News & Resources

Background screening in small business

Dec 13, 2012 Quinn Thomas

Background screening best practices have undergone significant changes over the decades, and employers now have a wider variety of responsibilities than ever before when evaluating applicants. Small businesses have to be especially cautious when carrying out background checks, as these firms often have less experience and decreased familiarity with the laws, and failure to meet all statutes could lead to legal problems. Owners who do not feel comfortable with the background screening process should seek out assistance from a firm that specializes in the statutes. It is the employer's responsibility to protect its employees and customers, as well as to defend the rights of applicants and always ensure fair screening and decision making for potential hires. Best practices summed up
Resource Nation recently listed four tips for small business owners who are in need of assistance when carrying out background checks. According to the news provider, the first step is formulating company policies regarding the action and ensuring that those rules are aligned with federal and state laws. Then, employers should consider putting these policies in writing and making them readily available for employees and applicants. These include guidance on the specifics of the background screening process for each position, as well as how the results of a check might affect the outcome of the application process. The source added that criminal histories should be considered, and any checks of applicants' records should be tight and consistent across the board to ensure the most fair and accurate decision-making. Resource Nation said that several other factors should be considered, including a verification of employment and education histories, as well as driving records for positions that involve transportation of goods or people. Finally, the news provider stressed the importance of regularly assessing and refining all background screening policies, as this will ensure that the rules in place remain pertinent to the rapidly evolving marketplace. Laws and regulations to consider
Most states have background screening laws, and many have significant differences from one another. Employers will need to look into their local government's requirements prior to building policies and conducting background checks on applicants. Other statutes to consider are the rules outlined by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, the Fair Credit Reporting Act, the Drivers Privacy Protection Act and the Americans with Disabilities Act, among other federal laws.