As an HR professional, you’re almost certainly aware that businesses are under more pressure than ever to identify and crack down on workers who might steal, harass, or even commit violent acts in the workplace. High profile employee misconduct has dealt critical blows to the brand reputations of billion-dollar companies as diverse as Uber, the Weinstein Company, the Dallas Mavericks, and Fox News. These are all powerful companies. If it can happen to them, it can happen to you, too.
That’s why some businesses—including Uber—are experimenting with continuous, rolling background checks. It’s an attempt to cover all bases and ensure that nothing is missed or skipped over on an employment screen that could come back to haunt your business. Was anything missed the first time around? Do you really know who’s working for you? Rolling background checks are the latest attempt at putting such questions to bed in an era of high-profile workplace harassment and assault scandals.
Continuous background screening in not unprecedented. Healthcare and financial service workers have gone through extra screening for years, but the practice of running periodic checks or continuous checks is spreading to other sectors, including manufacturing and retail, within the past six to 12 months, according to a recent report cited by Bloomberg.
Continuous background checks are easier to do now because more police departments and court systems are online, meaning that exponentially more data is available, and the technology to gather and analyze the data is much more sophisticated. As recently as a decade ago, much of the information was on paper, and continuously monitoring wasn’t even possible
The advantages of rolling background checks are fairly obvious. They make it far less likely that any criminal behavior on the part of an employee will slip past HR unnoticed, limiting employers’ potential liability. However, there are some critical considerations that must be made before instituting a continuous background check policy. Your HR team must be well-trained to understand and interpret background screening results. Criminal charges from the distant past that did not result in a conviction, for example, may turn up on a background check without disqualifying someone for employment.
Also, the Fair Credit Reporting Act, which governs how and when companies conduct background checks, requires employee consent. If a company plans to discipline or fire a worker based on the findings of a background screening, it must give the employee an opportunity to review the data for errors or explain any mitigating circumstances.
The best way to implement an effective, rolling background screening policy is to work with an experienced, reputable employment screening company that can offer stellar support and fast turnaround times. If you’d like to learn more about what continuous background screening might look like for your company, contact the background screening experts at KRESS today.