Many employers conduct a background check when a conditional offer of employment has been made but then fail to conduct another criminal background check post-employment. Rescreening, or continuous screening, is the process of conducting follow-up checks on the employee’s criminal background and credit report after they have been hired, and there are several advantages to going through this process on an annual basis for all employees.
Conducting background checks and verifying details of the applicant’s previous education and experience is crucial to identify any red flags before having an individual join your team. The problem with only going through this process at the pre-employment phases is that it represents only one moment in time.
Once employed, if an employee happens to commit a crime, lose their license, or have work authorization revoked, the employer would have no way to learn this information. Just because an individual has a clean record when they are hired doesn’t mean that it will always stay that way. An annual rescreen can identify any employee status issues that have changed in the preceding year. The action of rescreening is a way to keep your workplace safe and mitigate potential losses from theft or embezzlement.
Identifying Missed Information
When an employer has many employees or is in the middle of a hectic period, it can be easy to miss small details of an individual’s past that may be important to know. Sometimes, things fall through the cracks. When you adopt a policy to rescreen employees annually, you dedicate time for this process every year. You will often find out that you discover new details of an employee’s past when this process is completed regularly.
Changes in Duties
Employees often have their duties change throughout their tenure. They may have different responsibilities, interact with other populations (such as children), or have greater access to sensitive financial information and physical assets. And issues discovered on a pre-employment background check may not have applied in the current position.
For instance, minor misdemeanors or errors of omission may not matter for an entry-level position, but they could matter if this person were promoted to management. Conducting an annual background screening that is thorough enough to be appropriate for each employee’s current position can help you identify any specific employee’s advancement issues.
It Can Provide Peace of Mind
Certain events in the workplace should automatically trigger a rescreening of the employee. For instance, if there is a workplace incident (such as discovering that the employee was intoxicated while working), you will want to rescreen the employee. This demonstrates that the employer has done its due diligence in maintaining a safe environment for all employees.
Suppose an employee begins demonstrating unusual behavior or is assuming a new role that may put them in regular contact with vulnerable populations (such as children or the elderly). In that case, a follow-up rescreening is always a good idea. It should be done immediately, if possible, but at the very least, adopting a policy of annual screenings will ensure that this occurs within a reasonable time after the new role has started. Some states require that employers regularly screen employees that work with vulnerable populations; Pennsylvania requires employees that work with children to be screened every six months.
Rescreening Best Practices
Rescreening is a great idea to ensure that employees maintain the qualifications necessary to hold their current position. For this reason, many employers have recently adopted (or are considering adopting) regular rescreening or continuous screening policies.
But adopting these policies should not be done haphazardly. If one employee feels that your rescreening policy is being applied unfairly, it could lead to expensive litigation. There are several best practices you can follow to prevent this from occurring.
- Include everyone, and especially those in leadership positions. This practice demonstrates that the policy is in place to protect the entire workforce, not to punish specific individuals.
- Include information about annual screenings and other events that would require a non-regular rescreening in the employee handbook. You must be very clear about when employees are rescreened and why.
- Work with an independent company to conduct the background screenings. Completing these internally is asking for trouble. You may face allegations of impartiality, which can be prevented when you use a non-biased third-party background screening service to conduct the background checks.
Annual rescreening of employees provides companies with a way to protect their assets and uphold workplace safety. It creates standards that all employees must meet, which can mitigate risk and protect your bottom line over the long-term.