The Hidden Risks of Not Having a Criminal History Background Check in Your Company

September 22, 2023

A bad hire can put your business in danger of losing money, damaging your reputation, or even being sued. It can also harm your other team members and lead to a loss of productivity. While minor convictions or incidents that happened years ago may not be deal-breakers, they should at least raise a red flag. A background check helps companies make informed hiring decisions and adhere to legal employment standards.

You Could Be Hiring Criminals

Sixty percent of companies perform criminal background checks to reduce liability, minimize threats to the workplace, and promote public safety. However, flaws in these checks can lead to false negatives and unnecessary barriers to employment for people with records long after serving their time. These barriers are “collateral consequences” — everything from difficulties finding housing to trouble qualifying for food stamps — often affecting people who have never committed violent crimes. The problem is that many companies rely on inaccurate, out-of-date data. They use data from the internet to build their reports without checking them for accuracy or completeness. This can result in old records showing up or expunged documents not appearing. This can also lead to mistakes when interpreting the results of a background check. A misinterpreted record, for example, could make a candidate unhireable even if the crime was minor and occurred years ago. Thus, choosing a reputable agency that will handle the proper and accurate check is essential. Employees are the face of a company and represent its values to clients, customers, and investors. Hiring someone with a criminal past can damage the reputation of your business and create a toxic work environment. Depending on the type of crime, it can even put your team at risk. A bad hire could also have a huge impact on the morale of your other employees, causing them to question whether they should stay at your business.

You Could Be Hiring People With Malicious Intent

The last thing you want to bring on board is someone who could end up putting your customers or team members in harm’s way. That’s why a criminal history background check is so important. A past misdemeanor shouldn’t disqualify an otherwise great candidate, but it can provide vital information about their character that might affect how they work in the future. A background check also can help you verify that an applicant is who they say they are. It can do this by checking their self-reported personal information against official records and scouring federal databases for fraud alerts. It’s especially helpful when hiring for roles that handle cash or sensitive information like customer data and proprietary company details. If you skip this step, you’re putting your business at risk of identity theft or even employee-related cybercrime. And if you’re not careful, you might get slapped with a negligent hiring lawsuit if something goes wrong and the person you hired commits one of these crimes. Some companies run criminal checks in-house, while others outsource this service to third-party providers conducting investigations and compiling comprehensive reports. However, working with an FCRA-compliant provider that provides detailed, accurate, verified information is crucial. Numerous lawsuits have been filed against companies that violate the Fair Credit Reporting Act, including several resulting in multimillion-dollar settlements.

You Could Be Hiring People With Serious Problems

The last thing any business wants is for an employee to bring a risk outside the workplace. If a criminal background check turns up records of fraud, theft or embezzlement, it could open the company up to financial ruin.

A criminal background check will include a candidate’s arrest history and any pending charges. While employers are typically advised not to weigh arrests and charges as heavily as convictions, this data can still help a company decide whether or not to hire a candidate. It’s also important to note that background checks often include information on an applicant’s education, employment history and reference checks. Failing to run a background check can open the company to negligent hiring lawsuits. Moreover, federal laws like the Fair Credit Reporting Act often protect the information gleaned from a criminal background check. Failing to follow these regulations can result in massive fines for the company. Investing in high-quality, professional criminal background checks is essential for any company looking to protect its staff and customers. Companies can get same-day criminal records and pre-hire credit reports in minutes. They are a trusted credit agency with decades of data experience, and this professional service offers FCRA-compliant results. It helps reduce the chances of bringing on an employee that could hurt the business.

You Could Be Hiring People With a Criminal Record

Many companies have blanket policies that disqualify people with criminal records from being considered for any role. These are often due to a fear that the person may act out of character on the job and jeopardize their customers’ or employees’ safety. While this is understandable, excluding applicants with a criminal record is not the best way to protect your business. There is also the risk that your company could be held liable in a case where someone with a criminal record hurts another worker or customer. In addition, a criminal record can cause an atmosphere in your business that makes staff members uncomfortable and unsafe. This can damage morale and lead to the departure of dependable staff, so it is important to keep up with vetting procedures to avoid this type of risk. However, it is important to remember that many crimes and convictions are less serious than they once were. For example, attitudes toward drugs can change over time, and some crimes that might have been deemed serious in the past may now be considered misdemeanors. Also, many states have laws that allow people to apply to have a record expunged after a certain amount of time has passed. It can be very difficult to find out an applicant’s true criminal history if you don’t use a background check agency.


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