Background Checks


 We’ve seen a growing trend among our clients to conduct annual, semi-annual, and even five-year background checks of current employees.  The three categories most often re-checked are criminal background, driving record, and credit.  An increasing number of employers want to know if there have been changes in the status of their employees in these three areas.  And, frankly, this growing trend makes very good sense to us.  Why? 
Employers, especially those who serve vulnerable populations such as schools, healthcare facilities, and hospitals, are understandably concerned that the status of their employees may change over time.  If, for example, a faculty or staff member is convicted of a crime like molesting a child and put on probation rather than in jail, the students over whom that employee has authority could be put at unnecessary risk.  That’s something the superintendent would probably want to know!  The only way to discover it, however, is by doing a period re-check. 
 By the same token, any employer who employs people who will have access to a company-owned vehicle would probably want to know if a current employee has been convicted recently of driving while intoxicated.  A periodic driving record check is the best way to uncover recent traffic violations. Last,  any employer who has employees who have access to company funds might be concerned about any credit problems that may have recently made employees desperate for money.

 If re-checking is something you’re considering, one point to keep in mind is the importance of making sure the waiver prospective employees sign doesn’t limit the ability to do re-checking down the road.  It might make very good sense, therefore, for employers to have their lawyer or legal department review the company’s employment waiver to make sure that re-checks can be done whenever the employer feels it’s appropriate.

 Finally, it should be kept in mind that doing re-checks does not reflect a lack of trust on the part of the employer, but a sensible business practice because the life situations of most people change from time to time.  It’s always better to be safe than sorry.