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EEOC tightens grip on employment firms

Feb 04, 2013 Quinn Thomas

EEOC tightens grip on employment firms

Background screening processes and regulations have changed dramatically in recent years, as more federal and state entities have gotten involved with the creation and enforcement of associated activities. Companies that fail to meet all of the requirements as outlined by applicable laws could face serious financial losses stemming from fines and hurt reputations.

On top of this, many mistakes in the background checking process can lead to a loss of human capital, as strong applicants might be unnecessarily turned away from inaccuracies in the screening process. Companies should always formulate strong, legal policies pertaining to background checks and train all employees involved in recruitment and on-boarding in these guidelines.

EEOC on the move again

The Grand Rapids Business Journal recently reported that the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) has started to conduct more thorough assessments of corporate on-boarding processes. The newest guidance indicated that the EEOC will be seeking out employers who use blanket processes for all applicants, rather than conducting customized and targeted background screening actions on an individual basis.

According to the news provider, the EEOC has had similar guidelines in place for decades, but the newest move, which took place in 2012, was to ensure that companies are completely clear on what is and what is not allowed in the screening process. The agency is currently stressing the dangers of one-size-fits-all approaches to the background check.

"Their enforcement position hasn't changed," Donald Lawless, a partner with law firm Barnes and Thornburg, told the Grand Rapids Business Journal. "I think 10 years ago they probably would have told you the same concerns that they had about criminal background checks, but they know by issuing these detailed guidelines, they are going to get broader compliance with their enforcement position."

Finally, the news provider explained that the new guidelines are believed to be the direct result of increasingly poor screening processes that view minorities in a less preferable light than the rest of the population.

Outsourcing might be best
Companies, especially small businesses, that do not understand all of the laws in place regarding criminal background checks should consider outsourcing the associated tasks to professionals who specialize in the activities. The amount of potential issues that could occur during a poor background screening process is high and includes fines, lost talent and damaged public relations.

By outsourcing the tasks to a professional firm, companies can ensure they are hiring applicants who fit the necessary criteria while avoiding unlawful actions altogether.