In today’s world, where security is always an issue, background checks for new employees, also referred to as pre-employment screening, is crucial. Anyone who walks through your door is a potential threat. Across organizations, sensitive information has been unwittingly given out to every type of criminal element, from corporate spies to identity thefts to embezzlers and even to terrorists. When it comes to your business, a tremendous amount of diligence in checking on potential employees is warranted.
Types of Information to Check For
The types of information a background check can produce include criminal records, including any time incarcerated, citizenship/immigration status, litigation records, driving records, education records, drug tests and prior employment records and other financial information. Any of these can provide crucial information on whether it is safe to hire a particular employee. Certainly if a potential hire shows a criminal record of embezzlement, one would be very wary of hiring this person. It is of course against the law to hire someone who is in this country illegally. Driving information and financial records can give you an idea of how reliable or unreliable a potential hire is, and of course, a potential employee with an ongoing drug problem is one that many companies will want to avoid.
E-Verify is the current name for the Basic Pilot/Employment Verification Program. This program, run by the Department of Homeland Security, allows employers to instantly check the work status of potential new employees over the Internet by using the employee’s I9 form. Since the program became E-Verify, its accuracy rate has been recorded at 94 percent. While the program is voluntary for most, some states are now requiring employers to enroll in the program, and an Executive Order amended and signed by President George W. Bush legally requires Federal contractors and subcontractors to participate in the E-Verify system.
Legal Issues Surrounding Background Checks
One thing you should not do is try to do a full background check yourself, or using only resources within your company. There are many legal issues surrounding background checks. It’s important to know the laws in your state regarding who you can and cannot refuse to hire. The last thing you want to have happen when you are simply trying to protect your business and your clients is to get slammed with a discrimination lawsuit. Even if you have the best of intentions, failure to properly follow the law when doing a background check, including failure to properly notify the individual under investigation and improperly disqualifying someone based on past criminal record, can get you into trouble. That’s why it is extremely important to have trained professionals doing your background checks for you, both for comprehensiveness and legal protection.