Background Checks

I read an interesting article on the Internet about an employee who was terminated because he allegedly had sexual relations with a minor.  When interviewed, a spokesman for the employer said they had done a background check before the individual was hired and nothing unusual was found.

To those of us who are in the background checking business, this sort of situation should come as no surprise.  Why not?  Well, simply put, the terminated employee, at least as recently as a couple of days ago, hadn’t been convicted of anything.  If you re-read the first paragraph of this blog you’ll notice that the employee is only alleged to have had sexual relations with a minor.  Anyone can allege wrongdoing against another person, but the mere allegation doesn’t necessarily mean it happened.  Therefore, even the most thorough criminal history check isn’t going to include allegations!

Employers need to be cautious not to jump to conclusions when an employee is merely accused of having done something wrong.  It may, or may not be true.  Furthermore, no criminal history check is going to uncover a record that doesn’t exist.  In this particular instance, until there’s a finding of guilt, there won’t be a record to check, either.

The most an employer can do is use reasonable care in the hiring process.  It’s always important to do an appropriate amount of pre-employment screening; but, having done that, no background check can predict future behavior.