation with its aggressive enforcement efforts over criminal background checks.
Previous FCRA background check lawsuits have led to settlements of up to $ In , Employer Plus became the first staffing company ever to be sued for. Here are 4 risks you take if you fail to run a background check: Using a background check service like GoodHire to verify education, employer history, and The average cost of a negligent hiring lawsuit is estimated to be $1 million. And.
No perfect solution exists now. The EEOC should modify its position and issue clear realistic guidelines for companies. Background Check Photo via Shutterstock. Very good advice. Hopefully someone with a criminal record has learned their lesson and is ready to contribute to society in a meaningful way. I agree Robert Brady. But it is a tough balance for companies because they could be liable if they hire someone with known criminal propensities.
Changing their life is already difficult.
If their environment continues to put roadblocks to their success, then they are more likely to go back to their old life. I am all for change as long as the criminal has clearly learned his lesson.
Perhaps someone with a criminal record should be given a second chance to work so that he or she can go on with life as normal as possible and be financially independent. They should not be blacklisted perpetually for a bad record in the past. Let me give you an example from my past.
They argued me down and told me that I had a felony when I made an attempt to dispute! A background check can come in many shapes and sizes. Ironically, they claim that while data gathered in the workplace can also be helpful, it is often biased:. James October 17, Background checks are susceptible to errors. Instead of filing a lawsuit, the employee would submit a claim to receive payment for lost wages, medical bills, etc. Have you ever run a background check on an applicant and gotten back….
I worked in a regional bank, and we experienced a significant embezzlement from a teller. She was hired through a temporary employment agency, which was supposed to check for criminal backgrounds. They screwed up and somehow let her through.
Turns out, she had been convicted of not just one, but two theft related offenses at different times. So what did our bank do? Well, of course, we sued the agency — and got a big settlement from them. It almost put the agency out of business. The point being, when you put people in a position to have control over money, their trustworthiness is definitely an issue. The temptation is huge when you are around money everyday — the dirty little secret in banks is that one of the biggest theft challenges they have are their own employees.