Crime in the workplace can be costly for businesses. That’s why criminal background checks are vital for many industries, particularly those that involve financial transactions or personal information.
A criminal background check will show any misdemeanor or felony convictions and pending cases the person faces. Employers typically focus on felony convictions as these carry more severe consequences.
A criminal background check can reveal evidence of fraud, including embezzlement, bribery, and forgery. These crimes have significant financial costs for businesses and can even lead to a loss of reputation. As a result, employers should only hire candidates who are trustworthy and honest. Background checks such as the Sterling Check can help prevent these incidents by identifying fraudulent candidates and weeding out untrustworthy applicants. In addition, criminal background checks can also reveal a candidate’s history of domestic violence and drug abuse. This information can be essential for businesses that deal with children or other vulnerable groups, like senior citizens and the disabled. A criminal background check can also identify pending cases relevant to the role.
While most criminal background checks are centered on felony convictions, some searches can also include misdemeanor convictions. A criminal record search is usually more accurate when it focuses on convictions rather than arrest records and pending charges, as these do not always result in a conviction. As with credit checks, a criminal background check must be accompanied by an identity check to verify a candidate’s name and address to avoid false positives and incomplete results.
Preventing Workplace Violence
Regardless of what industry your business is in, workplace violence is a real and serious concern. Whether it is a physical act of aggression or harassment, or verbal abuse, the consequences can be devastating to your business in terms of lost productivity, damage to the company’s reputation, and low employee morale.
Criminal background checks can help you determine if an employee may be a risk for violence in the workplace. A criminal records search reveals an applicant’s official record, including disclosable court outcomes (excluding spent convictions). This information can give you an indication of an applicant’s propensity for violence and can help your business make better hiring decisions.
If an employee has been convicted of violent crimes, your business is at greater risk for property damage and bodily harm. Conducting a thorough criminal record check can help you identify these risks and ensure the safety of your employees, customers, and the public.
While it is impossible to prevent every incident of workplace violence, you can reduce your risk by creating a culture of safety. You can do this by promoting safety-related company policies, providing frequent training, and conducting lockdown drills. In addition, you can also provide support for employees at a higher risk of violence by offering access to employee assistance programs or mental health services. You can also limit the physical exposure of workers by limiting their access to hazardous materials and requiring protective equipment.
Preventing Employee Misconduct
A criminal background check can reveal various information about an applicant that can impact your hiring decision. These searches may include felony and misdemeanor convictions, pending charges, prison records, domestic terror watch lists, and more. These searches may also include civil court issues such as breaches of contract or property damage resulting in lawsuits.
Many states have restrictions on how far back a background check can look. For instance, a background check company in q certain state cannot report information about convictions over seven years old. In addition, several states have ban-the-box or fair hiring laws that limit when and how an employer can consider an applicant’s past criminal history in hiring. Regardless of these legal limitations, employers can protect their staff, customers, and reputation by thoroughly screening their candidates for criminal history before bringing them on board. By doing this, businesses can lower the risk of theft and embezzlement and reduce their exposure to liability if an employee harms people or property.
While criminal background checks are critical to keeping companies, customers, and employees safe, there is also a serious risk that they can be used to discriminate against people with records. This can have devastating consequences for those prevented from finding employment and participating fully in their communities.
The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) discourages employers from disqualifying applicants based on their criminal record or convictions unless the employer can demonstrate a “valid business reason.” In other words, the reason must be relevant and specific to the job. Using a blanket policy that excludes all candidates with criminal records violates EEOC guidance. It has a disparate impact on minority groups likelier to have a criminal record. In addition to excluding qualified candidates, these policies are counterproductive to public safety and community well-being. Studies show that employment helps reduce crime and incarceration rates, reduces public spending on welfare and the criminal legal system, and increases civic participation and economic security. Policies that bar people with records from working deny these benefits and create a class of the permanently unemployable.