Employers rely on background checks to uncover information that could put employees, customers, and businesses at risk. These verifications usually include a criminal search of federal and state records, sex offender registries, and terrorism watch lists.
Ideally, these searches are conducted after a candidate has received a conditional job offer. However, a bad hire can cost any business big.
They Attest to One’s Character
A criminal background check will reveal an applicant’s court records, including felony and misdemeanor convictions and open criminal cases. Criminal checks also examine an applicant’s fingerprints and other biometric data to verify identity.
A bad hire can cost a company to lose productivity and decrease team morale and customer relations. It can also have serious legal consequences and damage to your brand reputation. That’s why it’s essential to have a comprehensive, best-practice criminal screening process in place for your new hires.
While some employers might believe all candidates should have their criminal histories checked, this isn’t necessarily true. Whether it’s due to federal, state, or local laws or the requirements of a specific job, criminal history checks should be tailored to the position at hand.
Using a CRA, that is committed to FCRA compliance, will help you customize your criminal checks to meet your organization’s and the law’s requirements. For example, if you’re hiring for a sensitive role that requires a high level of trust, consider an additional FBI national database search.
During the screening process, an employer will usually search county court records, states where the candidate has lived, and nationally to get the complete picture of their criminal history. However, some records will not be reported, such as cases that resulted in a deferral or diversion program or arrests that were dismissed.
They Help You Comply with ‘Ban-the-Box’ Legislation
The sweeping “Ban the Box” movement and related Fair Chance hiring laws have gained momentum across many states and localities. These laws typically restrict when a company can ask about an applicant’s criminal history on a job application. Many also specify how an employer must proceed if they discover that an applicant has a criminal record, such as by requiring them to go through a second background check after making a conditional offer of employment.
A criminal history background check is a vital tool for companies to reduce risk and protect staff, customers, and property by uncovering individuals with dangerous convictions on their records. However, the complexity of criminal records searches can be challenging for employers to navigate – especially when complying with federal, state, and local ban-the-box laws.
Generally speaking, criminal record checks require multiple types of searches to reveal all relevant information regarding an individual’s past misdeeds. These searches may include U.S. district and appellate courts (search by charge, disposition, aliases used), state court searches, and local police and law enforcement databases. In addition, some background checks may also include searches of sex offender registries and terrorism watch lists. As such, it is critical that your background screening partner can provide you with a single point of contact and manage all of your record searches to ensure you’re always compliant.
They Can Mitigate Legal Risks
Criminal records searches are critical to most employers’ candidate background screening protocols. It’s worth noting that a background check can uncover more than just criminal history and convictions. A criminal history search can also reveal pending charges, arrests, civil judgments, and bankruptcy proceedings.
While these results don’t necessarily guarantee that a job applicant will be hired, they are often a red flag. It is worth noting that the EEOC warns employers against using a job applicant’s pending record to make a hiring decision. Civil records, such as tax liens and bankruptcy proceedings, can also impact your hiring decisions. Still, they cannot be used to discriminate against job applicants based on their age, gender, sexual orientation, religious beliefs, or national origin.
In addition, some industries may require that an employee not have specific criminal records. For example, financial jobs should never hire people with a criminal background involving fraud or data loss, and people should not fill positions with fiduciary responsibility for others’ money or private information with a history of embezzlement. A thorough criminal background check can help mitigate these risks and protect your organization and employees. This is especially true for companies with physical locations or that serve vulnerable populations, such as children or elderly adults.
They Can Help You Avoid Negative Publicity
Criminal records can provide useful information about an applicant’s character and background. They can also help employers mitigate the risk of hiring employees who could commit crimes. This could include theft, property damage, or other violations of company policy that result in financial losses and potential lawsuits for negligent hiring.
By using a full suite of criminal checks, including searches of the National Repository of Criminal Records, local police information, and the Pardoned Sex Offender Database, Many employers are biased against ex-offenders, even though this bias is often unconscious. This can make it difficult to hire qualified candidates, particularly in positions that require trust or involve managing vulnerable people. For this reason, a background check should be used as part of the recruitment process and not as a condition of employment. This can ensure that only those who meet the requirements for the role are hired. It can also help to avoid discrimination claims and penalties from federal agencies, such as the Equal Opportunity Commission (EEOC).