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Post-Hire Background Checks: The Numbers And The Risk

A new survey by Endera, a risk alert firm, found that nearly 100 percent of employers conduct some form of background check pre-hire, but only 25 percent perform a background check post-hire.

According to the source article, research shows that one-in-1000 employees are arrested each month, but only 30 percent of employers would know if an employee had been arrested.

The survey was conducted with 278 business executives. Valerie Bolden-Barrett "Survey: Less than 25% of employers do background checks once an employee is hired," hrdive.com (Apr. 28, 2017).


The workplace is divided on post-hire background checks according to the survey. Security professionals and executives want post-hire background checks. Human resources and IT are three times less likely to want to do post-hire background checks.

The argument for post-hire background checks is that it will notify employers of a risk that may exist within the ranks. The argument against post-hire background checks, besides cost, is that even if an arrest or conviction is revealed, equal employment and other regulations would curtail acting on the findings of a background check.

It is important to note that an arrest or a conviction involving matters that do not pertain to work does not mean that an employee will engage in criminal acts at work. So, at what point should employers get involved in the criminal history of employees already on the payroll?

There can be risks for employers that do not perform post-hire background checks. For example, a DUI arrest puts an employer at risk of negligence claims, should that employee be intoxicated and have an accident on the job. As another example, an employee charged with child sexual abuse should not be allowed to work with children as part of his or her employment until the matter is resolved.

Employers that perform post-hire background checks should narrow the list to what they are searching for and how it relates to performance of job duties. Using the examples above, an organization may do post-hire checks for DUI arrests or other motor vehicle moving violations only for the purpose of public safety as it relates to drivers or, in the other example, for arrests or convictions of crimes against children (e.g., child sexual abuse, sexual assault, possession or distribution of child pornography) as to employees who work around children.

Remember, employers should require in their handbook that employees have an affirmative duty to notify the employer of any arrest or conviction.

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