Employer Catch 22: Background Checks

Recently, we've seen some of our clients struggle with a real catch 22 when it comes to making new hire decisions. Federal and state laws have made it increasingly difficult to use background checks in evaluating potential job candidates. However, if an employer hires an employee with a criminal history, and that employee harms a client or fellow co-worker, it may be considered the employer's fault for not doing their due diligence.

The Wall Street Journal reports that "…Three decades of tougher laws and policing have left nearly one in three adult Americans with a criminal record, according to data kept by the Federal Bureau of Investigation. That arrest wave is washing up on the desks of America’s employers.

Companies seeking new employees are forced to navigate a patchwork of state and federal laws that either encourage or deter hiring people with criminal pasts and doing the checks that reveal them. Employers are having to make judgments about who is rehabilitated and who isn’t. And whichever decision they make, they face increasing possibilities for ending up in court."

So what's an employer to do? Carefully crafted hiring criteria on the front end and then consistent application of the criteria in hiring decisions makes a huge difference. Background checks help to round-out an effective hiring decision, too. Our HR representatives are available to help guide you through this tricky situation. If you are facing similar issues with hiring or background checks, don't wait until it's too late. We can help put you at ease and make sure you're hiring the right people for your business.

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