The importance of criminal record checks and why every employer should conduct them

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Criminal background checks are an essential part of any hiring process. They can help companies improve the employment process, decrease future litigation costs, and protect their brand. Besides the apparent conviction searches, pre-employment screening protocols often incorporate civil court searches and standalone sex offender registry searches.

Background check

But why are criminal record checks so necessary?

Reduce the risk of future legal expenses.

Employees involved in criminal activity can cost a business financially and ruin the company’s reputation. A thorough criminal background check can help reduce the risk of making bad hires and prevent costly litigation.

Criminal background checks include searching national and county criminal records, state court repositories, prison records, and domestic terror watch lists. Additionally, sex offender checks are often included in pre-employment screening protocols.

It is a common misconception that only convictions show up on criminal record searches. The truth is that many cases of financial misconduct, such as embezzlement and fraud, do not result in criminal convictions and may instead appear in civil courts. Criminal checks also reveal pending cases, arrests that did not lead to convictions, and expunged or sealed convictions.

A comprehensive UK criminal record check also includes records of civil violations, such as child abuse and theft. It can also reveal an employee’s involvement in civil suits related to sexual assault, discrimination, and harassment. Employers must evaluate the severity of the crimes committed, how old the person was when they achieved them, and any proof of rehabilitation.

Prevent damage to the company’s reputation.

A criminal background check also helps employers avoid hiring people with past financial problems that can damage their reputations. For example, if an employee has defaulted on credit payments or accumulated large debts, this could put the company at risk of future legal action from regulatory bodies or clients.

Criminal background checks are not only focused on convictions but also on pending charges or arrests. However, employers are advised to weigh pending charges less heavily than convictions because these don’t offer proof of guilt.

Other information that might appear on a criminal background check includes civil litigation, sex offender registration, and driving records. However, some states have laws restricting these records’ inclusion in background checks. This is why it is essential to have an expert conduct a thorough verification process. Outsourcing the verification process to professionals like AuthBridge helps companies save money and time. It also ensures a rigorous screening process complies with the New York State Human Rights Law (NYSHRL). This is essential because it protects against any discrimination lawsuits.

Reduce the risk of workplace violence.

The workplace violence that occurs each year can be severe. The best way to reduce this risk is through pre-employment screening. This will help employers not hire people with a history of violent behavior, which can put employees and customers at risk.

Criminal record checks will reveal a person’s history of violent crimes and other dangerous convictions. These records may include a person’s felony and misdemeanor convictions, pending charges, civil judgments, prison sentences, arrest records that did not result in beliefs, domestic terror watch list status, and expunged and sealed convictions.

In addition to a quality criminal record check, it is essential that companies have policies in place that address workplace violence and that they train managers and supervisors to recognize the warning signs of someone likely to engage in violent behavior. They should also provide employees with access to Employee Assistance Programs, which can help deal with stress and anxiety that can sometimes lead to violence in the workplace. For the best results, employers should conduct a complete background check, including federal, county, and state records, and utilize an Accredited PBSA provider to ensure they comply with all applicable laws.

Reduce the risk of fraud.

Conducting comprehensive criminal background checks reduces the risk of hiring individuals who engage in financial misconduct, including fraud, embezzlement, and money laundering. Performing these checks for positions in the financial or banking industries and those that involve interacting with vulnerable populations is especially important.

A background check should include convictions and other records, such as arrests, detentions without charges, and incarcerations. Some screening protocols also include searches of civil court records, offender registries, watch lists, and credit reports.

A criminal record shouldn’t automatically make a candidate unhireable, but it should be considered in light of the offense’s circumstances and seriousness. A decade-old misdemeanor may not be as serious consideration as a conviction for child abuse, for example. In addition, it is essential to ensure that a criminal background check provider can search at the county level and provide access to local records unavailable on the state database. This is particularly important for positions that entail working with children or elderly individuals, where abuse is most often committed.

Prevent workplace abuse.

Workplace violence is a significant concern for many employers today. It can be physical assaults, sexual harassment, robberies, and even shootings. While it’s unfortunate that these tragedies happen, effective preventative measures can reduce the risk of workplace abuse in all its forms.

A criminal record search will reveal an applicant’s convictions and pending and past arrests. However, it’s generally advised that employers should not weigh arrest and charge results as heavily as convictions in hiring decisions.

Detailed checks can uncover additional details to help employers make informed hiring decisions. These services include incarceration dates, job training programs while in prison, character and employment references, and relevant rehabilitative efforts.

Employers should always conduct a background check before offering a candidate a position. This will ensure they fully comply with the law and avoid a potential lawsuit. By partnering with a CRA committed to running FCRA-compliant checks, you can rest assured that your company is taking reasonable care to protect its assets and reputation during the hiring process.

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