Should Employer Conduct Employee Background Checks?

By: Khem Raj

Do you remember this old adage "an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure."?

One of the most important aspects of doing business is the people you deal with everyday, such as your employees and your business partners. Whether you are a human resource manager of a large corporation or a small business owner, you want to make sure that you hire the right employees. Today it is very common for corporations to perform background checks on their hiring prospects before they make a hiring decision. Just as everyone who goes into an airport is screened for everyone's safety, safe hiring and pre-employment screening protects employers and employees alike. Because background checks reveal more information than what you gain from resumes or interviews, you might be surprised by the results of a background check even you though the candidate was a nice guy when you had an interview with him.

For some industries such as healthcare, home care providers, background screening is required by federal or state law. Companies can be legally liable for negligent hiring if they fail to uncover a job applicant's incompetence when checking their criminal records, references or general background.

According to an article in Nursing Management magazine:
"In the cases where employees have been injured in the workplace by co-workers, and it is later discovered that the company did not check references and criminal convictions or get a background report-which would have readily disclosed that this person had a problem-the companies have been sued for negligent hiring." (Nursing management, April, 1996)

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