With the safety of employees and customers in mind, many employers are turning to unique and innovative ways to protect themselves against person-based risk. One such solution is continuous monitoring, which provides alerts immediately following justice involvement, including incarceration events. These alerts enable employers to identify and intervene in emerging problems, providing an opportunity to protect employees and customers while encouraging consistent, positive communication.
Long-term protection for your business
Continuous monitoring adds another layer of long-term protection, beyond a pre-employment background screening. But unlike other methods of mitigating workplace risk, continuous monitoring takes a holistic approach that protects both employers and employees and promotes a safer, healthier workplace culture. Employers have access to the knowledge and insights necessary to intervene if an employee is in crisis, and any employee who is dealing with a situation that could escalate if left unaddressed is provided with counseling, training, and other forms of assistance.
The key to a continuous monitoring system is the usage of timely incarceration alerts, which inform employers of the initial report of potential criminal activity collected from correctional facilities. Instead of performing recurring searches for an employee against a national criminal file (“nat-crim”) or other justice-related data, employers can upload their full workforce roster into a system that alerts them if a new entry is generated that matches one of their employees.
Employers must start by ensuring that legal compliance requirements are being met. The easiest way to do this is by establishing industry-compliant practices that align with federal guidance, such as the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA), Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), and any applicable state laws.
One of the primary ways employers can remain in compliance is by providing a “clear and conspicuous” disclosure in writing to an employee before requesting their consumer report. Another step that will make the process of continuous monitoring more of a collaborative process is obtaining employee consent for ongoing monitoring, preferably in writing. Employers can also emphasize the benefits of continuous monitoring for their employees. Resources like employee handbooks, policies, and guidelines will go a long way toward ensuring employee buy-in and comfort with the process.
While incarceration alerts can be an indication of a legitimate problem, such as an impending criminal conviction, not every alert leads to a conviction, and employers should have a legal review process in place to determine what action to take depending on each individual circumstance.
An opportunity for employee growth
Initial incarceration alerts serve as early indicators of a potential problem and are not the basis for taking adverse action against an employee. Instead, employers should turn these instances into opportunities to discuss the problem with the employee and provide them with the support they need to move forward.
It’s also important for employers to emphasize that continuous monitoring does not replace the need for employer/employee communication when a problem does arise. Early employer intervention is most effective when it occurs before a case goes to court, and it is in everyone’s best interest for employees to provide this information without prompting. In some cases, alerts are entirely unrelated to an employee’s job role and do not require intervention at all.
Continuous monitoring solutions benefit both businesses and their employees, and using incarceration alerts is an excellent way for employers to proactively mitigate workplace risk. Not only are these solutions more cost-effective, but they also inform employers of potential problems early on, enabling earlier interventions and more positive outcomes for everyone. For employers looking to protect their workforce and their business, continuous monitoring is an innovative and holistic way to do both.
Learn more about Continuous Watch, which can help CRAs grow their business, minimize risk, and foster better communication between employers and employees.