The use of post-employment background checks for continuous monitoring is on the rise across the U.S. With police records now being digital, employers could learn of an employee’s arrest soon after booking. But using such technology can also raise serious ethical questions for employers.

Today, about 93% of companies conduct background checks as part of their hiring process. But only 1 in 5 employers conduct background checks after employment.

Background checks can include employment, credit, education and professional license verification, as well as criminal and driving record checks. Post-employment background checks can be either continuous or annual.

According to a recent survey by the Professional Background Screening Association, about 19% of organizations conduct post-hire background checks, an increase from 12% in 2020. But make no mistake, conducting annual background checks can create problems.

As the old saying goes, “Be careful what you ask for!” If you discover an unexpected arrest, are you prepared to let said employee go? An employer that does not take action against the employee, perhaps a long-time valued worker, could potentially risk serious legal issues.

Can you ignore the positives?

There’s a strong case to be made for periodic employee background checks, especially for jobs involving public safety. Do your employees work with patients at a hospital? Do they drive a company truck?

Companies that only run background checks when hiring may never learn of a new charge on someone’s criminal history involving, for example, drug possession or driving under the influence. If an employee has been arrested for a serious charge, you need to be aware of the arrest. Continuous background checks not only make your employees and patients safer, but your company avoids costly legal fines.

Job candidates might pass an initial background check, but that does not mean a background check will stay the same over time? Periodic checks can also include monitoring for lapses in professional licenses, such as those held by healthcare employees, which could put hospitals at risk.

Simply put, continuous or periodic monitoring of your employees is a good way to maintain a “piece of mind” while also avoiding a potential crisis.

The information and opinions expressed are for educational purposes only and are based on current practice, industry-related knowledge and business expertise. The information provided shall not be construed as legal advice, express or implied.