Criminal Background Check

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Whether you are a person looking for work, or an employer looking for a new member of staff, you will have come across the subject of a criminal background check. Many jobseekers are required to undergo a background check, and many employers like to complete investigate the history of prospective employees to ensure that they are suitable for the position.

 

What is a Criminal Background Check?

Many people have heard of the term “background check,” and they have some idea of what it involves. If you are a jobseeker, it involves the company that you are trying to gain a job with, performing a background check on you. If you are an employer you may have heard about the importance of performing background checks on people you are considering hiring. However, the term “criminal background check” usually refers to a certain type of background check that focuses on looking into an employee’s criminal history.

Some companies will perform a general background check, which looks into a person’s legal working status, their driving and vehicle records, their litigation records, their educational records, their financial history, drug tests, their employment records and their criminal and sex offender records. A criminal background check is a more specific version of the general background check, although sometimes the terms “background check” and “criminal background check” are used interchangeably, as they both involve an investigation into a person’s criminal history. During a criminal background check, a person’s criminal history will be looked into, which includes arrests, incarcerations, convictions, criminal records and sex offender records.

 

History of Criminal Background Checks

Criminal background checks are becoming increasingly popular with companies, as they want to take as much of the risk as possible out of hiring a new employee. Background checks, however, are not a new practice, although they are much more common now than they were in the past. Employees have performed background checks for decades, on a smaller scale.

Over time, as issues like negligent hiring have emerged, it has become necessary for the majority of companies to perform background checks. Negligent hiring is an issue that has been around since the early nineteen hundreds, but it wasn’t a huge issue for companies until the 1970s. Negligent hiring is a legal issue, which can damage a company. It occurs when an employee of a company injures or harms another employee in the workplace. The company can, in some circumstances, be held negligible and have to pay damages to the injured party.

Performing background checks has helped to prevent issues like this from occurring and damaging companies. More and more companies are seeing that there is a need for background checks, and that they are beneficial. This has led to the majority of companies in the United States, and many other countries in the western world, issuing background checks, and criminal background checks on their employees.

 

When and why are Criminal Background Checks Performed?

Employers investigate the background of their prospective employees for a number of reasons. Generally speaking, employees perform background checks to see if a person that they are considering hiring is trustworthy, educated, and has performed well at their jobs in the past. However, many employers perform a background check to see if a person has a criminal history. Many employers focus on criminal background checks.

As mentioned above, companies want to take few, if any, risks when hiring employees. They don’t want to hire a person without checking into their criminal background. For example, if an employee displays violence to another employee and that a person turns out to have a criminal record for a violent crime, and a company does not perform a background check, they could be held accountable.

They could also end up having to pay damages. In this type of situation the company could be responsible for negligent hiring, which is a problem discussed above. Essentially, performing a criminal background check can help a company to save money on future legal costs, and it can keep their company and their employees safe.

Aside from issues of violent employees, criminal backgrounds checks can also benefit companies and employees in other ways. Many companies lose out due to fraud and embezzlement. By performing a criminal background check on an employee, employers can check to see if they have ever committed crimes like fraud, theft in the workplace and embezzlement.

Checks also help to promote a safer and happier work environment. Disruptive employees and employees who are aggressive can affect the whole of a company’s workforce, and thus lower a company’s productivity. Also, employees who engage in criminal behavior in the workplace can cause a number of problems for both the company and other employees.

Finally, many potential employees lie on their job applications, and often there is no way to detect if an employee is trying to deceive an employer during the recruitment process. Often, employees’ deceptions or lies are exposed after they have been hired, which can results in problems for a company. By taking the time to review each and every potential employee’s background, companies can save themselves time and money during the recruitment process, and prevent having to hire more employees to replace employees that weren’t suitable.

 

How Background Checks are Performed

All companies must perform efficient, fair and most importantly, legal background checks that follow all rules and regulations, while protecting the rights of all parties involved. Companies can either perform background checks themselves, or they can hire a third-party organization to do it for them. Almost all employers use a third-party organization to perform their criminal background checks. Third party organizations are skilled, experienced and know all of the rules, regulations and rights that must be met when conducting background checks on others.

Some background check companies perform in-depth, meticulous background checks that uncover a great deal of information, whereas others are just online data brokers who provide little detailed information. It is up to a company what type of background check service they use, but for criminal background checks, they need to hire a company that specializes in this area. Also, the company must make sure that whatever service they choose to use is aware of and follows all of the regulations and laws involved in a background check.

 

Sources:

http://www.napbs.com/files/public/Consumer_Education/Resources/HistoryBackgroundScreening.pdf

http://www.napbs.com/files/public/Learn_More/White_Papers/CriminalBackgroundChecks.pdf

http://definitions.uslegal.com/n/negligent-hiring/