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The Good and Bad of Employment Background Checks

Updated on September 2, 2014
HR manager confused with making the right decisions
HR manager confused with making the right decisions | Source

Employment background checks on potential job candidates

The key factor of workplace violence or employee problems is to neglect hiring employees with a questionable past. Having said that, doing employment screening the wrong way, could be just as bad as not doing any at all. Keep in mind, it’s all about fairness. Below are some basic fundamental guidelines to follow so that you can stay off the FCRA's or EEOC's radar.

1. Verify real identification by means of matching a formal government issued ID with the job candidate. Otherwise and unsuspecting to you, you might be incorrectly searching for a buddy or family member with a clean record. In addition, there appears to be a trend wherein individuals utilize some other person's social security identification number as a way to continue collecting unemployment benefits on their very own social security.
2. Have them sign a background check consent release authorization form.
3. Make sure you do the same types of background searches on all individuals applying for the same job opening position. This means, not to perform a more comprehensive background research on one and less complex screening on another. You could get yourself in a lot of problems with the EEOC for employment discrimination based on race, age or gender.
4. If performing a criminal background check based on databases, do follow through any findings with an on-site county court criminal search.
5. If you choose to reject employment applicant based on results of the background check, you need to send them a copy of their background check report together with a copy of the FCRA's summary of consumer's rights in order to offer the potential job applicant an opportunity to dispute any mistakes.

In reality, there's a great deal more to properly and lawfully conducting background checks, but stick to these basic tips and you should be fine.

The complexity of it all

When interviewing the employment applicant, did he/she showed work skills and/or experience that would have made you hire this person on the spot? if your answer is yes and yet, you did not hire the applicant because of the findings of the background check -- you have to walk a very fine line to prove that any criminal records found are somewhat related to the type of job the applicant was offered. For example, you should not deny employment to a steel worker because he had some worthless checks issues in their past. Ask yourself, does the applicant's past implies that they are a personal with violent tendencies that may harm your staff or customers? Federal EEOC rules and many state laws prohibit the automatic elimination of a person with a criminal conviction unless the employer can show a relation of the crime to the job.

Editor's personally biased opinion

People that made bad decisions at one time or another whether due to financial circumstances or being at the wrong place at the wrong time and have proven beyond doubt that they are now rehabilitated in their ways of going about things, shouldn't be rejected arbitrarily from gainful employment. It really does not do one bit to minimize crime while at the same time, they end up back in jail after not being able to find a job. It's an identifiable pattern that continually repeats itself.

Furthermore, it's really not the moral fiber of our younger generation that is being questioned as they seek a better world. Although bad behavior is not excusable, but when a vast majority of the convicts are African-American or Hispanic, it further nominates society as a whole being partially at fault for not providing educational resources and trade learning skills for this particular group in order to further advance themselves and stay out of trouble.

In conclusion, give those who deserve a second chance an opportunity of becoming productive members of society after they have willfully demonstrated that they have paid their debt to society. Otherwise, our entire planet may just become a prison for all of us, good and bad people.


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