Warning: A Case Study on Background Checks on Employees

background checks on employeesHow many of you have employees that have never had a criminal background check?  Or were only required to submit to a limited criminal history search? The idea of background checks on employees usually is met with a nod of the head which means you know it is a smart idea.  But it is also often followed with a statement about it not being the right time.   Which usually means you are not quite up for the battle.

It is true that some current employees will resist a policy change that requires ongoing background checks.  Nobody likes change.  Especially a change that allows our employer to dig into our backgrounds.

However, let’s be realistic.  It is not wise to have an organization comprised of employees who have never had a background check or only a cursory screening.   Even a quality criminal record check is a historical document the moment after it is completed.  The applicant or employee could commit a crime 5 minutes later and it will not be in the report.

So yes, there may be some grumbling from employees.  All of us would agree that criminal background screening is an issue of privacy.  We get that.  We also understand that it is a necessary and legally prudent intrusion to insure a safe workplace.

This is called balance.   Applicants or employees do not have to authorize that background check.  It’s a personal choice.  An employer cannot conduct a background check without authorization.  However, the employer also does not have to hire you or continue to employ you if you refuse to submit to a background check.

The federal courts in ATM Corp. of America vs. Unemployment Board of Review upheld the termination of an employee who refused to sign an authorization for a background check.  The unemployment board further held that she was not entitled to unemployment compensation.

We have just completed a case study on a client who implemented a new policy requiring background checks on employees in September 2011.  Here is a snapshot of what we found after screening their 578 employees:

  • 42.1% hit ratio (average is 10-12%)
  • 250 felonies
  • 489 misdemeanors
  • 22 employees (including a senior manager) terminated for falsifying application (indicated they did not have a criminal record when they were hired).

This is a small case study but confirms the importance of making your background screening program an ongoing process.  Background checks are not a one-and-done process.  A lot can change over the course of 15 or 20 year career.

So how do you get started?

  • It requires a policy change based on a business necessity.
  • You must define the frequency.  Will you require a re-check every 5 years?
  • You must define how it will be implemented.  All employees?  Or begin with the most senior employees and screen a certain number per month to create an ongoing matrix.

We can providence assistance and guidance in implementing an ongoing screening program.  We have created technology to make this process simple:

  • ATS Link.  We create a link that can be placed on your website and employees (volunteers and candidates can also use) can click on link, sign an e-authorization and initiate the background check.
  • Screening Alert.  You tell us your frequency (2 yrs, 5 yrs, etc) and we place that in your account.  The system sends you a report 30 days in advance of any background checks that are up for renewal.

We also have a 30 minute recorded webinar on How Long Are Background Checks Good For.

Are you ready to take your screening program to the next level?  Contact us today.