Is an employee’s past behavior the best predictor of their future?
Your answer to this question may determine the importance you place on the employee criminal background checks as a factor in your hiring decision. Regardless of your personal beliefs about the value of a criminal background check, employers most certainly do carry a responsibility to take reasonable measures to create a safe workplace and workforce. As such, many employers choose pre employment screening and criminal background checks as a way to assess an individual’s past and predict how certain past behaviors may impact future job-related safety and performance.
Criminal background checks are a widely accepted practice of employers for a number of reasons:
- To establish the “duty of reasonable care” imposed upon them by the Negligent Hiring Doctrine.
- To comply with applicable local, state, or federal requirements to conduct criminal background screening.
- To predict how well an applicant will perform on the job.
- To avoid the negative effects of a “bad hire.”
Proper Use of Employee Criminal Background Checks is a Must:
While sometimes misused by employers, employee criminal background checks are a widely accepted and largely useful measure used by employers to make better employment decisions.
There are many jobs in which an individual’s criminal past would unreasonably increase the safety risk to people or property the individual will come in contact with on (and off) the job. On the other hand, there are certain types of crimes and certain types of positions where a criminal past should not affect an individual’s suitability for employment. Knowing where to draw the line and being able to measure where a person is in relation to that “line” is a valuable part of the criminal background check process.
The key for employers is to devise a consistent and reasonable employment screening policy that clearly identifies how criminal background checks should be used in the decision making process. The policy should consider the nature of the position, the degree of risk to third parties, and then use appropriate measures to ascertain an individual’s suitability for employment.
When used properly and in compliance with federal, local, and state regulations, criminal background checks can be extremely useful part of an employment screening program.