Criminal best background checker are no longer relegated to employers at places such as intelligence agencies, nuclear facilities, rifle ranges, and hospitals. These days, average companies both large and small, in both the service and manufacturing sectors, in big cities, rural towns, and suburbs all routinely opt for criminal background checks. In their eyes, rejecting potential troublemakers easily justifies the costs of doing this research.
It’s not that businesses such as restaurants, movie theaters, and laundromats are suddenly dealing in “sensitive” information. Rather, owners simply want to ensure the integrity of their organizations, as well as healthy enough profits to stay solvent. Employee theft, which many cashiers and ticket-takers consider “friendly favors,” can drive even the most popular companies out of business, especially when said employees aren’t adequately supervised.
The Value of Criminal Background Checks
By using criminal background checks, owners and managers can forestall a host of serious problems. While theft certainly qualifies as a “serious” crime, the damage is usually strictly monetary. Cash, information, and other valuable property may disappear, but for the most part theft (unless it’s armed theft) is not considered a violent crime.
One of the most valuable uses of criminal background checks is in precluding the hiring of violent criminals who have been charged with, and in some cases convicted of, assault and battery, domestic abuse, manslaughter, rape, or even murder. Why would someone knowingly hire a murderer? There are two reasons, really. One, he or she wouldn’t do so willingly and would fall victim to falsified information. Two, anti-discrimination laws have made it more difficult for employers to get the proverbial dirt on their prospective hires.
The Ethics of Criminal Background Checks
Like most privacy issues, the case of criminal background checks is not easily resolved. From an employer’s point of view, he or she should have some recourse available in stemming theft, absenteeism, drug use, negligence, and abuse. Courts, however, don’t necessarily see this from an employer’s standpoint. To judges sworn to uphold the Constitution, it’s the citizen’s rights that mustn’t be trampled. Therein lies the rub.
While different judges have their own interpretations of right to privacy laws, as well as their own inherent biases, the law makes it fairly clear just what is legal and what is illegal for employers to ask of their candidates. Namely, the Federal Trade Commission’s (FTC’s) Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) details the guidelines for difficult questions related to credit report information. Here, credit reports do not refer strictly to one’s spending habits, but to any type of info gleaned by consumer reporting agencies (CRAs) such as tenant histories and medical backgrounds.
It is the goal of the FCRA to ensure that all information reported to CRAs is, above all else, accurate and complete. Furnishers of such information are bound to the highest standards of ethics in their data-collection and reporting methods, but this is not a safeguard against all possible errors of commission or omission. Consequently, there’s a chance you may have had misinformation about you reported to a potential boss or landlord. At the same time, you, as that boss or landlord, may have received erroneous info.
Conducting criminal background checks of your own can help shore up some of these problems. While they’re by no means exhaustive, criminal background checks cull information from multiple databases at the local, county, and state levels. As a result, that body of information is less likely to contain errors and omissions and is more likely to reflect even recent changes to a candidate’s records.