By Brian McElwee
As a provider of payroll and/or HR-related services, it is important to communicate with prospective and existing clients alike that background checks and other forms of pre-employment screening are designed and employed to:
- Identify the best qualified candidate for the position being filled
- Develop and maintain an environment that is safe for employees and customers
- Minimize turnover and costs related to unsuccessful hirings
- Reduce the company’s exposure to negligent hiring or retention law suits
Background Checks have been proven over and over again to be an effective and cost-efficient component of the hiring process, as long as an employer’s use and procedures in obtaining the information is done in a compliant manner. In fact, a report conducted by the International Public Management Association for Human Resources, found that employers lost more than 70 percent of all negligent hiring cases, which equates to millions of dollars lost each year by employers that fail to run routine background checks and employment eligibility verifications.
To assist with employer compliance when using a background check as part of the screening process, you’ll want to ensure clients:
- Have a written policy for their background screening program – and follow it.
- Obtain a signed authorization and release from each candidate and/or employee. You or your background check vendor should be able to provide a standard form.
- Know their responsibilities as an employer. A background check is a consumer report, so employers have certain requirements under the Fair Credit Reporting Act (Notice to Users of Consumer Reports) as well as state regulations that need to be followed.
- Consider adverse information on a per-candidate basis. Policies that automatically disqualify a candidate or employee are strongly discouraged. With regard to criminal history, consideration must be given to the relevancy between the crime and the position being filled, the particular facts surrounding the offense, time elapsed since the offense or release, rehabilitation programs, and other factors.
- Provide candidates or employees with a Pre-Adverse Action Notice, a copy of the report and a Summary of Rights if adverse action will be taken based on the background check results. Unless disputed, an Adverse Action Notice must follow.
By working with a reputable background screening vendor, you can help clients ensure the proper searches are being conducted and reported to their organization in a compliant manner. Using that information properly in conjunction with other screening tools will help reduce your clients’ level of risk, and develop their human assets in an honest and safe environment.