UPDATED February 10, 2022 This piece has been updated to reflect the emergence of new technology
Christian Mathews Security Writer
A bad employee can do more harm than good to an organization. For this reason, most organizations do a proper background check on newly recruited employees to avoid any mishaps in the future. If you are part of your organization’s HR team and wondering how to do an employee background check, here is an easy way out for you.
1How To Do An Employee Background Check
Let’s cut to the chase and know how to do an employee background check. But before that, it’s essential to know the ethical steps you can adopt to conduct background checks as it can be illegal to do so in certain instances.
Employee background screening policy
Employee background screening policy refers to having a consistent screening policy to offer transparency in background check-ups. It should include the desired procedure undertaken to perform a background check that should apply to all employees joining the organization irrespective of their background.
Get legal advice
To avoid causing legal issues for your company, having a lawyer would be helpful. A lawyer can handle all the legal matters like taking permissions for finding sensitive information on the potential employees.
Use FCRA compliant services
To follow the safest practices regarding background checks, use FCRA complaint documents that will guide you throughout the background check process. FCRA or Fair Credit Reporting Act mentions all the do’s and don’ts while conducting a background check.
2Facebook Employee Background Check
Nowadays, a social media background check has also raised many eyebrows on its illegality. It may or may not be considered a breach of privacy, depending on your state rules and laws.
However, checking the Facebook account of a prospective employee provides an insight into an employee’s life, provided he has not kept his profile locked. This could help a bit in making a hiring decision, if not substantially.
Apart from Facebook background checks, companies also resort to checking other social media accounts like LinkedIn, Instagram, and so on. They can also potentially check online databases of employment screening services and such.
3How To Check Employee Criminal Background?
Various types of background checks can be conducted, and checking a criminal background of an employee is one of them.
An employee’s criminal background check entails checking on any pending court cases, felony, or misdemeanor cases under the name of the employee. This is done to ensure that employees don’t pose to be a danger to other employees of the organization.
In some cases, it is also necessary to get the employee’s permission before doing criminal background check-up. For this purpose, getting a criminal background check consent form filled by the employee would be helpful.
4Can You Charge An Employee For A Background Check?
For sure, employee background checks can turn out to be an expensive ordeal. Certain background check companies pose to provide free services, but there is always a catch. They may not entirely follow FCRA complaints when giving free services.
Some states find it reasonable to recover the background checks costs from employees, while some may not. There are strict rules that restrict the employer from charging for background checks in states like Iowa, Kansas, Vermont, Kentucky, District of Columbia, and California. However, in the majority of states, there is no federal law that may restrict an employer from charging for a background check from a prospective employee.
In the best interests of the employees, one can only limit these expenses by only finding the necessary information on an employee and only paying for what an employer need.
5How Far Back Does An Employee Background Check Go?
Depending on the type of background check you, the time length for which it should be conducted varies accordingly.
For instance, criminal and criminal background checks take far back up to the past 7 years of court records. Bankruptcy checks can go back up to 10 years, and credit history checks should be conducted for the past 7 to 10 years at least. Similarly, driving records check could back up to 3 to 10 years, and some of these checks are to be conducted even for the lifetime like educational history, professional license verification, and employment history.
6Can An Employee Request A Copy Of Their Background Check?
Talking in favor of an employee, yes, they can request a copy of their background check from their employer. However, turning their employer’s final decision when not in their favor could be a real task but not impossible.
They have the right to know as to o what negative aspects have been turned down. If they find that the background check findings are not accurate, they can ask CRA to investigate it further. Within 30 days, CRA will reinvestigate the conclusions on their background check and notify the results.
If they are still unsatisfied, they can dispute the findings with their own statement.
7Can I Run A Background Check On An Existing Employee?
Yes, in some states, organizations have the right to run a background check screening on their current employees to keep the confidence in their employees alive.
There are certain stages during the employment period when doing a background check on employees will be meaningful. These cases can be:
- When an employee is being reassigned to a new project or a new task that demands different responsibilities.
- Also, when an employee is promoted, and his job description is completely changed following it, a background check can be done to ensure that the person is fit for promotion.
- After a workplace accident, doing background checks is essential to know the cause of the accident. This also ensures that proper steps are taken so that the accident doesn’t happen again in the future.
Employers can also resort to routine background checks providing there is a strong reason for doing the same. Doing a background checkup without employees’ consent in such cases would be unethical. However, it will be viable to do so if, while hiring, you had an original consent form filled, which stated that background checks can be conducted even after hiring.
Knowing who you are letting into your business can go a long way to prevent having to know how to handle a disgruntled employee at a later stage. As the saying goes, prevention is better than cure.