Screening - running background checks
The importance of employee
screening in the home health and home care fields cannot be
that do not do employee screening not only risk hiring a bad
employee, they risk inflicting that bad employee on their clients,
the consequence of a bad business reputation, and a potential
Employee screening however
isnít as easy as it used to be.
Bad employees have come up with numerous ways to work the
system, including identity fraud.
Because we donít wish to give anyone any ideas on how to
do this, these methods will not be discussed.
However, with the increase in
technology, you need to consider that whatever seems obvious on
the face is not necessarily valid.
It is not enough to merely check a driverís license and
call a former employer for a reference.
Employee screening basics
Employee screening starts
with you, the employment application that you accept, and the
information that you make available before each applicant comes to
fill out the employment application.
Employers that inform applicants in advance that such
screening will occur, almost always find that their number of
ďbadĒ applicants goes down.
Applicants who know they have employment or criminal issues
often wonít bother to apply once they know they will be checked
In many cases, applicants who
have a problem will leave information off their application or in
their resume that will give them away, with the hope that if they
donít provide it, you wonít bother pursuing it. Therefore,
it is important that you gather as much information from them as
Blank spots or fields that are
not legible should not be left blank, and these can be your first
sign that an applicant is not telling you the truth or is hiding
something in the past. If
the applicant doesnít wish to provide this information, it is
very doubtful that the employment application is worth further
If you turn your applications
over to a third party for employment screening, the more
information that is included, the more the employment screener
will have to work with. Information
that is not provided cannot be checked out.
One other safeguard in accepting
an employment application is to require the applicant to present
their driverís license to verify their current name, address,
and driverís license number. By doing so, you take one additional screening step in making
sure that someone is not presenting you with an application with
false information. This
however, is not a failsafe and will not protect you if the person
has obtained fraudulent identification.
One word of caution:
It may be tempting to start an employee in the screening
process and then hire them while you wait for the results.
In doing so, you risk the possibility that you will have
hired a problem employee and sent them out to see your clients. Even though you may have only hired this person upon
condition, you are still an employer and are still responsible for
their actions under agency law.
Outsourcing employment screening
Many companies now use
professional employment screening services to conduct their
pre-employment checks. In most cases, these companies can perform screening
processes quicker, with more accuracy, and sometimes even cheaper
than you can do on your own.
There are many reasons to look
at outsourcing your employee screening.
Though it could be cheaper because of the volume discounts,
price is not the major consideration.
If one of your employees is
negligent and a jury decides that you were negligent in your
hiring practices, this can be the basis for adding punitive
damages to any compensatory damages that might be awarded.
Punitive damages are often awarded in a lawsuit as an
afterthought when the court thinks that the defendant has been
cavalier in their attitudes towards protecting their clients.
In other words, if you hire
someone with a criminal history of abuse and that person assaults
your frail client, you will probably be judged as negligent.
Ignorance of the facts is not an excuse in such a case.
By hiring an outside screening
company of good reputation, not only can you find better
information, it shows that you have done your due diligence in
your hiring. If the
screening company makes a mistake, that burden of negligence no
longer applies to you, it applies to the screening company.
In a world where people like to sue, this can be no small
looking for an employment screening company, consider your
full-service companies that do a wide variety of checks.
If you hire quite a few people, also ask them if they have
multiple checks that you can buy in advance at discount rates. This is also where franchise organizations can come in handy
as well. By working
with a nationwide screening company, they can offer substantial
discounts in screening costs to their member franchises.