Last updated: January 30, 2023
Globally, about ninety-three percent of firms conduct background checks as part of their pre-hiring process. By the same token, only one in five of them conduct any background checks post-hire. Some employers may think only submitting pre-employment checks are a wise decision because they may have a tough decision in front of them should a star employee show up with a recent arrest. Or, what if some other negative piece of information surfaced? It might be possible to explain it away—unless office policy states otherwise.
A growing number of employers are apparently willing to take that risk because periodic post-hire background checks are definitely on the rise. Just two years ago, in 2020, just twelve percent of employers conducted post-hire background checks. That number increased by seven percent in one short year rising to nineteen percent by the end of 2021. That figure was determined according to a survey conducted by the Professional Background Screening Association, an industry group.
Policies set in stone
There is no way that you can set up a workplace policy stating the specific procedures to follow if “insert information that shows up here” turns up on a background check only to add a clause that states “with the exception of ” that you use at will. If you do try it, expect to get hit with a discriminatory lawsuit. More than likely the first time you tried to enforce the clause—and with good reason!
Once you have a background check policy in place, it needs to be one for all and all for one. You must enforce the procedures to the letter, much as you do drug testing procedures. Otherwise, you can expect to get pulled into court sooner than later.
Writing up a company policy that blatantly allows any type of favoritism is, as they say, “a lawsuit waiting to happen”
Some employers would benefit
If you own a company that is in any way related to public safety, a routine motor vehicle check isn’t out of the question. In fact, it’s a smart idea because, in this electronic age, driving violations are submitted to databases nearly as soon as they happen. If it’s a serious offense that an employee is trying to cover up, it’s going to come to light.
Depending on the severity, an employee may need to be removed from service.
Of course, the same argument could be made for doing periodic criminal background checks on employees as well. Any employer could justify them. A crime against another human being is serious and must be taken into account once the information becomes known.
It provides customers and clients—anyone, actually—who comes into contact with the employee peace of mind. In today’s world, that’s saying something. It also sheds light on your employee’s character—even a lesser offense may be a reason to consider letting them go.
Ultimately, employers conduct pre and post-hire background checks for safety’s sake. Just be ready to follow through with company policy if negative results return—no matter who it turns out to be.