You need an employee yesterday and don’t have time to drug test an employee or wait for a background check. Unfortunately, if you don’t screen your employees you ARE hiring your next problem. A background check is one or a combination of reports collected about individuals for an employment purpose. It may include a credit history, criminal records, driving records, past employment, education, references, professional licenses, military service, social security number, substance abuse records, workers compensation, and other records.
The Importance of a Background Check
Often a job application, resume, or interview does not tell an employer all the necessary information relevant to employment eligibility. In fact, some candidates falsify or exaggerate items on their resume or job application. That’s where background checks can be used as a revealing tool for more accurate employment eligibility information. Also, background checks are not always an option, but a requirement for certain positions. Performing a background check can also avoid liability for negligent hiring. In some situations, employers may be liable for serious actions an employee takes at work if the employer was negligent in hiring that employee. Before performing a background check, the employer will want to understand all the state and federal laws and regulations related to background checks.
Drug and Alcohol Testing
When it comes to drug and/or alcohol testing, the United States Supreme Court has held that both blood and urine collection are minimally intrusive procedures which are not harmful to job applicants or employees when they are conducted in the context of an employment environment (such as where applicants or employees are required to go to a doctor's office to provide a sample) without direct observation by the tester. An employer may face legal difficulties if it chooses to test only certain applicants for a position. In other words, an employer cannot pick and choose which applicants it will test for drugs or alcohol.
The employer must treat all applicants for the same job in a similar manner. Most state statutes also limit the type of testing that may be performed, whether it be through urine, breath, blood, or hair. Therefore, there are some important legal considerations when establishing a drug-testing policy. Employers who plan on conducting drug testing should, before the first test is ordered, establish a written policy governing when the testing will take place and how it will be performed. Having this information in place may help resolve any questions that arise in the future as to whether a particular test should be conducted, or whether it was conducted properly. Employers should also establish what type of drugs will be tested for. In addition, employers should also develop a written policy concerning what will happen to an applicant who tests positive for drug use. This type of planning can alleviate future issues concerning how applicants with positive results are handled.
Knowledge Is Key
If you've completed the background check and the drug/alcohol screen, but are still feeling uneasy about hiring a candidate, here are a few additional resources you may want to consult before making your final decision:
- Resume, application, and interview
- Personal references
- Federal, state, and local government agencies
- Educational institutes
- Previous or current employers
- Professional organizations
- Online databases
- Consumer reporting agencies
The more personal and professional information you have about a candidate before their hire, the higher probability you have of hiring and retaining the right people for the job and your company.