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Increase in employee theft shows the need for background screening

Jul 25, 2013 Quinn Thomas

Over the last few years, increased regulations at state and federal levels have forced many businesses to avoid conducting background screening for job candidates. Many fear that they could make mistakes when scrutinizing consumer credit reports or criminal histories that could result in litigation. However, new data showing that employee theft is on the rise may indicate how useful proper background screening can be.

According to its 25th Annual Retail Theft Survey, Hayes International found that employee theft increased last year among 23 major retail respondents that account for more than 18,900 stores in the United States.

The source reported that 71,095 workers were apprehended for shoplifting in 2012 which was a 5.5 percent spike from the previous year. That accounts for one in every 40 retail staff members.

One of the biggest concerns with employee theft is that workers tend to steal much more than average shoplifters, perhaps due to their easy access to goods. Hayes noted that employees take 5.5 times the value of typical thieves.

Although many employers are opting to forgo pre-employment background checks, new workers are the ones that need to be investigated thoroughly. Business News Daily reported that new and part-time staff members are much more likely to steal from a company than tenured workers. The source also reported that a lack of screening is one of the factors that has led to the increase in employee theft.

The detriments that businesses face when violating screening laws can lead to long legal battles that are costly, even if an employer comes out on top. However, failing to complete a proper audit has its pitfalls, as the Hayes data shows. By outsourcing the screening process to a third party, companies can ensure that they are in compliance with all laws. Such enterprises provide comprehensive screening services conducted by highly trained professionals.