There are a number of legal considerations associated with conducting a proper and fair background check. It’s not easy, so why should you bother? The answer is in the EEOC guidelines; you do a background check when there is a business necessity. As a business owner, you have an obligation to provide a safe environment for your employees and customers as well as a fiduciary responsibility to the company. Reasons for a background check include, but might not be limited to:

  • magnifyingglass_checkmarkEmployees driving a company-owned vehicle for deliveries or service work. Do they have a valid driver’s license and is their Motor Vehicle Record (MVR) reasonably clean?
  • If your truck fleet requires a Commercial Driver’s License (CDL), you are required to check the MVR and verify the license.
  • Sales and/or marketing employees driving a company car or being paid mileage for making sales calls. This could also apply to someone making deliveries with their own car, like pizza delivery. Do they have a valid driver’s license and a reasonably clean MVR?
  • Employees who are handling cash, checks, credit cards or making bank deposits. Also, employees who are allowed to place and receive orders, who have keys to your building or an alarm entry code, or can access sensitive company, employee or customer information like social security numbers and bank information. Do they have a criminal history for shoplifting, theft, burglary or receiving stolen property?
  • Employees who provide site security by checking ID’s at the door, actively monitoring customers inside or patrolling the grounds. Do they have an arrest record or conviction for assault, battery or weapons violations?

Who can help?

As a risk control professional, I recommend that you not conduct background checks yourself. Hire a contract service like a consumer reporting agency and use care in finding someone reputable. Look for a company who has been in business for at least five years and is accredited through the National Association of Professional Background Screeners (NAPBS). Only 10% of consumer reporting agencies are NAPBS accredited! Expect the agency that you contract with to provide training in your obligations under FCRA and federal and state laws, along with a quick turnaround when a background check request is submitted.

Society Insurance has partnered with IntelliCorp, which is NAPBS accredited and offers Society Insurance policyholders a 30% discount off the retail cost of their “Preferred Package” background check. Click here to find more information on Society’s Risk Management Programs & Discounts page.

Lastly, if you are creating a new policy or procedure for doing background checks or updating an existing one, it should be done in consultation and partnership with your Human Resources professional as well as legal counsel.

Click here for part one of this blog, “Legal Considerations for Employee Background Checks” or download this whitepaper: “Protect Your Business: Employee Background Checks.”

-Tim Hoffmann