News & Resources

EEOC tightening grip on background screening

Feb 04, 2013 Quinn Thomas

As the enterprise landscape continues to evolve at a rapid pace, especially because of younger employees and consumers entering the market, businesses have a variety of new challenges when approaching several critical functions. One of the most difficult processes in recent years has been employee background screening, as laws have changed with some consistency over the past year.

Companies need to ensure the safety of their employees and customers, as well as the security of their networks, data and infrastructure, and background screening is the first line of defense against damaging actions. Many business executives have cited background checks as the biggest challenge facing the employment segment of their companies today, and for good reason.

Finding the right labor and information
Lexology recently published a blog by Matthew Kreutzer, an executive with a labor and employment practitioner assistance firm, regarding what challenges businesses will face in 2013 regarding the on-boarding process. According to the expert, employment law issues have always been complex, and recent court decisions, mandates and legislation have made the decoding process even more difficult. 

The author said that employee handbooks should be reviewed for compliance with legislative requirements as soon as possible, as many businesses might have out-dated and potentially illegal language specifically regarding "at-will" agreements. Kreutzer added that criminal background check procedures need to be bullet-proof now more than ever before, as the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) has become more vigilant and aggressive in seeking out illegal or abusive practices of employers. 

Finally, the author asserted that retaliation charges represent the most common and widespread complains and claims filed with the EEOC today, and can lead to serious fines or hurt reputations despite the outcome of legal proceedings. Kreutzer cited that the new rules regarding when an applicant can be disqualified in accordance with criminal convictions will be the highest priorities of the EEOC this year, as 2012 was filled with the introduction of new precedence and proceedings.

Hiring the pros
The EEOC is not the only regulatory entity when it comes to background screening, but all laws listed by the agency must be met by each employer when conducting such processes. State laws and even industry-specific requirements can be even more complex, especially when trying to oblige all of the necessary legal statutes at once.

To ensure against legal proceedings and the damages therein, businesses should consider using a third-party provider of background screening processes. This will safeguard organizations from poor background screening findings and potential fines from not meeting the requirements of the law.