How to Handle Employee Background Checks

How to Handle Employee Background Checks

In order to hire the right people, and maintain a culture of integrity at your business, it’s important to do some vetting. Each new employee should receive a thorough background check before they’re officially brought into the fold—a background check that might encompass criminal history, as well as potential financial red flags.


Conducting employee background checks isn’t something that all companies are well-versed in; if you’re not in the habit of background checking new employees, you may benefit from some general guidelines about how background checks work. In this post, we’ll provide some tips for conducting employee background checks in California.


Employee Background Checks in California: Some Dos and Don’ts


First, some general guidance:

  • Study up on your state’s laws, which may have something to say about what you can and cannot check. Remember that you have a right to investigate potential employees, but your employees also have certain rights to privacy.
  • If possible, work with an attorney to put your background check strategy into place, verifying that you’re fully within your legal rights.
  • Be sure that your background checks are administered consistently; all new employees should receive the same background check, without exceptions.
  • Avoid fast-tracking the process; even if you’ve done a bunch of background checks before, each new employee’s investigation should be carried out with the same rigor.
  • Finally, always maintain communication with employees and other concerned parties to ensure that the background checks do not intrude on their privacy and/or encompass a breach of trust.


Know What to Check

Before you can actually begin a background check, you’ll need to gather some employee information. For instance, each employee will need to provide his or her full legal name, Social Security number, and birthday. Also make sure you get written permission to conduct the background check. You can ask your lawyer about the best way to word this permission form.


In most cases, background checks will include scanning criminal records, sex offender registries, Social Security records, the terror watchlist database, and address history. These are the common items checked to ensure that the employee has not been convicted for an offense that disqualifies him or her from getting work, and to verify that he or she is not falsifying his or her credentials.


In some cases, companies may wish to make their background checks even more intensive. This can be done by checking additional records, such as educational records, driving licenses, state employment licensing, professional licenses, and credit reports.


What About the Law?

It’s critical to remember that background checks need to comply with state and federal laws to prevent the company from being prosecuted. Just a few pertinent laws include the FCRA, the FACT Act, and certain EEO laws. Your lawyer will be able to advise you on the laws that are pertinent within your state.

As you seek to conduct background checks in a way that’s both effective and legally compliant, consider partnering with a trusted investigation company—like National Business Investigations. We’d love to tell you more about our employee background checks in California and beyond!

To speak with us about your company’s employee background check needs, contact National Business Investigations today.

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