Jun 10, 2013 Quinn Thomas
In recent years, employee background checks have come under scrutiny, as officials work to establish the best practices associated with balancing security and civil rights. Businesses need to make sure that they are creating a safe workplace for both employees and clients, though administrators cannot use certain information pertaining to an applicant's history.
By following the laws associated with background checking procedures, as well as industry-recognized best practices, enterprises can avoid harmful litigation and sustain a manageable working environment. State and federal officials continue to roll out new legislation related to background screening, and employers must keep up with these changes to ensure all policies are aligned with compliance requirements.
Dangers of not knowing the law
Bricker and Eckler LLP recently explained how one company failed to meet the new criminal background check regulations released in Ohio. The state's Department of Aging, in conjunction with the Ohio Department of Jobs and Family Services and the Ohio Department of Health, released new guidelines related to criminal background checks for assisted living service providers which went into effect on the first of the year.
According to the news provider, the employer had discovered that one applicant had a been convicted of a criminal offense through a background screening procedure, but was not aware that the new legislation prohibited him or her from hiring the person in question. As a result, the business was at risk of being the subject of an investigation and potential subsequent fines levied by the state.
The source listed several components of the new law in Ohio which all employers should know, including the 127 disqualifying criminal offenses that are now listed. Employees who are already working at firms that provide assisted living services need to be checked for criminal histories dating back five years.
Additionally, Brick and Eckler LLP noted that there is now a database check requirement for all organizations in this industry.
Hiring professionals when in doubt
Assisted living facilities have been subjected to new background screening legislation in several states, including New York. Organizations in this industry that do not feel entirely confident with background screening best practices and regulations should consider outsourcing the task to a firm that specializes in the procedures.
This will often streamline the effort, decreasing the amount of time it takes to get results while avoiding fines, sanctions and other penalties that come from unlawful screening practices.