May 07, 2013 Quinn Thomas
Recent events have brought background screening to the forefront of many conversations in Washington and among business owners. Corporate background checks are an essential component of the on-boarding process, while the requirements of these actions are often complex and can be confusing to the average executive or manager.
For example, businesses need to walk the line between comprehension and compliance, ensuring that all critical areas of an applicant's history are covered without finding too much information. The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, as well as a variety of state-level agencies and advocacy groups, conduct oversight examinations to ensure that employers are not illegally denying applicants.
Businesses need to ensure that they are following the federal and state laws in place regarding background screening, as well as any and all industry-specific best practices, to avoid damaging sanctions, fines and other legal proceedings. When in doubt, hiring a firm that specializes in the background check process is recommended.
Lack of screening requirements for internet cafes
Different industries have varied compliance requirements when it comes to the background screening process, as the specifications of certain jobs will dictate more thorough checks than others. The Tampa Bay Times recently reported that internet cafe operators are not required to conduct background checks on employees, nor do the owners have to undergo screening procedures to open their establishments.
According to the news provider, lawmakers in Florida are concerned that existing statutes related to background screening for internet sweepstakes cafes - which were specifically geared toward events like McDonald's Monopoly game - might be viewed as loopholes for threatening forces. For example, some officials in the state feel as though internet cafe operators are using the law to facilitate illegal gambling houses.
The source explained that this has not been an easy decision to make for lawmakers, as advocates of the industry have stressed the job-creating power that comes along with these companies. However, The Tampa Bay Times noted that many of the investigated employees of such establishments have serious and long criminal histories.
Georgia looks to pass screening bill for child care
The Associated Press recently explained that officials in Georgia passed a piece of legislation that demands more comprehensive background screening of child care professionals. According to the source, the General Assembly is waiting for Governor Nathan Deal to sign the bill into law, and it will require all employees at licensed child care facilities to go through a fingerprint-based background check.
The AP explained that organizations will have plenty of time to comply with the bill, as regulators have decided on a Jan. 1, 2014, deadline for the compliance checks. Officials believe that this is a highly necessary step for the state, as felony convicts have been found to be employed at several preschools and child care centers in Georgia.
"This is a public safety issue," Rep. Allen Peake told the AP. "I have a granddaughter in a day care center. I sure want to know that when she is dropped off at that day care center, that there is not someone there with some type of felony on their record from another state. Here are children, who in some cases can't verbalize whether they have been abused or not. We need to go to every length possible to ensure that those who are taking care of these children are safe and competent individuals."
Ensuring compliance and safety
Business owners need to ensure that background screening policies are aligned with federal and state compliance requirements, while maintaining best practices as dictated by each specific industry. Outsourcing the tasks to a firm that specializes in the process of background screening can decrease turn-around times, improve accuracy and ensure legality, strengthening the overall on-boarding process.