This practice helps companies reduce their risk and follow federal and state guidelines while also allowing employers to keep tabs on employees who seemed like good hires but may have, perhaps, committed a crime in the time since starting employment.
Federal and state laws require post-hire background checks on employees in certain fields. Many states, for example, require background checks on individuals working in the healthcare field, including doctors, pharmacists and even home healthcare workers. These checks help to ensure patient safety and protect against potential drug abuse.
Changes in Employees' Outside Life
A seemingly smart hire does not always stay that way. Sometimes, changes in someone's life outside of the workplace can allow your employee to amass criminal charges that would have seemed unlikely, even impossible at the time of hiring. Drinking or drug habits, financial struggles, and stresses at home can create situations that will take your employees' focus off of work and potentially lead them to conduct criminal behavior while on the job.
Protect Yourself from Lawsuits
Even if there is no state requirement that you report, you should be aware of the potential for civil lawsuits for negligent hiring or retention. Though your business may be doing everything seemingly correct, a third party could still sue for negligently hiring or retaining a worker who causes injury or other harm. If, for example, your employee is convicted for theft and then embezzles money from your clients, you could be liable for keeping that employee on your payroll.
Changes in Job Duties
Job duties can change over time. An employee who was once a low security risk can gain additional duties over time or get promoted to a position of authority within your company. A regular screening can help you determine whether someone could be a danger if placed behind the wheel of a vehicle, if put in charge of certain funds, if authorized to handle the care of children or patients.
Though some states may require payment for even basic background checks, other states make it very easy for the public to find out when a person has been charged or convicted of a crime. Online databases and registries allow the public to look up individuals and some even detail where that person works. You could find yourself caught unaware that you are employing someone who might not be fit to carry out the duties of his or her job.
A post-hire background check is a simple step you can take to protect yourself from potential lawsuits and federal or state sanctions. It also protects your customers, and as a result, a criminal background check can also help your company maintain its public image.