Good business demands better background screenings
Salary history bans, the opioid crisis, government regulation — now, more than ever, businesses can’t just “check the box” on background screenings.
When Kevin Helms talks about it, it’s like he’s diagnosing a disease. He even called it a ‘syndrome.’
The owner and chief investigator of ActiveTracks LLC, your #WiseChoice for background screening solutions and a member in good standing of the National Association of Professional Background Screeners (NAPBS), said businesses are exposing themselves to significant liability with a lackluster approach to background screening he calls the “Checking The Box Syndrome.”
“I find myself intrigued by the lack of knowledge some businesses have with their current background screening service,” Helms said. “The most interaction they have with their service is just putting in a report and waiting on results. They just ‘check the box’ on background screenings. This is a reckless and lackadaisical approach, especially if you’ve never experienced a negligent hiring or negligent retention lawsuit.”
Emerging trends in background screening also demand better scrutiny of your background screening service. More states are passing laws banning businesses from asking prospective employees about their past salaries. Federal laws are reforming immigration and immigrant employment policy. Congressional proposals are in the works to mandate the electronic verification of private companies’ hires. It’s to the point where good businesses must hire licensed, professional and progressively evolving background screening services just to make sense of the revolving regulations.
“Professional background screeners are regulated by both the Federal Trade Commission and the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau at the federal level as well as subject to state attorney general enforcement actions,” said the NAPBS on its resource page about why businesses should hire professional background screeners. “Screeners must comply with the Fair Credit Reporting Act as well as state privacy and consumer protection laws. The FCRA, in place since the 1970s, requires professional background screeners and employers to provide consumers the highest level of protection.
“The profession employs thousands of people and invests countless dollars dedicated to ensuring that employers, landlords, and volunteer groups have a full picture of those that enter workplaces, lease their apartments and care for vulnerable populations. Federal and state laws and regulations along with competitive market forces have combined to make professional background screens the most comprehensive, accurate and fair way for employers, landlords and volunteer groups to make informed decisions about prospective employees, volunteers and tenants.”
In the wake of the opioid abuse/addiction epidemic and economic crimes to support that addiction, professional background screening companies have no choice but to adopt perpetual, 24-7 screening solutions so their clients can monitor changes in their charges’ behavior or histories. Helms, a former career investigator and detective with the Shelby County (Tennessee) Sheriff’s Office, has already done that at ActiveTracks LLC with its proprietary ActiveTracking system. It provides ActiveTracks’ clients with automated criminal, civil and bankruptcy monitoring of their principals, employees or tenants 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.
“I have been in the business of detecting deception for over 20 years,” Helms said. “I have interviewed some of the worst criminals that have come through the system. I have brought the truth out of those who some say they would never do anything wrong. Those who want to be deceptive will find a way.”
Helms said responsible businesses must count on a reliable, continual background screening service, both perpetually and at the point of hire. “My goal — and the goal I constantly drive to our team — is to find the answers for our clients within the legal means which we are held to,” said Helms. “So they have the proper resources to get the answers they need to make a good hiring decision. I enjoy so much being able to review a client’s current process, teach them and then deliver a product that makes sense to them while bringing value to their business when making a hiring decision.”
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