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Conducting Proper Background Screenings Can Avoid Lawsuits

Conducting Proper Background Screenings Can Avoid Lawsuits

Background check investigations are a crucial tool for assisting employers in avoiding responsibility for negligent hiring, but it can be challenging to navigate the many federal, state, and local rules that regulate such investigations, especially when considering international hiring.  This is just another reason why hiring an experienced investigation company to conduct actual background check investigations is critical.

Searching databases and criminal records is not an investigation, and not proper risk mitigation.  Real investigations require knowing privacy laws and access to information in different countries.  Understanding the different privacy and other laws unique to each country, not to mention the ability to uncover meaningful evidence, is precisely why it is critical to use an investigation company with trained investigators in the country or countries where you need them. Having highly trained investigators in the countries where you need them who speak the language, have access to local records and understand the local laws is critical to minimizing risk and to conduct proper verification.

Just think about this: Why are lawsuits against businesses for negligent hiring so common? Because the employer was aware of, or should have been aware of, a worker’s potential for damage. Employment background checks don’t tell a talent acquisition expert who to hire -they tell them who not to. If you conduct background checks improperly or don’t conduct them at all, your business is at risk of being the defendant in a lawsuit.

Here are some considerations businesses should bear in mind when recruiting and hiring background checks:

Don’t expect your talent acquisition team to be able to spot potential problems.

This is putting a lot of responsibility to someone who doesn’t necessarily have the tools to uncover issues with an applicant. Recruiters may not have access to all the information needed. For example, what if the candidate is from a foreign country? You need trained private investigators who know what to search and where, who have access to the sources of the information and can obtain reliable evidence. Reviewing an application with care and objectivity is something your recruiting team can do, but don’t rely on just that. It is important to contact previous employers and verify the other side of the story in regard to why a candidate left previous positions or why they had a gap in employment. It is also crucial to make sure the education and certifications the candidate claims to have are legitimate, especially when it comes to positions that involve caring for children, elderly or sick people, or those who handle hazardous equipment or substances.

Use a professional firm that can provide a high-quality standardized service, regardless of the candidate’s current location or origin, or country.

You cannot accept a comprehensive screening process for some, and a superficial screening for others just because your background check provider cannot offer the same service in different places. The best solution o this problem is to hire a private investigation firm with global coverage and local experts in the country or countries where you need to check.

Avoid class actions involving the FCRA or the country’s respective authority in the matter.

The Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA), a federal law in the U.S., governs employment screening and lays out the consent, disclosure, and notification requirements for companies who use third parties to conduct background checks on potential hires and current workers. There are other governing bodies in this matter depending on the country, but the important part is to follow the rules. It is the employer’s responsibility to use compliant forms in their end, not the background check provider, so employers must make sure that all of their forms have been reviewed by legal counsel and are being signed by candidates.

C. Wright

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