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Criminal Background Checks: Should Your Business Do Them?

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Published on April 7, 2021 at 01:23 am

Running a business is expensive, you don’t need any extra costs you can do without – so the question is, do you need to conduct background checks on your employees?

Whether you have a small or large business, running background checks ensures your employees are not a danger to you, your business, or customers.

Usually, applicants are required to get background checks when applying to a new job, when volunteering, or when being promoted at work.

As a business owner, it is your job to guarantee your employees and customers are protected by creating a safe work environment.

But also, hiring someone with a criminal record (that you don’t know about) won’t just harm those in the office or your customers – it can pose a threat to your business interest and your reputation.

Before deciding whether or not your business needs this, let’s find out what it is, and most importantly, what you can benefit from it. 

Read more about: Do Small Businesses Need to Run Background Checks?

What is Background Check?  

A background check is checking the applicant’s past actions/ record to ensure they don’t have any bad or suspicious acts on their records; it includes a review of:

  • A criminal background check (violence, theft, or any criminal acts)
  • A financial background check (credit history)
  • An educational background check (verifies degrees & qualifications)
  • Employment history (a review of previous jobs)

The FCRA (Fair Credit Reporting Act) defines what appears on a background check,1 it can differ from one applicant to another, one company to another, or from one state to another.

This depends on the job position, state laws, and company requirements. A background check can be done through a screening/ search agency, ink fingerprinting, or live scan fingerprinting.

Does your business need to get criminal background checks done?

Yes, you should have background checks done before hiring any new employees.

You don’t necessarily need to run background checks on older employees because you already have an idea of their nature, work style, and ethics but before hiring a new employee, a background check can help ensure you’re making the right decision.

It’ll filter job applicants, only serious candidates. When your business conducts background checks before hiring, any applicants that have something to hide wouldn’t apply.

A shorter and more efficient hiring process ensures only serious applicants apply to the job opening.

Verify educational degrees & employment history. With a competitive market and multiple applicants fighting for one job position, many people tend to exaggerate or even add false info on their resumes/ applications. A background check verifies their previous work and degrees they’ve received.  

Avoid liability issues and future trouble. If you hire a teacher at a school unknowing they have an abusive record and they encounter a problem with a student, the parents will blame you, not just the teacher.

Your employees represent you and your business, in order to avoid lawsuits and liability issues; you need to be sure you know everything you need about your new employee.

However, a bad reputation isn’t all the trouble neglecting this step can do. If you hire an accountant with a bad credit history, can you trust them with your finances?

Exactly. Running a background check isn’t only protecting your reputation but your business as well.

Create a safe work environment. It is your responsibility to provide your employees and customers with a safe environment to do business.

Whether it’s by using secure software, providing an insurance plan for employees, or running background checks on new hires. Safety steps are important in the survival of your business.

Read more about: How to ِApply for Live Scan Background Checks in California

Quick Tip! Honesty is the best policy.

As an applicant looking for a job, it is always best, to be honest with employers with anything in your past or on your application/ resume.

If you hide something from your record at the beginning and it is discovered later on, it’ll reflect badly on you and your work ethic.

This can also negatively affect how your employer and employees think about you and narrow your chances for future employment.

You can check what is on your record, yourself, by getting a record review done. This way you’ll see exactly what your employer will see if they ask you to get a background check done.

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Frequently Asked Questions

  • How far back does a live scan background check go?

    The live scan results will contain your entire criminal history. 

    This will not include expungements.

  • How can I find my criminal background for personal use?

    You can print out a Record Review Live Scan Form, take it to the nearest live scan location and the results would be sent to your address. 

    DOJ fee is $25, plus rolling fee at location. 

    This can be used if you need to visit someone in prison. Read More

  • What if the agency didn't get the FBI results or background check?

    1. Ask if they submit a California live scan. 

    2. If yes, they have to contact the Department of Justice. 

    3. They can check on the status on the DOJ Hotline (916) 227-4557 and their applicant agency can send an email to “appagencyquestions@doj.ca.gov” for more information. They should not include any personal information such as date of birth or social security number.  They need to include the ORI #, ATI # and the first and last name. 

    4. There isn’t a separate email contact for the FBI for these transactions.

  • How do I contact the FBI for my results?

    The FBI can be contacted at 304-625-5590 if you have questions regarding your Identity History Summary Check. Current processing time is 12-14 weeks. Allow additional time for mail delivery. https://www.fbi.gov/about-us/cjis/identity-history-summary-checks

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