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Employee Screening

Reasons to Perform Background Checks on Existing Employees

It’s not uncommon to consent to a background check when applying for a position with a new employer. However, employees who have already been serving at your organization for some time might not be expecting that they would be screened.

Running background checks on existing employees doesn’t have to be painful. If handled responsibly, respectfully, and compassionately, it can help to protect the company and its employees from harm.

Reasons for Employee Screening

There are several reasons an employer might need to screen its current employees. The important thing to remember when considering any reason to check backgrounds is that it should be relevant to the business.

  • Business reputation: If a business could be harmed because one or more employees are engaged in criminal activity, or otherwise doing harm to the community it serves, it may seek to learn about any crimes the employee has committed.
  • Insurance underwriting: In certain industries, the business might have to carry coverage through insurers who may require regular background checks, such as updated driving histories.
  • Security: An employer might be led to believe an employee could pose a risk to the safety or wellbeing of others. They may carry out a background check to see if that suspicion is well-founded.

Get Consent

You need to get consent from your employees before executing any background check policy. This is usually required under state law and is important in fostering trust. Be aware that some states may require consent for each background check performed.

The best approach is to present employees with your policy on background checks at the time of hire. Of course, if you are rolling out a new policy, then you should communicate it to your current employees. The key is to get everyone on the same page on why these checks are necessary, and that any findings will be considered fairly.

Have a Clear Policy

It is important that your policy on background checks is clearly communicated to your employees. Again, this should happen at the time of hire where possible. It should state what findings would be actionable, and what steps would follow if such information is uncovered. Grounds for termination should be well-defined and reasonably constrained.

It is critical that any background check policy is applied equally. If any group within your organization observes they are being screened where others are not, it could be grounds for discrimination. At the least, it would likely create resentment within your company.

Risks of Employee Screening

No matter how well-handled a background check policy might be, there is always a risk when screening employees. The most obvious issue may be that the employee could feel their employer doesn’t trust them. This could damage the employer-employee relationship significantly if the true intent of this act is mismanaged.

Another risk is that the findings might not be relevant. You might learn something about your employee that influences how you view them, even if it isn’t a fair way to appraise them in terms of job performance. A new background check on an existing employee might not yield any new information to change their status with the company. In addition, anything you find in a check that falls outside of the past seven years is not actionable.

After Screening

If actionable information comes to light about an employee, the next steps should be based on policies that are already in place. An employee should be given a chance to dispute findings, and there should be a simple process for them to do this.

It is important to note that the databases that are used in some background screening could have outdated or inaccurate information. It is best to use a reputable background check company to avoid misinformation.

Also, any decisions relating to action taken against the employee should be made solely for the safety and benefit of the company and its policies, never because of biases or prejudices. There are laws to protect employees against the mishandling of information found in background checks.

Existing Employee Background Check

You Can Trust Affordable Background Checks

Affordable Background Checks offers your organization accurate screenings at rates that fit your budget. We can provide complete reports on criminal records, contact information, legal judgments, birth records, employment history, and more.

We also offer a range of services including criminal background checks, employee pre-screening, and background verification. Let us assist you in carrying out these important steps so you can keep your business and employees safe and running efficiently. Contact us today to speak to one of our friendly experts.

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Gavin Muirhead

Gavin Muirhead has been involved in developing products for background checks and improving online experiences in the background screening industry since 2012. He is the lead author and editor of Affordable Background Checks.