While criminal records searches are typically the core of most employers’ candidate background screening protocols, much more can appear on a check. For example, misdemeanor convictions and pending criminal cases might also appear on reports.

Businesses face potential negligence lawsuits when they hire employees with relevant convictions. Compliant pre-employment checks can help.

Preventing Employee Abuse

A criminal background check can help you prevent workplace abuse and other incidents that can hurt your bottom line. This includes everything from fraudulent activity to workplace violence. Workplace incidents cost businesses millions of dollars annually. These costs include trauma care, lost productivity, and compensation for the victims of violent crimes.

Criminal background checks can also help you ensure that your staff has the necessary skills to do the job. For example, if your company has an in-house security department that requires certification, a criminal background check can reveal whether or not your new hire has the credentials they claim on their resume.

In addition, fingerprinting and criminal background checks can show you whether or not your applicant is convicted of a crime that could negatively impact the company. This is especially important for positions that deal with sensitive information, such as financial planners and other finance employees who can access their client’s finances.

However, if a business uses a criminal background check as part of its hiring process, it must follow the laws and regulations. For instance, some states have “ban the box” laws that require employers to wait until after a live interview or conditional employment offer to ask about an applicant’s past criminal history. In addition, a criminal background check must only be used if it relates to the position you are offering.

Preventing Fraud

Criminal background checks can help prevent dishonest candidates and fraudsters from being hired.

A background check can reveal an applicant’s past convictions and other legal issues that could impact their work performance or pose a safety risk to coworkers. A background check can also uncover any history of financial mismanagement, including bankruptcy and unpaid debts. Suppose an employer decides to use a comprehensive background check service. In that case, they may be able to access national, state, county, and sex offender registries and watchlists to get the most comprehensive results possible.

When hiring for a position that involves working directly with children or vulnerable adults, employers should be careful to screen applicants for criminal convictions related to child abuse and other offenses involving the elderly or disabled. In the case of healthcare, employees may be required to administer medication or perform medical procedures that put patients at risk. In addition to checking an applicant’s local and federal criminal records, employers need to look at arrests that did not result in a conviction.

The law in most states limits how long a criminal record can remain active. In the case of older convictions, many states will only consider seven years or older records.

Preventing Disruption

Workplace incidents can result in financial losses from theft or damage to property. They can also damage the company’s reputation and lead to bad press or legal damages. A background check can help prevent these losses by vetting all aspects of an applicant, including past illegal or criminal activity.

Background checks can reveal various information, from convicted criminal records to misdemeanor arrests that did not result in convictions. Some searches may include only municipal, county, or state records, while others are more comprehensive and can even include international records. The information an employer discovers through a background check can help them decide whether or not to hire the applicant. However, it is essential to remember EEOC laws that prohibit you from using criminal history to discriminate against a job applicant based on age, gender, sexual orientation, or race.

The most common reasons businesses conduct background checks are to comply with housing and employment regulations, protect their employees, customers, and assets, and avoid negligent hiring claims. However, businesses must tailor the types of criminal records searched based on their industry. For example, healthcare employers should conduct background checks to assess applicants’ suitability. This helps reduce the risk of rogue employees who could endanger patients or cause harm to others.

Preventing Injuries

An excellent criminal background check will reveal a candidate’s misdemeanor convictions, along with pending cases. While a record of misdemeanors doesn’t carry the same weight as felonies, they can still create risk and include offenses such as disorderly conduct, public intoxication, or trespassing.

Some positions require an employee to handle money or private information and should only be filled by people with a clean background. Employing someone with a criminal record in this type of position could lead to financial crime, data breaches, and even physical harm to your employees and customers. Conducting a background check before hiring can help avoid negligent hiring lawsuits and other business liabilities.

One bad hire can significantly impact how clients, partners, and consumers perceive a business. Having a clean record helps ensure that your team maintains the intrinsic ethical code of your organization.

A criminal background check should cover all relevant records from federal courts, statewide repositories, and county courthouses in the states where the applicant has lived or worked. It should also include searches of given, maiden, and alias names to give the most accurate picture possible.


Kenny is the founder and editor-in-chief of TheTalka. He launched the site in 2019.

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