Background Checks Help Screen Workers But Could Also Expose Employer to Liability

The most common rationale for conducting background checks is that employers and staffing agencies face liability if they do not. If a business engages someone who ends up harming someone else, the business faces potential liability. Liability depends on whether the business was negligent, and the elements of a claim of negligent hiring or supervision vary from state to state. But not all screening practices are equal. Along with ensuring job qualifications, the use of background checks can help protect an employer against liability for negligent hiring, supervision or retention. At the same time, these policies may also expose an employer to liability if they run afoul of the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC)’s guidelines. It is essential for staffing firms and client companies to be aware of and remain in compliance with any applicable state or federal law that may be implicated by use of arrest or conviction information, or credit checks, in making employment decisions.

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