In today's fast-paced world, one cannot be too careful. This is why background checks have become increasingly important in our society. The primary goal of a background check is to analyze an individual's past and uncover any potential red flags that may be harmful to public safety, employers, or clients. Background checks may include criminal records, educational credentials, work history, financial history and credit checks, and other relevant data points.
There are several reasons why a background check is critical in today's society. Firstly, it helps protect employers from potential fraud or theft. With the rise of workplace crime, employers need to take preventative measures to protect their employees and their business. By conducting thorough background checks, companies can weed out potentially hazardous candidates who may pose risks to their business operations.
Another important reason is that background checks offer a sense of security to clients. If you're thinking of working with a company, wouldn't you like to know that the people you're working with have been vetted and are trustworthy? A background check ensures that companies are hiring individuals with a positive track record and upstanding reputation. This can be especially important in fields like healthcare and child care where clients put their trust and safety in the hands of others.
Background checks also play a critical role in maintaining public safety. For instance, background checks are used to determine whether an individual poses a threat to public safety by accessing firearms, working with children, or driving commercial or public transport vehicles. The comprehensive background check reports help prevent violent or other harmful individuals from obtaining these positions.
The different types of background checks available
Background checks can vary depending on the job position and industry. While some checks may only include basic criminal record searches, other screenings may also check driving records, drug tests, credit checks, and even social media history.
Here's a breakdown of the most common types of background checks that corporations, individuals, and organizations may need to consider:
- Employment Background Checks - These checks are used by employers to verify a candidate's educational background and work history, and criminal history.
- Criminal Background Checks - These checks are used to identify whether an individual has been previously convicted of a crime in a state or federal court. They help to promote public safety, reduce crime rates, and create safer workplaces.
- Credit History Background Checks - These background checks verify an individual's financial history, including debt, debt-to-income ratio, and available credit. It is common for employers to verify an individual's credit history when working in a financial capacity, such as with accounting or finance jobs.
- Tenant Background Checks - These background checks are performed before renting out an apartment, home, or other property. They can include credit checks, criminal record searches, and employment verification, to ensure tenants are trustworthy and will pay rent on time.
Real-life examples of background checks at work
Let's take a look at a real-life example of a background check in action.
Earlier this year, a former employee of the US Capitol Police, Noah Green, drove his car into a barricade outside the Capitol building. This tragic event left an officer dead and injured others. After the incident, investigators reviewed Green's history and found a troubling pattern. Green had been struggling with his mental health and was not getting the help he needed to keep his emotions under control.
The investigations also revealed that Green had been arrested in Virginia for unlawful possession of a firearm in a jurisdiction where he was not allowed to possess a firearm due to his mental health concerns. Investigators pointed out that a more robust background check could have flagged Green's concerning behavior earlier and prevented this tragic event from occurring.
In this case, a thorough background check could have prevented Green from obtaining a firearm, linking his mental health history with his potential for violent behavior. This example showcases how effective a background check can be in preventing criminal acts and protecting public safety.
The importance of understanding and following legal compliance
It is crucial to note that background checks need to comply with local and state laws. Before conducting a background check, ensure that you fully understand the regulations of the state or country where you live and work. Violating legal compliance can lead to significant legal repercussions and reputational damage for companies.
Take the case of Sterling back in 2017 when it was hit with a class-action lawsuit for violating the Fair Credit Reporting Act by failing to properly notify potential employees of their rights. Sterling settled the lawsuit for $1.75 million.
In conclusion, background checks have become a critical component of our society in promoting public safety, reducing employment fraud, and protecting clients. They provide a comprehensive history of individuals that can help employers identify any red flags that may be detrimental to their business, and clients can work with people they trust. The key is to ensure that background checks comply with legal regulations to avoid potential lawsuits and reputational harm. By conducting thorough background checks, individuals and organizations can create a safer and more trustworthy environment for everyone.