In today’s very litigious society, as an employer you open yourself and your company up to an endless number of risks that could damage your business, your reputation and your bank account. That’s because when you are an employer, you are substantially responsible for your employees’ behaviors while on the job. So, if they harm another employee, a customer, a vendor, or a member of the general public while on the job, it’s your company (and possibly you personally) who can be held responsible. Similarly, if they defraud your company, embezzle, steal customers or damage company property, it’s your company that pays the price. That’s why effective and properly conducted Pre-Employment Background Checks can help you mitigate your hiring risks.
What Pre-Employment Background Checks Can and Cannot Do
As much as we would all wish to the contrary, Pre-Employment Background Checks cannot guarantee an employee’s future performance, good or bad. People can and do change over time: Gambling problems, substance abuse, marital relations, family issues, financial stress and other personal and environmental issues can all cause someone to act in unpredictable and inconsistent ways. Prior history can also be an indicator — but not a guarantee — of future poor behavior, but only if it is reported.
In 2016, a doctor for the US Women’s Gymnastics Team was found to be molesting his young patients. No background check would have revealed his future criminal behavior because no prior incidents had ever been reported about him in the past. But in most cases, you can mitigate your hiring risks with background checks.
Mitigating Hiring Risks Means More Than Criminal Background Checks
Many of our new clients are under the impression that Pre-Employment Background Checks are little more than criminal background checks, but that’s only the beginning of what you need to know. That’s because not all bad behavior rises to the level of a crime, and even when it does, it’s not always reported, prosecuted or convicted. Many issues result in other kinds of negative consequences:
- Suspension of a Professional License
- Permanent Loss of a Professional License
- Disciplinary Actions
- Lapses in License Renewals
- Lapses in Employment
Our background checks, which are customized to the employer, position and sometimes the candidate, can reveal such issues and help mitigate your hiring risks. For example, if you are hiring delivery drivers, bus drivers, or even caregivers, a DMV check can reveal a poor driving record that makes a candidate unsuitable for their intended position. That said, the same driving record may not be an issue if you’re hiring a bookkeeper, manager or on-site maintenance staff.
Other types of information, including personal references and social media profiles and history can paint a picture of either a very desirable or undesirable employee.
The Trouble With Employment Verifications
Speaking with prior employers about a former employee’s performance also sounds like the right thing to do in order to determine how that candidate will perform in the future. However, if an untrained representative of your company makes that call, there is a good chance that representative may unintentionally violate several Federal laws. That’s because the FTC, the FCRA and the EEOC regulate not only what a prospective employer may ask, but also how the former employer may answer and what the prospective employer does with that information. That makes finding out someone’s true employment history more challenging than it ought to be.
Background check companies like Background Runner must abide by the Fair Credit Reporting Act (the FCRA) and have extensive education and training on how to acquire background information without violating applicable laws. Some of those laws define what can be done with the information that is collected in order to prevent illegal discrimination. If these procedures are not followed by prospective employers or the background check companies they hire, the employer may have mitigated its employment risk at the expense of finding itself in the middle of a Federal discrimination lawsuit.
Consequences Of Not Running Pre-Employment Background Checks
A January 2021 news report in the Wichita Eagle is one of hundreds of similar stories every year that demonstrate the danger of not conducting Pre-Employment Background Checks. A 68-year old dementia patient was a resident in an assisted living facility. For five months this female patient endured sexual assaults by a nursing assistant. The patient later died, and the patient’s daughter filed a wrongful death lawsuit against the care facility for not conducting a background check.
The lawsuit alleges that had the company completed a thorough timely background check, they would not have hired the employee. Why? Because in the employee’s history was a 2005 rape allegation, a 2006 sexual battery conviction, a 2008 decision by the Kansas Board of Healing Arts that restricted the employee’s solo contact with female patients, and much more. The lawsuit asked for $1.5 million in damages, every penny of which may have been avoided had the company conducted a pre-employment background check.
Mitigate Your Hiring Risks With Background Runner
Do you know who you are hiring? There’s a good chance you don’t know your candidates as well as you ought to. And there’s also a very good chance you don’t know how to get the information you need without violating certain anti-discrimination laws. Let Background Runner help you mitigate your hiring risks with background checks custom-designed for your company. Get Started today, or call us at 800-322-2850.