The Background on Background Checks: 3 Changes to Background Screenings

background screening

Pre-employment screening and safe work environments have been a topic of discussion for over a century ever since concerns arose about negligent hiring and retention, according to NAPBS. The Fellow Servant Rule was put into place to shield employers from backlash if an employee were to be injured on the job due to the intentional violence of another employee. Later, workplace safety again became the responsibility of the employer, forcing them to do their due diligence to provide a safe work environment for their employees. Today, employers are finding it more and more important to ensure that new hires “fit the bill,” compelling them to prioritize pre-employment screening on applicants more than ever before. In recent years, new regulations and workforce issues make it more important for employers to consider conducting legitimate and compliant pre-employment screenings.

1. “Ban the Box”

A movement that started back in 2004 but has made waves around the country in more recent years, ban the box focuses on protecting employment rights for individuals with past criminal convictions. Security Magazine discusses the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission’s (EEOC) 2012 decision to limit organizations from denying employment based on an arrest or a crime committed if it is not a serious conviction or does not relate to the job. These new regulations have made it increasingly difficult for employers to be able to perform their own background checks. Detailed criminal information can be kept under lock and key, only to be unlocked by those with adequate authorizations. A good consumer reporting agency (CRA) can help make sure an organization’s employment screening is compliant with state and federal regulations.

2. Falsified Resumes

According to Privacy Rights Clearinghouse , another reason employers need to consider employment screening is falsified information provided on resumes.  As mentioned in our recent blog post, this issue goes beyond the simple “always punctual” listed on a resume when really the applicant was 10 minutes late almost every day.  Technology and the wealth of information provided by the Internet make it easier for applicants to go as far as creating fake documents such as diplomas or letters of recommendation. Employment screening allows employers to find discrepancies on resumes to ensure new hires are who they say they are.

3. Applicant Rights

According to the EEOC Applicants are given the right to see what information was provided to an employer in a background report, especially if it is the reason the employer decides not to hire the applicant. If an employer is provided with inaccurate or misleading information from a CRA, they run the risk of facing a lawsuit. Obtaining criminal information from a legally compliant CRA is one of the best ways to insulate your organization from facing legal action.


While employment screening can be done in house, a good CRA helps ensure that your employment screening process is compliant and provides accurate information on job candidates.

How has your screening process helped protect you from workplace violence or legal issues?