Continuous background checks a growing safety trend

Continuous background checks a growing safety trend

With such high-profile incidents as an Uber Eats driver in Atlanta who allegedly shot and killed a customer in February, employers have increasingly been inspired to root out problematic employees. And for good reason! Today, studies show 33% of employees admit to stealing money from employers and that 30% of business failures are related to employee theft.

Trying to balance privacy concerns with mounting pressure to create safe work environments is never easy. GroupOne Background Screening recommends a policy of continuous background checks on employees. Healthcare and financial service workers have utilized periodic screening for years, but the practice of continuous checks – or GroupOne’s package of “ReChecks” – is spreading to other sectors including manufacturing and retail.

The growing trend is inspired by a fear that an employee may have committed a serious crime since being hired. At GroupOne, we see some of our clients have adopted periodic criminal monitoring, oftentimes on hourly workers with access to cash.

Today, continuous background checks are easier to do because more police departments and court systems are online, meaning more data is readily available. As recently as a decade ago, much of the information was on paper, and continuous monitoring was almost impossible.

Organizations recently adopting such programs include Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport, which moved last year to continuous screening of its employees after previously doing checks every two years. The Chicago public school system, responding to a Chicago Tribune expose last year on sexual abuse in schools, promptly rechecked the backgrounds of 45,000 employees and thousands more vendors and volunteers before the school year began. Periodic screening will soon become the norm, according to a school spokesperson.

The Fair Credit Reporting Act, which governs how and when companies conduct background checks, requires employee consent, and if a company plans to discipline or fire a worker based on ReCheck findings, it must give the employee an opportunity to review the data for errors or explain any mitigating circumstances.

While there are legal risks in doing background checks, there are always negligent-hire risks in not doing them. GroupOne recommends that employers strike a proper balance when doing ReChecks. Decide what works best for your company.

Uber is planning to reveal its process for conducting continuous background checks on its drivers, one of the first large companies to go public with such monitoring plans. Uber and Lyft are both under fire from local governments to keep better tabs on drivers’ criminal records and traffic infractions. The new technology it’s investing in will tap data sources covering most new criminal offenses and send notifications when a driver is involved.

To date, 31 states have adopted “ban-the-box” policies, which prohibit government agencies from asking about criminal records on an initial application, in the hope that candidates will get a fair chance at a job.

While more companies are adopting continuous background checks to root out misbehavior, other U.S. companies are hiring ex-felons to fill jobs in a country with a 3.8 percent unemployment rate. While the two trends appear to contradict each other, GroupOne supports the “ban-the-box” movement and also believes our ReChecks packages can help you avoid any potential liability.

Employee and customer safety are top priorities at GroupOne, and our ReChecks packages are a consistent way for your company to continue to meet safety standards in an ever-changing marketplace.

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