Best Practices in Employee Background Checks

Author: Michael D. Haberman - SPHR
It is vital that every employer do a background check on the employees before appointing. Background checks would help avoid hiring employees with criminal records, who could become a hindrance to the organization's future growth. The general employer's best practices could be to eliminate policies or practices that exclude people from employment based on any criminal record, hiring officials, train managers and decision makers about Title VII and its prohibition on employment discrimination.
1. Develop a Policy
Develop a narrowly tailored written policy and procedure for screening applicants and employees for criminal conduct. Identify essential job requirements and the actual circumstances under which the jobs have been performed. Verify the specific offenses that may demonstrate unfitness for performing the jobs. Scrutinize the criminal offenses based on all available evidence. Determine the exclusion duration for criminal conduct based on all available evidence. Record the explanation for the policy and procedures. Make a record of consultations and research considered in crafting the policy and procedures. Train managers, hiring officials, and decision makers on how to implement the policy and procedures consistent with Title VII. When asking questions about criminal records, limit all inquiries to records for which exclusion would be job related for the position in question and consistent with business necessity. Keep information about applicants' and criminal records of employees confidential. Use it only for the purpose for which it was intended.
2. Ban the Box
Ban the box refers to a requirement to remove the box from employment applications asking an applicant whether he or she has ever been convicted of a crime, thereby reducing the disparate impact which could result from making hiring decisions solely on arrest or conviction records, which are skewed against minority candidates who often have a higher arrest and conviction rate than non-minorities.
3.Fair Credit Reporting Act
Any employer who uses a third party reference checking services must abide by the requirements of the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA). FCRA includes pre-adverse action notification and post adverse action notification.
4.Pre-adverse Action Notification
The first part of the two-step process defined by the FCRA is the pre-adverse action notification. Pre-adverse action notification includes: The name, address, and telephone number of the background screening company that assembled the report. The fact that the background checking firm did not make any adverse decision, and cannot justify why the decision was made. His/her right to a free file disclosure if a request is made to the screening firm within 60 days. His/her right to contact the screening company directly to dispute inaccurate or incomplete information on the report. Once the pre-adverse notice is dispersed, leave the consumer 5 days to contact the screening firm to dispute the report. After 5 days, if you do not hear from either the consumer or the background check provider, proceed with your final employment decision. However, if the consumer disputes information on the report, the screening firm will perform a reinvestigation that must be completed within 30 days at no cost to the consumer. The screening company must update you and the consumer of the reinvestigation results.
5.Post Adverse Action
If and when making a final adverse decision, you must send the consumer a final adverse notice that is post adverse action.

Please submit the form

what would you like to do?