Let me say that if you are reading this article it is pretty safe to say that you have already answered the question. Yes, we absolutely should be conducting current employee background checks if we want to protect our organization and our assets. First, employee background checks reduce the risk of a negligent hiring lawsuit. Negligent retention is based on the expectation that an employer will closely monitor or control the actions of an employee. Pre-employment screening reduces the risk of negligent hiring but an organization must develop a policy of current employee background checks to reduce the risk of a negligent retention lawsuit.
The courts have generally sided with employers who conduct current employee background checks when the employer articulates the “business necessity” for the new policy. What does that mean? If my organization serves vulnerable populations such as children, the elderly or the disabled then our business necessity is the safety and security of the vulnerable population we serve.
Common sense tells us that a lot can change after we hire somebody. Sure, you may have a policy that requires employees to report any arrests or criminal actions but would an employee voluntarily disclose an arrest if it ultimately will impact their job? It is more likely that a current employee will weigh their options and decide if reporting is better for them and unless you are conducting on-going employee background checks or they fear the story will be reported in the local news or newspaper then there is a high probability it will not get reported.
Numerous clients have contacted us recently with reasonable suspicion of a current employee and an arrest or conviction. In each of the cases the existing employee’s background check did confirm the arrest.
A comprehensive background screening program should be viewed as an ongoing process. We have a moral and legal duty to provide a safe work environment.
What is keeping you from implementing current employee background checks?