In an increasingly violent society, along with an out-of-control civil litigation climate, employers must take additional measures when evaluating a prospective employee or business associate. While we see an increase in releasing individuals from prisons and operate as a society that believes in second chances, the question is: Does it relieve businesses of their responsibilities to their employees?

Two legal phrases that should send chills down your spine: negligent hiring and vicarious liability. It is the employer’s responsibility to know the applicant and/or should have known. Employers who fail to act to control or remove abusive behavior, belligerent or combative employees can fall under negligent hiring.

One of the most popular ways businesses screen their employees is by relying on temp hiring agencies. This model has long been a preferred method for all categories of workers in any field. However, caution must be exercised to ensure they are properly screening your potential employees. The verification of facts is a must.

A simple background check may not be enough to combat any potential negligent hiring.  For example, a potential employee could have a history of violence, and if the employer knows and ignores the “red flags” then they are setting themselves up for potential negligent hiring issues.

Although you may want to give a person a second chance, you must look at that person’s past behavior.  As they say, “past behavior is an indication of future behavior.”

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) has guidelines on the use of arrest and conviction records to produce Best Practices.  You can also refer directly to your state.  Under Pennsylvania Law 18-9125, for example, employers may consider felony or misdemeanor convictions only if they relate directly to the applicant’s suitability for the job.  Applicants must also be informed in writing if they are not hired because of their criminal record.

Forletta Investigative Security Consultants have the experience and expertise in conducting background investigations.  We can educate and provide risk assessment to your business.  We have a free presentation available to you on safe hiring, so contact us for more information directly.