Are Criminal Record Background Checks Necessary?
If you’re a business owner, putting off criminal record background checks as an unnecessary expense can be tempting. However, they are critical for maintaining workplace safety and preventing legal issues.
CRAs search municipal, state, county, and federal court records to report a candidate’s criminal history. The documents searched vary depending on the job you’re hiring, company policies, and local laws and regulations.
They Help Prevent Legal Issues
While criminal record background checks are usually used to prevent discrimination and fraud, they can also help employers avoid legal issues. These include negligent hiring and firing lawsuits, which can be filed against employers if they hire an applicant who could commit a crime.
For example, a criminal background check can reveal past violations of federal criminal law, such as federal tax evasion, embezzlement, and mail fraud. Additionally, it can uncover misdemeanors and other convictions that don’t carry the same penalties as felonies.
In addition, state and local laws may regulate how employers can use criminal history information in hiring decisions. These rules vary from ban-the-box laws to fair hiring laws that prevent discrimination based on criminal records.
One crucial way to comply with these regulations is to use an FCRA-compliant CRA that can provide background checks based on both state and federal criminal records laws. They are experienced in handling EEOC guidance around criminal background screenings and can monitor ban-the-box and fair hiring laws.
New York and other states have unique laws prohibiting employers from making negative statements about an applicant’s background before making a conditional employment offer. Employers may not write “no felonies” or make other statements that discriminate against job applicants based on their criminal histories.
They Help Prevent Discrimination
As an employer, you want to ensure your workforce is safe and meets legal standards. Criminal background checks are a great way to do that. They are a necessity for many jobs, especially those that involve children or the public at large.
However, if you are an employer and conduct criminal background checks on applicants or employees, you must be careful about using this information. This information may be considered discriminatory if you apply it in a way that is unfair to job seekers based on race, ethnicity, national origin, or disability.
The EEOC upholds federal laws that forbid discrimination in the workplaces of the private, state, local, and federal sectors. These laws prohibit you from using information gathered through a background check in a manner that discriminates against candidates or current employees based on age, gender, race, color, religion, national origin, genetic information, sexual orientation, or disability.
You can also be held liable for employment discrimination if you fail to make a reasonable judgment about the potential risk that an applicant or employee poses. It includes whether a person has committed a crime that would disqualify them for the position you are hiring for.
As a result, criminal background checks have become increasingly scrutinized by the EEOC and other agencies. The agency has many resources to help employers understand how they can use these tools in a fair way that does not violate anti-discrimination laws.
They Help Prevent Fraud
If you’re hiring employees who will work with vulnerable populations, including children and elderly adults, then a criminal record background check is necessary. Performing this check will help you avoid unfavorable hires who could compromise the safety of these individuals, your company, and your organization’s reputation.
A thorough criminal background search can help prevent fraud and embezzlement from occurring. It’s a very effective way to protect your company against fraud and theft, which can harm productivity, morale, and the overall health of your business.
Moreover, a thorough criminal record check can give you essential information about an applicant’s identity. It can include their social security number and address history. Performing a search can also help you verify the validity of their SSN and whether or not they have a valid passport or birth certificate.
In addition, a comprehensive criminal background search can also reveal federal violations of the law, including white-collar crimes such as financial fraud, tax evasion, mail fraud, and more. It can also help you determine if an applicant has any active warrants for their arrest.
Ensure that the checks you conduct comply with the federal fair credit reporting act and state and local laws regarding what data can be reported on candidates. It will help you make sound decisions for your business and reduce liability risk from negligent hiring and retention lawsuits.
They Help Prevent Expenses
A criminal record background check is a comprehensive search that examines criminal records across various sources. These include court records, sex offender registries, domestic and international watchlists, and consumer reporting agencies.
A standard criminal background check typically uncovers felony and misdemeanor convictions, arrests, and incarceration information. In addition, a good background check will also reveal the outcome of the person’s most recent criminal case, as well as other relevant information, like whether or not the individual is eligible for expungement or sealing of past criminal offenses.
Many employers choose to conduct these searches by themselves. They can use an online database, like the FBI files in the US or the Police National Computer, or pay a pro to handle the task.
However, there are some disadvantages to running your criminal background checks. First, you’ll likely have to pay for the service. It can be costly, and the costs can vary by state.
Another area for improvement is that your search might include inaccurate information. For example, if you’re conducting an FBI background check, you may find older records that aren’t permissible by law. To avoid this problem, you should only run your background check with a company that offers an advanced platform. This provider will make recommendations based on your specific needs and budget.