A background check is designed to provide a broader picture of an applicant when they come to apply for a job.  As a part of the decision process, the employment screening should provide enough information that helps to validate whether or not the person being considered is worth the opportunity that is available.

In 2012, the EEOC provided a new guidance wherein companies have been encouraged to utilize background information, specifically criminal records, on a case by case basis.  The guidance provides an outline for companies to use to determine whether or not the criminal conviction truly coincides with the position, and if it does not, then it should not be used for employment consideration.

For companies that do not do background checks, or do not utilize a company that provides thorough and accurate information via an employment screening, they can put themselves at risk for making a bad hire.  Recently, during a routine traffic stop, a police officer was shot in the head by a taxi driver.  The police officer survived the shooting, and is in turn suing the cab company, alleging negligent hiring, stating that the company did not perform any type of adequate or effective background screening.

According to the items published about the driver’s record, there had been no proof of criminal violence, however, over the course of time there were several traffic violations.  According to the EEOC guidance and the use of employment screening information for decision making purposes, the type of information found via the applicant’s criminal history could have kept him from being hired for a position that such as the one he held.  Obviously, a background check would not have shown any sort of violence, but it would have provided the company with an understanding of misdemeanor driving incidences.

A background check can provide necessary information about an individual, whether it is an employment verification, an education verification, a drug test or a criminal record search or any other of a number of searches that can be conducted.  As provided in the example above, nothing would have provided the knowledge of the employee exhorting to violence via an employment screening, however, evidence surrounding his driving abilities would have been found and could have been used by the company as a determining factor, thus limiting their liability, which is the key for any company looking to hire.

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