Background screening potential new hires is key in order to choose the most qualified candidate who is the least risk to the workplace. However, companies must take precautions with their background check process to ensure they are screening in a fair, consistent manner. Otherwise, you can end up being sued for negligent hiring!
Here are the ABCs of avoiding hiring lawsuits with background screening.
A: Adhere to adverse action procedures.
HR professionals must understand and execute adverse hiring procedures if they decide in whole or part to deny employment based on information obtained in a background report. Pre-adverse action letters must be sent, and then a few days (usually five or more) and a final adverse action letter is sent. Follow this every single time to avoid litigation.
B: Build a process relevant to the position.
Blanket policies are a surefire way to get sued. Design background check policies based on the job description, and only screen information that relates. For example, a stockroom employee most likely doesn't need a degree, but an engineer definitely would. These two positions should be screened different. Otherwise, you may face EEOC charges.
C: Commit to screening consistency.
Did we mention to not "go with your gut?" Your gut, my friend, can get you into trouble. Don't order a criminal history search on everyone with tattoos, but nobody else. If you look at criminal history for one candidate, review it for every candidate for that position. All the time. No exceptions. We are serious.
D: Declare discrimination a big NO-NO.
Discrimination is one of the easiest ways to land you in court. Train all hiring managers to avoid discriminating against protected classes.Treat each applicant the same throughout the entire hiring process, and base the hiring decision on the person's qualifications, not their sex, race, or religion (or any other discriminatory facet).
E: Educate yourself on state and federal laws.
Laws vary widely depending on the state. It's vital for HR professionals to stay abreast of specific state laws concerning hiring. Ban the box laws are an example of how states, and even cities, pass laws that don't apply in other areas. Follow the laws to the letter.
Hiring lawsuits are on the rise, and they are expensive and time consuming. Taking the time to implement these important background screening tips in your hiring process tips to keep you in compliance and out of court!