I remember a certain children’s show when I was little that I loved. It had puppets and people interacting and having fun. It had educational lessons, I learned about counting from a friendly vampire and episodes were “brought to you by the letter (you fill in the blank)…” . There was catchy music that caught my attention too, one song was about “rubber ducky” and the other was about “Who are the people in your neighborhood?” As I have grown over the years, I still recall these memories, but I have changed the words to the “Who are the people in your neighborhood song” to fit my time as a Loss Prevention Manager. My version goes something like, “A criminal is a person in your company, in your company, in your c-o-m-p-a-n-y, oh a criminal is a person in your company, a person that you meet each day!” I changed the words to fit my day so sometimes it was a criminal employee and other times a shoplifter. However I re-worded the song, it always made me laugh. I kind of do that to myself, much to the chagrin of my wife (she does not think I am as funny as I think I am). While this is funny to me, there is an element of truth to it. Who ARE the people in your company? Who is that person sharing an office space with their co-workers? Did you conduct a pre-employment screening of your staff members before bringing them on board? If so, how thorough was that screening or background check? If not, you need to ask yourself what you really know about that person.
I know what you are thinking, “I don’t need to have anyone do background checks on my employees, I called their references before I hired them”. I have a couple of concerns I would like to point out about this strategy. First, if the reference was a former employer most employers today can only confirm if an employee worked for them and what dates they worked there. They may tell you if the employee is rehireable or not. In order to avoid legal issues most employers will not discuss the quality of the employees work or workplace issues they may have had while employed. All you are left with is a very innocuous report that tells you little about your prospective new hire. Are the references you called personal references? OK, let’s be serious for a moment, are the personal references you have on your resume people that may not like you or have worked with you and would not have good things to say? How are you sure you aren’t calling the prospective employee’s mom (not too many mom’s out there are going to bad-mouth their kid)? An employee background check done professionally will uncover criminal history, verify school or education information, and validate employment history and addresses. A pre-employment screening may also be used to get driving record information if the employee would be in the position to have to drive a company vehicle or even use their own car in the execution of their job responsibilities.
If you still aren’t convinced of the need for pre-employment screening, let me share one case in which an employer is involved in a lawsuit, in part, for failing to conduct a background check that resulted in one employee injuring another. From an article in Littler.com, by Jennifer Mora, September 16, 2015, “State Appellate Court Considers Employer’s Duty to Conduct Criminal Background Checks”, the writer reports on a case in which a temporary staffing agency placed a plaintiff in a supervisory position at a rice mill and he was assaulted one night by another worker who had been hired by the staffing agency who had become insubordinate and assaulted the plaintiff. The plaintiff suffered damage to his teeth and shoulder. The article goes on to say that the allegation against the staffing agency is that they failed to conduct a background check on the assaulting employee. The assaulting employee stated in pre-employment paperwork he had never been convicted of a felony, but his criminal record reflected prior misdemeanor convictions which included assault.
By conducting employee background checks you don’t have to wonder, “Who is the person in your neighborhood?” Sing another tune like, “Happy days are here again”. Keep your workplace safe and avoid possible legal problems. Look into the benefits of background checks.
For more information on background checks, contact us or call 1.770.426.0547