PRE-EMPLOYMENT SCREENING & CRIMINAL BACKGROUND CHECKS

CAPITOLINE has been making our clients’ workdays easier since 1991. Human Resources teams are charged with a variety of daily tasks, necessitating smooth processes and reliable partners and services to help them get the job done quickly and with accuracy. Every company is different though; some are small and hire few on an occasional basis, and some are large and have frequent turnover. Companies require different types of information for different purposes. CAPITOLINE’s ala carte service is a great option for the small and large client alike; we customize our investigative reports to fit each client’s need by providing them with the most accurate up-to-date information available. Why spend valuable time and resources contracting a generic on-line database company to do your background checks when we can provide more accurate and comprehensive pre-employment background data? We can help you avoid the negative consequences of the negligent hire; get in contact and let us help take some of the hassle out of your day.

Why is Pre-Employment Screening a Good Idea?

  • It ensures that your job candidates truly have the ability, experience, and credentials they claim to have
  • It protects your assets and controls loss
  • It can help your company avoid workplace accidents, negligent hiring lawsuits, and rising insurance premiums
  • It can help you control absenteeism and contain training and healthcare costs
  • It enhances your employee’s sense of security and peace of mind
  • You know how expensive and time-consuming turnover is. It can help lower employee turnover

What is Pre-Employment Screening and Why Should Your Company Use It?

  • You can verify an applicant’s identity, employment history, education, industry and professional credentials
  • You can determine if an applicant has a criminal record or a history of civil litigation in local, state, and federal records
  • You can determine if an applicant has any criminal ties to terrorist organizations at the international level
  • You can check Motor Vehicle Records for drug and alcohol abuse history as well as level of responsibility behind the wheel
  • You can investigate the applicant’s reputation and level of personal responsibility
  • You can assess the applicant’s character and trustworthiness, and provide Credit Bureau Reports if warranted

PRE-EMPLOYMENT SCREENING AND THE IMPORTANCE OF AVOIDING THE NEGLIGENT HIRE

What is a ‘Negligent Hire’?

“Negligent hiring is a [legal] claim made by an injured party against an employer based on the theory that the employer knew or should have known about the employee’s background which, if known, indicates a dangerous or untrustworthy character.” (US Legal 2018)

Some companies experience little turnover and hire few people over the course of any given year, while other companies experience higher rates of turnover (for a variety of reasons) and require an almost constant and steady influx of new hires. Everyone puts their best foot forward when attending job interviews, sure, but everyone is not the same. Aside from exercising skills in reading body language and speech tone in-person, it can be difficult to ascertain whether or not someone is the right person for the job. For example, person A may list several qualifications and professional certificates on his resume, but some of them are inflated, some patently false, created for the sole purpose of padding his resume by embellishing his skill set; a thorough background check can reveal that this individual actually has no experience in the subject matter they claim to be an expert in (an embarrassing situation for employers in the science and education sectors!). Or take for example person B – a woman applying for a warehouse stocking position; she presents well, has a verifiable degree, but also has a hidden history of moveable property theft spanning three states over the course of seven years. Or person C, who looks great on paper and in person but has a secret history of litigating against former employers for workplace injuries. Employers obviously want to steer clear of individuals who demonstrate the potential to seriously harm the employer’s business (and in some rare cases personal) interests. Hiring an employee without looking into their background and general reputation is a gamble, and if preventative steps are not taken by the employer to safeguard their interests, that gamble can have a disastrous effect on business assets in the long run. The best way to protect your corporate and personal assets is to know as much as you can about the people you bring on board. CAPITOLINE delivers the knowledge you need when you need it most.

ADHERENCE TO THE PRINCIPLES OF THE FAIR CREDIT REPORTING ACT (FCRA)

As a private investigation agency that performs background checks on individuals, we are also a consumer reporting agency. The FCRA is a set of Federally mandated guidelines meant to regulate the practice of gathering and disseminating data on private US citizens. The main purpose of the FCRA is to guide businesses in their appropriate use of power when accessing sensitive/restricted data; the secondary purpose of the FCRA is to protect the rights of private citizens who have specific rights accorded to them under this legislation (Equifax 2018; see also Department of Justice 2018). For example, agencies cannot legally access certain data on consumers without some form of consent – in some cases there must be a signed release (the consent of the individual in question); without the signed consent of the individual under investigation, accessing certain data about them is an offense that can be prosecuted in a court of law. Private investigators and agencies who offer to dispense certain data without requiring a signed consent form are breaking the law and putting their clients at risk for protracted litigation. Likewise, there must be a ‘permissible purpose’ in order for an agency to gather certain data about a private citizen. These rules exist to protect the privacy of individuals who are at a much lower rung in the power differential with the company they are applying to, etc. The FCRA also protects the private citizen from identity theft and reputation assassination; it may be the case that agency A uncovers some data showing a criminal history with a particular individual and then shares that data with a prospective employer; if that data is incorrect (mistaken identity, etc.), this could have disastrous effects on the individual’s personal and professional life. The FCRA mandates that agencies engaging in this kind of data gathering and reporting must be held accountable to a set of very specific legal standards and if those standards slip at any point in time, a quagmire of legal problems can arise for everyone involved (including HR departments). Mega internet data sourcing companies often run generic searches on people, gathering all sorts of data, some of it correct, some of it out-of-date, some of it downright misleading in cases of mistaken identity. Hiring a bespoke service like CAPITOLINE to do your background checks is taking that one extra but very important step in protecting your corporate assets. CAPITOLINE sources and reports data ethically in accordance with the principles contained in the FCRA and has systems in place that protect our clients from ever having to worry about the ‘negligent hire’. No matter whether you need our services daily as a constant stream of incoming information, or less frequently, we are here to help you make decisions that protect your interests, investment, and peace of mind.

REFERENCES

Department of Justice (2018) Federal Privacy Act of 1974. Online: https://www.justice.gov/opcl/privacy-act-1974 Accessed 14 may 2018.

Equifax (2018) FCRA Summary of Rights. Online: https://www.equifax.com/privacy/fcra/ Accessed 14 May 2018.

US Legal (2018) Negligent Hiring Law and Legal Definition. Online: https://definitions.uslegal.com/n/negligent-hiring/ Accessed 14 May 2018.