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Investing in high quality employees should be the goal of every business.  When it comes to nursing homes and retirement homes, this should be the number one priority.  Elderly persons are easy targets for theft, particularly in a nursing home setting.  While criminal background checks for healthcare workers are common place, not all states have a prescribed level of background check which can then lead to gaps in what information is looked at or investigated.

When background checks are conducted by nursing homes, they must use the EEOC’s guidance on the use of criminal history in employment decisions, and use any information found in a way that makes sense.  Histories of abuse, fraudulent activity, sexual assault, and neglect are examples of things that might be considered grounds for not hiring someone in a nursing home situation.  It is these things, however, that often times go unnoticed by nursing homes when they do not take the proper steps to ensure the people they hire are the right people for the job.  Criminal background checks can offer this type of information, and mandating a particular level of employment screening is one way to ensure the safety of our elderly population.

In a recent story on the Today Show, it was brought to light how easy it is for criminal activity to take place in a nursing home setting.  In the instance of the nursing home they reported on, there were no criminal background checks completed prior to hiring.  The woman in question was found to have embezzled thousands of dollars from the accounts of seniors.  While this type of activity may not have been found on an employment screening if this was her first offense, it does provide an additional safeguard against anyone that has been convicted of this type of crime in the past when it comes to making a hiring decision.

There are a lot of arguments for and against the use of criminal background checks.  Those that are opposed fear that applicants with criminal history will be discriminated against by companies that do not want to hire ANYONE with a criminal history, rather than determining whether or not the prior crimes are related to the job in question.  Advocates of utilizing criminal records in an employment process support their use because they can provide vital information to a hiring manager about whether or not an employee is fit to hold a particular position.  In the case of the nursing home employee noted above and others who work in the nursing home field, criminal background checks can be the difference between keeping our elderly safe or putting them in a harmful situation of abuse, neglect or theft.

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