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Why Your Business Needs Criminal Background Checks

A criminal background check is a key element of any business screening process. It uncovers a wide range of information to help you make the right hiring decisions for your company. A criminal background check typically includes searches of county and state courts, sex offender registries, terrorism watch lists and national criminal databases. It can also retain records of misdemeanor convictions and pending cases that have not resulted in a sentence.

Protect Your Customers

Although some small companies skip background checks because of the expense or perceived difficulty, criminal records checks are essential to uphold a safe workplace, safeguard employees and customers from injury, and lower the possibility of theft and property damage. Criminal record checks are also a necessary element of employee management that helps avoid lawsuits and negative press resulting from negligent hiring claims. Hiring the wrong person can cost your company money and reputation in several ways, including lost productivity, team morale, customer satisfaction, etc. It can also lead to various legal liabilities, such as negligence lawsuits, fines and increased insurance premiums. A criminal background check is a comprehensive review of an individual’s personal and professional information. It includes a search of federal, state, county and local records, registries, and law enforcement sources. The results can reveal any previous arrests, convictions and pending charges.

Some industries, such as healthcare, education and childcare, rely on employees to work with vulnerable populations, including children, elderly or disabled individuals. Conducting fingerprint background checks help ensure that people do not fill these sensitive positions with a history of abusing or neglecting others. In addition, background checks can reveal various other red flags, such as fraud and embezzlement. Employers must understand the many different kinds of information that may be found on a criminal background check report and how to analyze it correctly.

Protect Your Company

A criminal background check comprehensively reviews an employee’s personal background information. It includes records of education details, employment history and licenses, and the most important element, criminal records. Having the right person on your team can protect your business in many ways. It can impact productivity, team morale, customer and client relationships, and company growth. Criminal record checks are necessary for hiring the right people for the job. Criminal background checks can reveal many offenses, from a simple misdemeanor to a federal felony. They also typically include arrests and charges never brought to trial, including acquittals. Depending on the search parameters, a criminal background check may also show pending criminal charges, arrests, and convictions from other states or countries, in addition to state and county records.

Employers should consult a reputable background screening provider to determine which types of searches are appropriate for their business. Packages should be set up based on business necessity, with more thorough checks for executive positions than entry-level minimum-wage jobs. An FCRA-compliant CRA committed to best practices can ensure that various offenses are searched for while adhering to federal and state laws about what can legally be reported.

Protect Your Employees

Depending on the nature of your business, unsuitable employees can impact the safety and security of your customers, suppliers and team members. Criminal background checks can help ensure your new hires are a good fit and do not pose a risk to your business or their co-workers. A motor vehicle records search can help identify candidates with a history of major traffic violations or any other indicators that they may be unsafe on the job. Additionally, a federal criminal record search can reveal offenses of federal law, such as tax fraud, mail fraud and embezzlement. Choosing an FCRA-compliant Consumer Reporting Agency (CRA) with the ability to search nationwide court records, county records and registries will provide you with the most comprehensive criminal background checks possible. Additionally, working with a CRA that offers built-in tools and workflows for compliance will simplify the process and speed up your hiring time.

Disposition and punishment should be understood while running a criminal history search. Disposition indicates if the offense was a felony or misdemeanor, and sentencing refers to how the crime was punished, such as probation, fine, community service or jail sentence. Additionally, when using a CRA to run a criminal background check, you must know which states and counties they will search, as some have laws limiting how much a convicted record can be reported to employers.

Protect Your Reputation

A background check doesn’t just uncover criminal records — it can also prevent companies from making poor hiring decisions that damage their business reputations. For example, if a company hires an employee with a history of theft or embezzlement and the company later finds out that this crime has cost them money, they may be held liable for negligent hiring. Businesses may prevent employing someone with a criminal past who will endanger the company’s financial stability and reputation by completing background checks before recruiting new personnel. The type of information that is gathered in a background check can vary by country and state. The most common searches include:

  • A search of federal courts for convictions
  • County records often include arrests and pending charges.
  • The state law enforcement agency records any incidents, including crimes committed by the person being screened, convictions and disqualifications.

A thorough background check will also include educational verification, employment history, credit report and professional licenses if relevant to the job. A patchwork of state, county and city ban-the-box laws move the criminal history inquiry to later in the hiring process and require employers to consider an individual’s unique circumstances before using a prior conviction as grounds to decline a job offer.

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