Companies are increasingly using employee background checks to verify the identities of new hires. This process has the potential to save headaches in the future, as hiring managers may be able to infer the loyalty, responsibility and values of the people who will be joining their staff.
In the past, documents including consumer credit reports
were sought after by employers when deciding if a job candidate was a good fit. Recently, however, new laws have arisen to tell employers what sort of files can and cannot be used in the decision making process. The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission decided last week to revamp the regulations regarding the consideration of criminal background checks before hiring in an effort to reduce biases, MSNBC reported. The new rules will allow employers to regard documents if the criminal charges are job-related and could adversely affect a business. The source explained the changes come after a highly publicized 2012 suit against Pepsi, in which the beverage maker was accused of using criminal records to discriminate against potential employees. The new guidelines read that "arrests are not proof of criminal conduct," and use of such files may severely damage a person's ability to gain employment, MSNBC quoted. The Associated Press reported a new feature to this legislation includes an opportunity for the individual to explain any arrests that come up during a background investigation. The source claimed this was beneficial because record can show charges that were expunged or inaccurate. While this may be good for job seekers, employers may not see the benefits. Lawyer Pamela Devata told the AP that holding discussions about the results of a background investigation could take up a lot of time and resources, without a guaranteed return. Devata also expressed worry that because of differing state and federal background check regulations, businesses may try to avoid the whole process, skipping investigating into an applicant's past, which could spell trouble for a firm. Undertaking background investigations can be very beneficial for companies. The 2011 HireRight Employment Screening Benchmarking Report found that when employers looking into the histories of applicants, 45 percent see an improvement in quality workers, while 29 percent and 26 percent saw better regulatory compliance and increased safety, respectively. MSNBC, using Society of Human Resource Management data, reported 73 percent of employers use criminal background checks while vetting potential staff members.