This is an increasingly litigious society, as ordinary people come to understand the financial benefits that lawsuits of all kinds can bring them. Injury or harm due to irresponsible or negligent hiring is one of these areas where employees can take legal action and gain financial reward for doing so.
Computer fraud is becoming more commonplace as the computers themselves become more and more powerful, requiring highly specialized and trained employees to run them. Such employees frequently have access to very sensitive company information and the potential for corruption is high. Industrial espionage is a real threat, particularly to progressive and innovative companies, and those with access to certain types of information must be trustworthy.
Many small businesses have failed due to the cost of poor hiring decisions, and multi-million dollar lawsuits can be just as damaging to large corporations. Suitable and sufficient pre-employment background checks can avoid these damaging consequences, and reduce the possibility of large claims being successful in the event that any harm occurs to personnel in the workplace due to the actions of themselves or other employees.
Every employee you take on is a stranger to you, and the purpose of pre-employment screening is to help you to get to know him or her better before you make a decision. This will not always indicate the suitability or otherwise of candidates, but you will have carried out your duty of care to your existing employees should you offer the position. If you fail in this duty of care you are morally and legally liable in the event of anyone coming to harm in your workplace due to your negligence.
It is no longer sufficient to carry out an interview followed up with a few phone calls to confirm references, and there have been sufficient incidences of workplace violence and internal computer fraud for such simple pre-employment procedures to be considered inadequate. Ignorance of an employee's background and behavior is not an excuse if insufficient screening has been carried out.
This sort of background checking is best carried out by those experienced and trained to do so. It is a professional job and the number of companies using professional pre-employment screening services has risen sharply over the past few years. It is not a job for the average company management employee, and it is unrealistic for any business to consider it so.
The legal knowledge required alone is worth the professional fee. Legislation such as the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) and the Americans With Disabilities Act (AWDA) can be complex for the average manager to understand, and many states have made their own additions to the federal Acts.
The purpose of the FCRA is to ensure the fair dissemination of information about people to others requiring it, and that the information provided, and the use to which it is put, is properly regulated. Part of this requirement is to ensure that prospective employees have given permission for certain types of consumer information to be provided to agencies requiring it. Professional screening agencies can make conforming to this legislation easy for you by taking it out of your hands.
The AWDA protects against discrimination of disabled people while seeking employment. It is useful to have a professional firm handle this since it is frequently necessary to turn down the disabled for other reasons. You do not want to handle this in the wrong way or you could find it difficult to defend against the potential repercussions.
There are several background checks that can be made, such as drug screening, driving offenses and the candidate's criminal record. You can also check their credit rating, which could be useful if part of the job brings them into contact with a lot of money. Computer whiz-kids with severe financial difficulties could be a problem if their job entails looking after your computerized bank accounts.
Pre-employment screening services can take a lot of weight off your shoulders where hiring new employees is concerned. Not only is the legislation getting more complex, but also the penalties for failing to carry out suitable background checks are too high for you not have them done professionally. Do yourself a favor, employ an agency and relax.
Patrick Barnett is the author of this article. Advanced Research is a national provider of employee screening solutions made up of a team of experts in risk management, human resources and legal investigations. Contact us for a free consultation.
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