The Background Check Policy establishes guidelines for hiring investigations in order to protect the security, safety and health of employees, clients and others in your organization. The Background Check Policy also safeguards the assets and resources of your company.
Our Background Check Policy applies to all existing and potential company employees. (12 pages, 2245 words)
Why do you need this? The Company may be liable for any acts committed by an employee, acting within (and sometime outside of) the scope of employment. Employees with previous histories of theft, assault, aggressive behavior, or inability to get along with others may pose a severe liability problem for the employer. This is why the courts require that “reasonable inquiries” into a person’s background be performed before employment. These may include, things such as an Application Form, Personal Interviews and References, Criminal History and Incarceration Records (within the last 7 years), Driver’s Record, Credit Record, Bankruptcy Check (within the last 10 years), Substance Screen, Honesty Test, and more.
Responsibilities: The Human Resources Manager is responsible for overseeing the execution of background checks before extending an offer of employment.
Definitions: Consumer Report. A report prepared by a Consumer Reporting Agency. This report contains information about a person’s personal and credit characteristics, character, general reputation, and lifestyle.
- Background and Hiring
- Investigative Consumer Reporting
- Employee Reference Checks
- Motor Vehicle Record (MVR) Inquiry
References Used in the Background Check Policy
- Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA)
- State Credit Reporting Acts
Forms Included in the Background Check Policy
- Employee Investigation Checklist Form
- Employee Background Authorization Form
- New References Authorization Form
- Reference Check Survey Form
Background checks should be performed on applicants who’ve succeeded at the interview phase of the hiring process. By the end of the interview, the applicant should be asked to read and sign a form authorizing your organization to conduct a background check, including a criminal check and a check of past employers. This form should include a statement (“waiver”) that both you and the prior employer are released from financial liability from any suit that may arise from obtaining or releasing background data as long as the data provided are accurate.
Remember — if you hire an employee without performing an adequate background check and he/she later endangers other employees or customers, you may be held criminally or civilly liable. Look for gaps in employment, verify addresses, confirm qualifications and education, talk to past employers, and verify professional references. Once again, keep careful, thorough documentation of all background checks.
A credit check — which has become more popular in recent years, regardless of the type of job offered — cannot be performed unless the applicant has approved it in writing, thereby releasing you from liability. A credit check should be performed only if an applicant’s financial condition is relevant to the job (e.g., bank teller, loan officer).
If employment is denied due to the results of a credit check, the applicant must be notified in writing of the company decision and must be given the name and address of the credit reporting organization that provided the decisive information. Many states have specific “employment credit check” regulations; check with your state’s labor department or division of employment security for more information.
Federal and state anti-discrimination laws place legal limits on a company’s ability to obtain arrest and/or conviction records. A criminal background check should only include convictions. Furthermore, only a record of conviction can be the basis for rejection, and then only if business necessity requires it (for example, a bank may reasonably refuse to hire someone convicted of embezzlement for a teller or teller supervisor position).
Again, many state laws are more restrictive than their federal counterparts; this should always be considered when a criminal check is required. Some states require an employer to conduct criminal record checks of applicants for jobs that involve working with minors (e.g., day care, teaching, coaching) or in health care; always check with your state for guidance on criminal record checks.