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Know the best practices of background checks

Aug 31, 2013 Quinn Thomas

Criminal background screening has been a hot topic among employers, regulators and job seekers in recent years, especially as more companies look to fill in the gaps left during the Great Recession. Now, parties like the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission are starting to undergo extreme scrutiny for several new policies and the ways in which rules have been implemented.

For these reasons and more, many organizations will benefit from outsourcing the processes associated with background checks to firms that specialize in the procedures. This will help avoid damaging sanctions and potential incurred financial losses from fines, all the while expediting the approval process and ensuring that talented individuals are hired in a timely fashion.

A million voices
Seyfarth Shaw LLP recently reported that the EEOC started aggressively enforcing its Enforcement Guidance that was released on April 25, 2012, leading many businesses, state legislatures and other regulators to speak out against the processes. The program has been cited as potentially assisting criminals unnecessarily, while also costing companies more money in the process.

According to the firm, the administrative process by which the new rules and guidelines were passed is in question, with the House of Representatives even stepping in to ensure its legality. One of the biggest issues was how quickly the rules were passed, and the fact that the EEOC did not allow any time for public comments and other recourse before making it law.

The source stated that it has become increasingly clear that the EEOC's latest enforcement procedures are in juxtaposition to standing state and federal laws. This means that an employer runs the risk of getting sued by one or more parties no matter what the employer does. Some experts are calling the conditions facing businesses that are going through the hiring process a legal minefield, in which no steps are truly correct.

Seyfarth Shaw LLP suggested revising employment applications, interview procedures and overall on-boarding processes, reviewing job descriptions, not conducting screening procedures until after an interview and ensuring that all human resources professionals are prepared for the new laws. While there has been a great deal of pushback against the EEOC from parties that are very likely to make a difference, employers will still need to navigate the process in the interim.

When in doubt, source it out
Businesses that have been operating for decades know some of the difficulties that come along with background screening and the on-boarding process at large. Smaller, newer companies might have not yet experienced the challenges to the same degree, and will also not be likely to have full HR departments that specialize in these procedures.

Some firms will even forget that certain industries have specific guidelines in place.

Between the laws in place, the need to maintain a safe and productive working environment, timeliness of turnarounds on screening processes and more, the overall strategy can be a dangerous and consuming ordeal. However, organizations can outsource the entirety of background checking responsibilities to avoid all of these issues.