By Hayes Hunt and Jonathan Cavalier
While the EEOC’s position on the use of criminal background checks adds to the time and cost of implementing a screening policy, there remain many benefits to screening potential candidates, including:
Screening required by law. Some jobs, including those in child care, teaching, health care, law enforcement, finance and government require the screening of candidates for criminal records and disqualification of applicants convicted of certain crimes. Employers in these fields must implement and follow screening policies and make hiring and termination decisions accordingly.
Screening to reduce attrition. Criminal background screening can increase the quality of the applicant pool of the workforce by reducing employee turnover, increasing satisfaction and reducing disciplinary issues. Simply put, recidivism and attrition could be twins.
A safer workplace. Violence in the workplace has increased dramatically in recent years. Background checks can help eliminate potential employees with anger management issues from the applicant pool. Also, theft is always a concern at the office.
Reduction in the risk of negligent hiring liability. Under a theory of negligent hiring, employers can be held responsible for injuries caused by their employees if the employer failed to exercise reasonable care in hiring the employee. Obvious examples include failing to screen out a truck driver with multiple DUIs who then causes an accident; failing to screen out a convicted child molester from a position at a day care center; the hiring of a security guard with prior convictions for assault who then unjustifiably harms a patron; or failure to screen out a convicted stalker who then harasses a co-worker. The risk of negligent hiring liability can be substantially reduced through criminal background screening.