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February 28, 2018

Avoid Hiring Lawsuits with Background Checks: The ABC's

ABCs of a background check.jpgConducting a background check on job applicants is key in deciding on  the most qualified person who is the least risk to the workplace. However, companies must take precautions with their background screening process to make sure they are treating job seekers fairly and in a uniform manner.

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.  

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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). red_string_on_finger

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. 

Companies who have made hiring mistakes can tell you they can result in costly litigation and tons of valuable time. are expensive. By implementing these important background check tips into your hiring process, you can stay in compliance and out of court! 

Susan McCullah

Susan McCullah is the Marketing Project Manager for Data Facts Background Screening Division.

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