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Trends in criminal background checking

Nov 05, 2013 Quinn Thomas

Trends in criminal background checking

As the economy continues to recover from the harshest conditions of the Great Recession, more businesses are expanding hiring. This has been evidenced by the consistently decreasing unemployment rate, as well as general growth in the private sector. However, this has also led to a spike in demand for background check services.

Criminal background screening procedures are highly regulated, while the enforcement protocols used to back legislation are constantly in flux. Additionally, some businesses are now beginning to make adjustments to their long-standing background checking policies.

The Huffington Post recently reported that retail giant Target has omitted criminal background screening questions on its applications for new staff members.

"Target is an industry leader in developing a nuanced criminal background check process that gives qualified applicants with a criminal history a second chance while maintaining the safety of our guests, team members and protecting our property," Target spokeswoman Molly Snyder wrote in an emailed statement to the news provider.

Snyder alluded to the two most critical aspects of background screening: safety and compliance. Businesses cannot infringe upon a variety of constitutional rights when going through the hiring process, but are also tasked with maintaining a safe and comfortable work environment for other employees and clientele.

According to the source, Target made this change in time for an adjustment made by officials in Minnesota, the state in which Target is headquartered, which is set to take effect in 2014 and outlaw criminal background questions on initial applications. Employers in the state will only be able to ask such questions after deciding to bring the applicant in for an interview.

Companies need to be especially careful when hiring a large number of applicants all at once, as each individual's rights must be upheld. Many businesses and other organizations benefit from outsourcing the background screening process to a firm that specializes in the activities.