Why You Need Criminal Background Checks on Employees in California
One of the most common reasons for criminal background checks in California, is an increase in the number of lawsuits being faced by employers for negligence in taking on someone who ends up being violent in the workplace, assaulting a co-worker or damaging property. This exposes you to large compensation packages and settlements, so it makes sense to get a criminal record check done on potential employees so protect yourself from any liabilities.
Here are some points to keep in mind when conducting employee background checks:
As an employer you need to consider all aspects of the applicant, including their education, their employment, criminal and driving history, their use of social media and more. If you just target a specific point, you could miss out on a potentially great employee. And if you use any criminal records they may have against them, whatever the charge and when it happened, you could find yourself in trouble with the Equal Employment Opportunities Commission.
Avoid a question on your application form which asks job seekers if they have a criminal record. This can slightly off-putting to candidates, because they don't know the limits you have set out as criminal behavior. Instead, you could interview everyone up front and run a background check later.
Make sure that the application processes are the same for all candidates to avoid any discrimination charges. If there are two people applying for the same post or designation, they treated equally and the same background checks should done on them.
Should something come up in the background check, it is always better to physically interview the candidate and make your reservations known up front. This way, any misconceptions can explain and cleared up.
When conducting the background checks make sure that you follow the letter of the law. California has some stringent rules on how far back you can delve into criminal records. You could so easily be tempted to look up things you are not supposed but these checks differ according to local, state and federal laws, and are even job-specific. You will also need to get the applicant to agree to being subjected to the screening. This entails getting a legal release from the candidates, informing them of their rights, disclosing the contents of the report, and reasons (if it comes to that) why they were not hired.
Many employers use social media platforms to check up on potential employees, but there is only so much information you can find on the internet. Real fact and figures can only be found by a professional who licensed to do background checks. So hire a background check company which experienced and means to get you a report that will be factual and complete.
What you, as the employer, ask for in a criminal background check depends on your needs, and the place for which the job seeker is applying. If your company based out of California, you cannot dig into reports on convictions or crimes committed going back seven years or more. As an employer, you obviously feel you have the right to know exactly what kind of person you are hiring but, at the end of the day, a good background check by a reputed screening firm will help you cut down on employee problems and legal issues.
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Nenita Reyes is Vise President and author of Private Eyes Inc. She writes independently about Criminal records, criminal background checks for this company.