No one wants to find themselves in the middle of a lawsuit, particularly not businesses with profits to acquire and employees to manage. However, some employers argue that they can sucessfully save a buck or two by foregoing criminal background checks on prospective employees and relying on intuition instead.
Employment law experts say that intuition alone comes with a heavier price than an employee screening fee. In fact, solely relying on one’s gut when making a hiring decision may spare the cost of a background check, but the employer may end up paying much more in the end by taking the risk of failing to screen potential employees. Not only do the simplest background checks illuminate a person’s history and general character, but they safeguard businesses from being vulnerable to two main types of lawsuits:
1. Negligent hiring lawsuits occur when an employee commits a criminal act in the workplace and the company did not run a background check that could have divulged the employee’s propensity to commit the crime.
2. Negligent retention and supervision lawsuits occur when a company ignores employee behavior that endangers the business itself or the nature of the workplace for other employees. If an employer knows an employee has an issue that requires correction or termination and does not investigate the situation and/or act on the problem, that employer only invites legal trouble. Employers carry a much heavier legal responsibility when they do not screen their employees.
Forking out the cash for a simple background check fee is much easier than shoveling money into a lawsuit, but employers should also make sure that they aren’t being cheap when choosing a third-party to conduct their employee screenings. Legitimate entities that specialize in background checks will provide a comprehensive report and follow FCRA guidelines for screening employees. Anyone looking to make a hiring decision should likewise know the legal rights of everyone involved in the background screening process.
Background checks do require money, and a decent background check is going to cost more than a negligent one that doesn’t obtain information from a variety of reputable sources. However, when one considers that background checks give businesses a viable reputation for hiring quality candidates and avoid vulnerability to lawsuits, money spent on legally vetting employees (combined with educated intuition) is nothing short of the best investment.