Do Small Businesses Need Employee Background Checks?

Small businesses are thriving in today’s economy and arguably are the lifeblood of many industries. As competition in the workforce heats up, it’s important for small business owners to protect their establishments from risk and choose candidates who fit the unique culture of their typically intimate and diverse workplaces.

While the economy and job market are up and candidates are flooding their resumes out, it’s become an important focus for CEOs at companies of all sizes to locate quality employees that add value to the company and are more likely to stick around for the long haul.

Employee background checks are actually a very critical step for small businesses. These checks won’t just notify you if the potential candidate has anything questionable in their past, but can also help you to understand the full picture of whether or not they’ll fit in with the rest of the company and daily requirements.

In addition, background investigations, or steps to verify an applicant’s education, references and understand their soft skills should all be taken.

Protecting your investment in employees and focusing on ROI are essential to the hiring process. Employees that don’t end up working out might be easier to come and go from a larger corporation, but for small businesses, the paperwork and costs associated with off-and on-boarding people can add up to be significant costs.

Handling the background check needs requires time and focus most small business owners also don’t have to dedicate sufficiently to the process. Hiring an established and professional service provider to assist with background screening provides peace of mind so you can make hiring choices with confidence.

Choose DataCheck to run a thorough background check, criminal record report, social security number verification report, driving record check, and a nationwide sex offender registry search on any applicant before they become a member of your team.

Save time and money, avoid negligent hiring lawsuits and provide a safer work environment.

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As Face-to-Face Interviews Decline, Pre-Employment Screening is Critical

Let’s face it: nobody likes job interviews. The old hiring standard of bringing a group of people in and asking them a series of sometimes-absurd and irrelevant questions has been under fire recently. Does the job interview really communicate a candidates’ qualifications? Does it serve any purpose except wasting everybody’s time? Are face-to-face job interviews going the way of the dodo?

Possibly, if you believe industry trends. The Wall Street Journal has reported that some employers trying to recruit in the tightest job market in decades are hiring some candidates sight unseen—after just one phone interview. This isn’t generally for high-powered jobs. But the trend could spread from retail and low-level office work into more professions. The reason, according to Peter Capelli, a professor of management at the University of Pennsylvania interviewed by the WSJ, is that most companies are “so bad at interviewing, and the interviews are so full of bias, that it’s not crazy to just ignore them altogether.”

What’s Wrong with Interviews?

Interviewing, it’s felt, only represents a person’s interviewing skills, and few people conduct interviews for their jobs, noted Suzanne Lucas writing for Inc. magazine.

“This job requires that I sit at a computer, analyze information, and write about it in a coherent and entertaining fashion (hopefully with the least typos possible),” wrote Lucas. “An accountant’s job is to make sure that all laws are followed and all numbers balance out. A computer coder’s job is to write clear, clean code. None of these jobs require great interview skills on a daily basis. Someone who is great at interviewing may not be all that great at doing the actual job, and vice versa.”

Interviewing candidates face-to-face is also expensive and time-consuming. Companies are instead relying on applications, resumes, recommendations, and telephone interviews. In some cases, they’re engaging would-be employees in short temporary assignments to test their work capability. They’re also putting research procedures in place to check out potential employees.

Should You Stop Interviewing?

Experts say that while eliminating interviewing altogether may not be in your company’s best interests, they do recommend shortening the process. What they don’t recommend, however, is foregoing the kind of pre-employment checks that can protect your business.

Why Are Pre-Employment Checks Important?

A pre-employment background check company like DataCheck can help you screen your potential employees for the information you need to know before you hire. DataCheck is a full-service background investigation company that specializes in obtaining pertinent information via criminal background checks, past employment, and background history information, and background investigations for DMV history, credit reports, drug screening, and many other issues.

Contact DataCheck via our website or call 800-253-3394 to discuss your employment background investigation needs today. 

What Do EU GDPR Rules Mean for Employee Background Checks?

 

As a consumer, you may have noticed a spike recently in the number of data sharing agreements you’ve had to make when you use apps and websites. There’s a reason for this, and it originates in the European Union. Officially called the “General Data Protection Regulation” 2016/679, the EU GDPR is a new law that updates and enforces data protection and privacy for all individuals within the EU and the European Economic Area.

It was approved in April of 2016 and went into effect on May 25th of this year. Since the Internet doesn’t have borders, most companies have found they need to follow the rules. This includes anyone engaged in a hiring process that might touch EU and EEA citizens since these investigations involve collecting a lot of personally identifiable information.

How Does the EU GDPR Work?

Primarily, the rule governs personally identifiable information (personal data) of individuals in the EU, and applies to any enterprise doing business – even virtual business — in the EU, regardless of location. Essentially, it doesn’t matter where your organization is located…if you have any European customers or employees, the data protection rule applies to you.

The rule requires that you disclose any data collection as well as why you’re collecting the data and tell consumers how long the information is being retained. You must also inform consumers if the information will be shared with any third parties.

The EU GDPR gives consumers certain rights over their personal data. For starters, they have the right to request a copy of the data being collected (in a portable and “common” format), and they have the right to have their data erased under certain circumstances.

Public authorities and businesses who collect data are required to employ a data protection officer (DPO) who is responsible for managing compliance with the regulations. In addition, businesses must report any data breaches within 72 hours if they have an adverse effect on user privacy. Violators could be fined up to €20 million ($23 million) or up to four percent of annual worldwide turnover (whichever is greater).

Do You Have Any Employees or Applicants in the EU?

If so, the EU GDPR applies to you. Background checking potential employees could be a minefield of regulation violations. A pre-employment background check company such as DataCheck can help you screen your potential employees to protect your own organization while remaining compliant with GDPR rules.

As a full-service background investigation company, we at specializes in obtaining pertinent information via criminal background checks, past employment, and background history information, and background investigations for DMV history, credit reports, drug screening, and many other issues. As professionals, we understand regulations like the EU GDPR and can ensure that your screenings of employees won’t land you with expensive violation fees.

Contact DataCheck via our Web site or call 800-253-3394 to discuss your employment background investigation needs today.

 

Judge’s Ruling on Criminal Background Checks in Texas Muddles Hiring Compliance

In 2012, the federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) under the Obama administration began advising employers to use criminal background checks during job screenings only when the inquiry is directly job-related or necessary for the business. Issued in the form of guidance, the EEOC clarification described employer policies that may violate Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which prohibits discrimination on the basis of race, ethnicity, and other factors.

Background Checks for Hiring

In 2013, the State of Texas filed a lawsuit against the EEOC, accusing the commission of unduly restricting their ability to exclude certain candidates in hiring practices. (In Texas, it’s against the law to hire convicted felons for certain state agency positions.) Now, a federal judge has granted Texas’ request to block some of the restrictions, particularly those on background checks in hiring.

“The State of Texas and its constituent agencies have the sovereign right to impose categorical bans on the hiring of criminals, and the EEOC has no authority to say otherwise,” Texas argued in its November 2013 complaint.

The Obama-era rule was dismissed on procedural grounds, with the court finding that the EEOC violated federal law by issuing the guidance without providing the public with notice and opportunity to comment. The dismissal means that the EEOC may not enforce the 2012 guidance in Texas, though the federal government could choose to appeal the judge’s ruling. The judge did not hand the state a full win, however. According to the Texas Tribune’s Emma Platoff, the EEOC can still issue right-to-sue letters in Texas cases. In addition, the judge did not affirm Texas’ right to categorically exclude felons from certain jobs.

“A categorical denial of employment opportunities to all job applicants convicted of a prior felony paints with too broad a brush and denies meaningful opportunities of employment to many who could benefit greatly from such employment,” according to Judge Sam R. Cummings of the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Texas (Lubbock Division).

Job Seekers with Records

Christine Owens, executive director of the National Employment Law Project, expressed disappointment with the district court ruling and said it should not be confused for a license to discriminate against job-seekers with records.

“Even in Texas, Title VII stands,” said Owens. “More broadly, states and employers would do well to avoid hiring policies that exclude people with records, as they only weaken the economy, undermine public safety, and harm families and communities. In light of this order, we are exploring our legal options moving forward.”

Employee criminal background checks can be a legal minefield, so employers should be sure they’re remaining within federal and state laws when they initiate checks. Third-party, pre-employment background screening companies can help employers stay in the boundaries of the law.

Contact DataCheck today for more information.

California Bars Employers from Asking Applicants about Salary History

Last year, the State of California passed a series of labor and employment bills that redefine the rules employers must follow when hiring workers in the state. The new laws, which went into effect at the beginning of 2018, address workers’ wages and hours, leaves of absence and benefits, hiring practices, health and safety issues and other workplace protections. Under the terms of one of the new rulings, employers in California are now barred from asking about an applicant’s salary history.

What Is AB 168?

California Assembly Bill (AB) 168 not only makes it illegal to ask about salary history, it prohibits an employer from relying on the salary history information of an applicant for employment as a factor in determining whether to offer the applicant a job, or determining what salary to offer the applicant. In addition, employers must provide the pay scale for a position to an applicant if he or she asks.

The legislation applies to all employers in the state, public and private, and covers not just salary, but other types of compensation and benefits. Employers need to be sure that all workers who may be involved in the hiring process understand what they can and cannot ask applicants.

Don’t Ask, But Applicants Can Tell

In most parts of the state, applicants could, however, choose to volunteer the information, according to the language of the new law. (San Francisco is the sole city to make it illegal to use volunteered salary information, according to Silicon Valley Business Journal.) It’s also permissible to ask about an applicants salary expectations.

“If an applicant voluntarily and without prompting discloses salary history information to a prospective employer, nothing in this section shall prohibit that employer from considering or relying on that voluntarily disclosed salary history information in determining the salary for that applicant,” according to the legislation.

What’s the Goal?

The goal of AB 168 is to attempt to remove the perceived gap in negotiating power between an employer and employees who must disclose their prior salary. Mandating the disclosure of salary history is often viewed as a way of perpetuating a gender gap in which women, who often start job-hunting at lower salaries than men, continue to lag behind in pay for the same positions.

How Do You Ensure Compliance?

It helps to consult with third-party experts who understand California labor laws. Ontario, California-based DataCheck understands how to comply with the new rules in California as well as similar rules in other states and cities. While many employers engage in background checking applicants today, there’s a right way to do it and a wrong way. Ensure you’re remaining within the margins of the law by seeking help from professionals.
Contact us today!