Criminal background checks are still important for workplace and customer safety

  • 3/6/2017
  • Kevin Rosenquist
Criminal background checks are still important for workplace and customer safety image
Last month I wrote about what to consider when thinking about hiring someone with a criminal record. Criminal justice reform and movements like Ban the Box can confuse HR professionals and business owners who perform criminal record checks during their employment screening process. The uncertainty ultimately causes them to wonder: should we still be checking criminal histories? The answer is yes, and here are a few reasons why.

Workplace Safety

No company wants to bring a dangerous person onto their staff. You want your other employees to feel safe at work and you certainly don’t want anything bad to happen. Checking an applicant’s criminal history can help ensure that the person you are bringing in doesn’t pose a threat to anyone else at your company. A person with multiple convictions for assault could be prone to engaging in fights and could end up hurting another employee.

Customer Safety

In addition to providing a safe place for your employees you also want to ensure your customers are safe, whether they come to your business or whether your employees go to them. If you provide a service that sends employees into people’s homes you don’t want that person to have a history of assault, theft, or worse. Plus, it’s a great marketing tool to be able to tell potential customers that all your employees are vetted through a legitimate background check company.

Less Theft

Running a retail company? Then it’s probably a good idea not to hire a person with three convictions for retail theft in the past five years. Hiring a manager with access to large amounts of cash? Someone with a robbery conviction last year could put you at risk for lost money. Do your employees have access to sensitive data like Social Security Numbers? It would be good to know if the employee you are considering has ever been convicted of identity theft or fraud.

Peace of Mind

It sounds cliché but peace of mind goes a long way for you as a business owner or HR professional and for your staff. Getting a clean criminal background check back on a new employee gives you confidence that the person you’re bringing in doesn’t pose a danger to anyone. It does the same for the rest of your staff by showing them that you care about their safety and well-being. I’ve had clients that have never run background checks before they hired us and they have stressed how much better they feel knowing that the person they hired does not have a past that would cause concern.

Getting criminal records as part of your pre-employment screening is still an important part of onboarding a new employee. Just remember what I always preach; be sure to get your screening done by a reputable background check company.