Your company automatically prescreens new hires. After all, they’ll be a permanent part of your team. So, what about independent contractors and temps? Is an advanced background check necessary when hiring a temporary employee?
Why Should You Screen Temporary Workers?
Keep Everyone Safer
A worker with a criminal record can potentially inflict harm whether they’re with your company for thirty years or thirty days. Your organization has an obligation to protect your employees, your customers and the public. And this includes thoroughly vetting everyone who works for you.
Protect Your Business
Just like permanent employees, temporary workers could steal, walk away with company secrets or damage your company’s reputation. Once again, it’s up to your organization realize whom you’re hiring. Otherwise, you could lose money, market share and customers.
Ultimately, a temporary employee still is a member of your team. As a result, you will be held legally responsible if you knew or should have known a person was a risk. Even though background checks take time and cost money, they are far less expensive than a negligent hiring lawsuit.
What Is an Advanced Background Check?
You’re convinced you should screen temporary and contract workers. Now, what type of searches should you run? Although the phrase “background check” is used broadly, it refers to a wide range of reports. A basic background check usually includes identity verification, a national criminal database check and a national sex offender search. An advanced background check is more comprehensive, and thus, more likely to uncover problems. For instance, rather than simply looking at the national criminal database, it also examines federal, state and county court records. Additionally, an advanced screening may incorporate motor vehicle record searches, credit reports, academic verification and more.
What Type of Screening Is Best for Temps?
The correct answer to this question depends on several factors. Different business models require various levels of screenings. Plus, an employee’s position plays a role. Let’s consider two scenarios.
- Scenario #1 – Your company needs to overhaul your computer systems. You’re bringing in a temporary IT specialist for one month. This individual will be working under limited supervision, and they will have access to confidential information.
- Scenario #2 – Your company needs help covering the holiday rush. You’re bringing in a temporary warehouse associate for three months. This individual will be working under direct supervision, and they won’t interact with customers.
In the first scenario, an advanced background check makes sense. An unvetted IT professional could do quite a bit of damage even if they’re only around for a month. On the other hand, a warehouse associate will have less access to sensitive information and more supervision. In the second case, a basic background check may be enough.
How Do You Run a Background Check on a Temporary Employee?
You’ve decided to conduct basic or advanced background checks on all your contract and temporary workers. That’s a smart decision. The process for temps is the same as it is for permanent hires.
Establish a Policy
Before you begin ANY background check program, it’s critical to establish a company-wide policy. Haphazard screening could get your organization into trouble with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) . For example, let’s say you pull driving records for female forklift drivers more often than for male forklift drivers. This could be considered discriminatory toward women. Although you aren’t required to run the same checks on everyone, you MUST screen similar types of employees the similarly. This means you could have different background check standards for IT contractors versus temporary warehouse workers. However, all temporary warehouse workers should undergo the same screening processes.
Find a Screening Partner
When you’re gathering information through a third-party provider, you need to follow the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA). In other words, many of those instant online background checks could get your company into legal trouble. To stay compliant with the FCRA, as well as state and local laws, you’ll want to find a trustworthy screening partner. For the best results, look for companies accredited by the Professional Background Screening Association (PBSA). These providers will not only deliver the most accurate information but also advise you on compliance issues.
Complete the Necessary Paperwork
According to the FCRA, companies must receive an individual’s written consent before conducting a background check. Failure to comply with these regulations can lead to lawsuits. In fact, between 2009 and 2019, U.S. businesses paid out more than $325 million for FCRA violations. (CBS News, 2019) If you’re not sure where to begin, read through this proper authorization for background screening checklist. Or partner with a PBSA-accredited provider as they will walk you through all the correct procedures.
Follow Up If Necessary
You just opened a temporary employee’s advanced background check. Uh-oh. There’s a problem. Should you refuse to hire them? Not so fast. Yet again, the FCRA applies. Remember, sometimes reports are inaccurate. This could be due to identity theft, common names or typos. Before making a snap judgement, give your candidate the chance to contest and correct any mistakes. These steps are outlined in the FCRA’s pre-adverse and adverse action process.
Does Your Organization Need to Run an Advanced Background Check?
Metrodata Services is Western New York’s leading pre-employment screening provider. Whether you’re bringing in permanent or temporary workers, we’ll use our expertise to help you make the best-possible hiring decisions. Learn more about all the employment screening services we offer today!