Two firefighters were recently kicked off the volunteer force in Leonia, New Jersey after the borough implemented a new ordinance requiring firefighters to pass a physical exam and a background check every two years in order to continue duty. The ordinance was enacted last fall, after the alleged molestation of a 3 year old boy at the firehouse by a teenage volunteer hopeful.
Imagine, it’s Friday morning and your children can hardly contain their excitement. After school, your family is heading towards the coast for a weekend at the beach. They brush their teeth and grab their backpacks as they rush out the door to meet their friends at the bus stop. Minutes later, you hear the usual roar of the diesel engine and squeal of brakes as the school bus arrives. The doors open and the energetic group hop up the steps and take their seats. You smile and wave as they pull away, being driven to school by your friendly neighborhood bus driver, the felon.
In-home healthcare providers have unique liabilities when it comes to hiring and screening individuals. When placing an individual in the home of a person who requires special needs or attention, it’s an absolute necessity to confirm your employees are of trustworthy nature, with high morals and verified experience. If you’re currently dispatching employees without thorough criminal and drug screening, you’re opening yourself up to legal repercussions significant enough to end your business.
Do you believe everything you’re told? As an employer, only qualified applicants who meet company requirements are considered for a position. Typically, when an HR representatives thinks “background check” their first concern is locating criminal records that may disqualify a potential new hire. But how do you verify the accuracy of the qualifications an applicant has provided? Statistically, resumes are regularly exaggerated or even downright false, which seems to be exactly the case recently at the University of South Florida.
An essential step in legally screening employees or applicants is obtaining their permission in writing. Somehow, this is often overlooked by employers and HR professionals. Perhaps a verbal indication of a background check was provided to a current or potential employee, but if it’s not in writing, there is no hard proof that a company is legally allowed to utilize and obtain personal information in relation to employment.
Often times, employers are expanding their staff out of urgent necessity. As employees come and go, many HR representatives find themselves in a bind with the need to fill a position immediately. However, thorough background screening isn’t an instant process, and can take up to a few days to perform accurate criminal screening. This leads some employers to hire individuals before their screening results are completed, which basically means they’re hiring blind and can land them exactly where they started- one employee down and in need of replacement as soon as possible.
Many companies tend to take a reactive stance when it comes to policies regarding employee background checks, rather than a proactive one. You always hear stories about how companies are going to “re-evaluate” their process, after something happens to shed light on the fact that maybe they didn’t have a very solid process to begin with.
What is the lifespan of a background check? It’s a great question, and one we receive daily. Being a Consumer Reporting Agency, we do not have the ability to set an expiration date for a background check. However, we can help you strategize on how often to screen your active employees while maintaining a reasonable budget. Chances are, if you’re considering an annual background check for your current employees, then you’re already screening your applicants. Unfortunately for San Mateo’s Mosquito and Vector Control District, they’ve failed to do either.
With criminal checks taking the spotlight for the majority of background screening, a point we always try and stress to our clients is the correct method of looking for criminal records. Where the most common recommendation is to check at the county level for potential criminal history, it’s a wise choice to supplement that search method with additional components. When your pool has the potential to cover the entire United States, the bigger the net, the better.