The Huffington Post published an article decrying the overly discriminating policies of employers utilizing background checks as part of their employment screening program. As is the case with many articles on this subject, emotion overrules a more pragmatic approach. It is nice to take up the banner for the underdog and demand that everyone get a second chance. But this is a tight job market and many employers will hire whom they see fit. It is, after all, a business and as such the employer has the right to make its own determination about its hiring practices.
That being said there are laws in place that employers must obey. Laws about ethnic background, gender, sexual preferences, etc., that if an employer ignores would prove discriminatory. But then there are other considerations. Some of these regard the inaccuracies found in such articles as that written in the Huffington Post. The Post article may accuse employers of disregarding employment laws and the FCRA regulations, but it is unwise to make a case by inaccurately reporting the employment screening process. Simply put, there are certain aspects that just aren’t accurate.
Here is what I posted on the Huffington Post in response to that article. Word limitations prevented me from taking it further. However, this is the thrust of my point…
As the co-founder of Corra Group, which specializes in employment screening, I would like to address certain misnomers within this article. Simple arrests are not recorded in employment background checks. Expunged records are just that, records that have been removed from the County Courthouse. A screening service should not be able to find any criminal records that have been expunged. If they are still found in the courthouse, the screening service is not supposed to report these records to its client. While criminal records may linger on the databases, the final word, is the county courthouse. If the record is expunged, it is either unavailable and not reported.
While I believe certain employers can be overly discriminating or even draconian with respect to their hiring practices, we as a background screening service discover recent and sometimes violent crimes, sex offenses and horrendous felonies that have committed by job applicants. These are crimes in which the other members of the workforce would be discomfited, should that candidate become their co-worker.
Should the employer hire people with violent records, and should that employee act out on the job, then it is the employer that bears the burden of responsibility. With workplace violence on the increase, should another employee be killed or injured, then liability falls with the employee. The same public that may be sympathetic ten minutes earlier, suddenly blames the “now negligent” employer for not screening its candidates.