News & Resources

Well-planned background checks may be performed as regular policy

Dec 03, 2012 Quinn Thomas

Employers who want to protect themselves from financial risks, compromised security and a myriad of other workplace problems may consider doing employee background checks on an ongoing basis. Instead of restricting background reviews just to new hires, a company should recognize that their current staffers are undergoing changes in their lives that could impact the work environment. With affordable background screening services, finding out whether there are circumstances that could impair the safety or stability of a business place is worth every penny. In the past, background screenings either weren't used or may not have been extensive enough in comparison to today's standards. Employers would benefit from periodically reviewing their background check policies. For workers who have been on the job for 20 years or longer, the same components of a pre-employment check may not apply or tell the whole story. Screening services can be customized to fit the profile of workers undergoing background checks and the company's specific security needs. Criminal background checks are capturing only what occurred up through the completion of the review. For the most up-to-date information on employees, companies need to consider a time frame by which they will update background information, perhaps tying it to when a worker's annual job performance evaluation is done annually. Role of consent
Under the federal Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) - which regulates criminal, credit and driving record screenings - periodic checks can only be done when the employee consents except in cases when a question of misconduct or wrongdoing is being investigated. Consent forms are frequently written in such a way that they remain valid indefinitely unless the worker revokes it in writing. In some states, including California, a new consent form is required of an staffer every time a background check takes place, the reports. Businesses also need to take into consideration what they will do if an employee refuses to consent to a background check. Any company policy regarding periodic background screenings needs to outline specifically what actions will be taken if a criminal record is uncovered. The nature and seriousness of the offense and how it may relate to the job being performed by the individuals must be considered as well as any FCRA requirements that apply to such cases. HRToolbox recommends that companies approach background screening carefully with legal or expert help to write a policy that benefits the business place without compromising the rights of the workers.