One of the worst situations a company can find themselves in is embroiled in the middle of a negligent hiring lawsuit. All it takes is one incident that makes it into the news that concerns your company and an employee or ex-employee to hurt your business standards and damage your reputation. You have to be careful in all of your hiring and firing decisions in order to make sure that you do not become involved in a nasty lawsuit. Your company could be liable for criminal acts that employees commit while they are on the clock.
Many companies use pre-employment background checks on their applicants in an effort to avoid future lawsuits. When a company documents everything they do to discover information about a potential employee, whether it’s a background check or interviews with previous employers, they are protecting themselves from having their own reputation ruined.
Employers really need to ascertain the backgrounds of potential employees before they are hired. They must determine through employee interviews, reference checks, talking with previous employers, as well as through public record sources, whether or not the potential employee is a good fit for the company or if there is something in their background that will keep them from being able to do the job that they applied for. While some companies want to look for this information on their own, they need to know that’s just not possible to ascertain the entire scope of a candidate’s background online.
Criminal records, for example, are a matter of public record but employers need to dig deep to get all of the facts to make sure the information they are getting pertains to their particular applicant.
This is why a professionally performed background check on your potential employee could save you millions of dollars in lost revenue in the long run including avoiding a negligent hiring lawsuit. Honest communications between companies regarding a past employee is becoming more of the norm as the threat of defamation suits appears less likely. The need for a free flow of information and the screening of potential employees has become necessary to save your company money and aggravation.
There are currently 26 states that have enacted legislation granting employers qualified immunity from lawsuits that are in connection with information exchange from a previous to a potential employer. If the potential employer has acted in good faith and has tried to gather all the information they can about their potential employee, that company is protected by the state.
A company can also protect themselves by adopting a companywide policy that tells their employees how to consistently conduct a pre-employment background check and investigation. This should be based on the position level the potential employee is going for. The investigation should include all applicable public records, references, and information from a past employer. Additionally, information should flow freely from both directions.
When you adopt a pre-hiring background check policy, you are protecting yourself from hiring the wrong people who could do something wrong and leave you in a very embarrassing position that could’ve been easily prevented.