More employers than ever before are conducting criminal background checks. And with the pandemic increasing remote hiring, this screening tool is an additional way to ensure that you are only hiring the best possible candidates. But criminal background checks can also serve as a way to mitigate risk and manage liability. Employers have many threats that can easily escalate to non-compliance or court cases if they are not careful. And background checks are a great way to mitigate risk through the following functions.
1. Reducing the Risk of Illegal Activity in the Workplace
If you own a parking garage, you would likely never hire someone with a known record as a vehicle thief. But no employer can be expected to make a good decision without having this information available. Fraud in the workplace causes trillions of dollars annually. Theft alone accounts for a decrease in approximately 5% of revenues each year. And with the rise in cybercrime, employers are more vulnerable than ever before to losses.
Unfortunately, a substantial portion of these losses can be attributed to current or previous employees who may be disgruntled or simply see an opportunity for personal gain that is easy to access. But theft isn’t the only crime that can be costly for employers. If employees feel unsafe or threatened by a coworker the employer may have to prove that they were not negligent in hiring an unfit individual. Checking a person’s background for crimes such as theft, harassment, stalking, or driving violations if they will be driving while working is one way to reduce the likelihood of this occurring at your business. And if you serve vulnerable populations, such as children or the elderly, you may want additional information to ensure that potential employees have never engaged in criminal activity that would endanger your customers or clients. Conducting these checks can be considered doing our diligence to ensure your workplace remains safe and crime-free.
2. Reducing the Risk of Lawsuits
If an employer were to hire an individual who has a conviction related to their job duties, the employer risks negligent hiring claims. Current employees may have grounds to bring a lawsuit if they feel that the employer failed in their duty to maintain safe working conditions. Customers could also bring legal action; for instance, if a cybercrime occurs involving the theft of customers’ personal data, the employer could have liability. The employer may be found negligent in protecting this sensitive data.
In either scenario (and many other similar ones), the employer runs the risk of losing a case and paying out high judgments. And even under the best circumstances – assuming they win the legal case – the employer will likely incur large legal defenses related to defending themselves from the claim. In either instance, the employer loses. The best protection is to ensure that there is very little risk that a negligent hiring accusation or an accusation related to failing to provide a safe workplace will arise.
3. Reducing the Risk of Non-Compliance
Some industries have regulations related to hiring. For instance, it is common in financial jobs that a candidate must never have been convicted of financial crimes or those related to data loss. In healthcare, individuals with violent convictions are often disqualified from certain positions. Those with a record related to illicit drugs may not work directly with controlled substances. Those who work with vulnerable populations must also be free of convictions related to injury or sexual in nature. These requirements are developed so that people with access to regulated materials or in positions that require a high degree of trust do not take advantage of their position.
And if you are an employer working within an industry with regulations, failure to comply with background check requirements puts you at risk of non-compliance, which can result in high fines, and revocation of your business license.
4. Risk of Credential Fraud
Suppose you were to welcome an imposter to your team for a position that requires specific education, licensure, or credentials, and they don’t meet these requirements. In that case, it is unlikely they would be able to do their job competently. And incompetence can result in additional legal risks.
Risks can be mitigated by conducting criminal background checks. USAFact is a reputable provider of criminal background checks that can work with companies in any industry to identify potential threats and optimize their candidate pool. Contact us today for more information on how to mitigate risk through criminal background checks.