Pre-Employment Background Checks and Safety

14 Jul

Does your company conduct background checks on candidates you are considering to add as new employees? Have you considered the safety reasons to do so?

At a time when the Federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission has recently issued “Enforcement Guidelines for Arrest and Conviction Records in Employment”, many employers are rethinking the use of criminal background checks as part of their hiring process.

There are 4 main areas of concern which should cause an employer to use criminal background checks on new hires:

  1. Truthfulness- has an applicant been truthful on their employment application? (Did the applicant accurately answer questions about criminal record?)
  2. Safety – for employees and customers – is there concern about any history of violence, abuse, harassment or similar activities?
  3. Protection of property – any history showing dishonesty such as fraud, theft, or similar activities?
  4. Functioning of the business – is there history of alcohol or drug abuse or dealing, or other activities which could suggest inability to attend work or care for company property or customers?

With these concerns in mind, when assessing an applicant’s criminal record, an employer should consider: Convictions (Felonies only); How Recent the record (disregard actions which took place many years earlier as not an indication of current conduct); and Relevance of Activities to Company Operations. (did the history affect truthfulness, safety, protection of property or functioning of the business?)

If the record is deemed to tentatively prevent hiring an applicant or promoting a candidate for a positions, based on these factors:

  1. Give notice to the individual that he has been screened out because of a criminal conviction
  2. Give an opportunity for the individual to demonstrate that the exclusion should not be applied due to his particular circumstances or that your information is incorrect (the applicant should be given a copy of your report and instructed to contact the firm originating the report to obtain a correction)
  3. Consider whether the additional information provided by the individual warrants an exception to the exclusion showing that the policy as applied is related and consistent with business necessity

Visit www.DonDresslerConsulting.com to learn more about this and similar topics.

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