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Background screening tips for retailers

Feb 03, 2013 Quinn Thomas

Background screening tips for retailers

Criminal background checks are a difficult ordeal, as employers need to ensure all applicants are adequately screened for potential risks while meeting compliance requirements that protect employees. In recent months, a variety of oversight agencies have increased efforts to enforce laws in place, including the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), the agency most involved with background screening legality.

Businesses have to ensure they are meeting laws outlined by the EEOC, as well as a variety of other federal and state agencies. In addition to broad requirements that cover all firms, more states are beginning to pass legislation that directly effects companies in certain industries, such as retail, healthcare and banking.

NRF issues guidance

The National Retail Federation (NRF) recently published a blog that explained some of the finer points of the EEOC's latest guidance, which was released in April of last year. According to the organization, this was a major topic of discussion at the Retail's Big Show earlier this month, as several speakers explained the ins and outs of the laws.

As the EEOC has felt that companies might be discriminating against minorities more regularly than in the past several decades, it has set out to bring companies that break the rules to justice. The NRF explained that retail executives and managers need to focus on policymaking to safeguard their companies from potential lawsuits. 

This includes establishing strong job descriptions that include every responsibility an applicant will have, creating background screening processes and protocols that are clear and in line with federal or state legislation and ensuring consistency throughout all policies. Then, the NRF suggested companies train all employees, especially those involved with the recruiting and hiring practices, in corporate policies and regulatory compliance.

Finally, the organization explained that any background screening processes that could potentially effect one group more than another need to be taken out immediately. When it comes to criminal background checks, the only information that can be used is the severity and type of the crime the applicant took part in, when applicable.

Don't go it alone
As the background screening process becomes more complex, businesses should consider employing the help of a professional firm that specializes in the checks. From criminal background checks to other screening responsibilities, these firms can help ensure legal, efficient and accurate background screening to avoid any potential issues with the law or loss of a strong new employee.