BAD BACKGROUND CHECKS CAN PROMPT LAWSUITS: Five ways to reduce the risk of legal woes when doing employee security checks.

Author:Lasky, Alan
 
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During the past few years, litigation has dramatically increased in employment background screening, due to increased regulations and scrutiny of the background screening process by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), and other federal, state and industry-specific auditing agencies. Recently, employment candidates have filed a significant number of class action lawsuits, causing companies to pay out millions of dollars in settlements, and creating a wake-up call for organizations to take more time and care in reviewing their background screening and hiring process.

Franchise organizations have high risk, especially when located in multiple states with various hiring managers where there is a strong need for franchise owners and managers to understand these applicable state and federal laws while standardizing their program across the organization. Here are five important areas to review with your legal counsel, pertaining to your employment screening program, to help reduce risk:

1 FOLLOWING THE FTC AND EEOC GUIDANCE FACTORS/REQUIREMENTS

In recent years, both the EEOC and FTC have focused more on the topic of employment screening, making sure organizations are fair and just in their practice of hiring candidates. In April 2012, the EEOC launched updated guidance factors, emphasizing to the point of mandating how organizations use criminal records and how the records impact Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, prohibiting discrimination based on race, color, religion, sex, or national origin of a candidate. In addition, the FTC and EEOC created documents to educate both the employer and potential employee on the proper background screening process. It is important for employers to follow these guidance factors because they are best practice procedures to help reduce the risk of perceived and real discrimination.

2 WORK WITH AN ACCREDITED BACKGROUND SCREENING FIRM

Although there are hundreds of screening firms in the United States, there are only a handful that have taken the time and care of becoming an accredited firm with the National Association of Professional Background Screeners (NAPBS). This important accreditation certifies that an employment screening firm has been audited for proper and compliant processes and procedures, securely protects private information and understands both state and federal requirements. You should always ask your screening firm whether they have...

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