Do you know that you can be held liable for not doing a background investigation on employees? It used to be optional but now even if an employee does something that would seem to be their own fault, the courts have ruled that the business can be liable if it turns out that the employee had something in their past that should have precluded them from being hired. It is imperative that a thorough background investigation be done on each and every employee.
What kind of background check? It depends on the level of the employee. Obviously, you would want to have someone who’s going to be in a high-level management position checked out more than someone who’s going to be a laborer. On the other hand, if a lower level employee is handling money, dealing with customers credit cards and/or bank accounts, or keeping the books – you would want a more thorough background check performed.
For these types of people doing more than a routine criminal records check would be prudent. A credit report as well as an investigator researching their overall financial well-being is highly recommended. Depending on the position they’re going to be in, an investigation where their previous co-workers and family would be interviewed may also be in order. Remember, checking out someone well enough to see if there’s any “skeletons in their closet” is always a good idea.
If you say, “why do we need all this when we can just use one of those websites that do background checks online?” Because those companies do not do a thorough Background check. In fact, most sites and companies make the following mistakes:
- Do not have the most up-to- date databases to do the job. On numerous occasions we’ve known people who’ve been arrested recently and it isn’t on these sites. Not only do we have the best databases but we also confirm our information other ways.
- Do not go back farther than 7 years. If someone was charged with raping someone 8 years ago, wouldn’t you want to know?
- Do not provide information on whether the person was convicted. While most people who get arrested ultimately get convicted, that’s not always the case. Do you want to get sued for denying someone a job or rental because some outfit said they were convicted when they weren’t?
- Do not provide any details about arrests, just list the charge. There’s a big difference between being charged with theft because you forgot something was in your cart at Wal Mart and being charged with reaching over and stealing money right out of the cashier’s cash drawer. We are usually able to provide documents of the actual arrest.
- Do not provide information on whether someone is still on parole or probation. Do you want parole officers showing up at your business or property to check on an employee or tenant?