Usually, organizations prefer to outsource background checks on their employees to third parties for many different reasons. One of such reasons is to help them remain focused of their core line of business. Another reason is to avoid sentiments or favoritism while reporting the findings of the verification process. Again, companies outsource background checks in order to maintain the privacy of information within the workplace. By outsourcing, employees can be rest assured that their personal information wouldn’t be snooped upon by their colleagues.
Because these checks usually involve findings that may be related to convictions; court records; arrests; debts; or other very personal stuff; employees are usually required to give their consent for background checks to be run on them. By all standards, employees are expected to sign a background check authorization form to express their consent.
Consent forms are evergreen. Hence, as long as an applicant signs a consent form; same can be used to conduct a lawful background check through the course of employment. In other words, if you intend to run annual background checks; or perhaps you decide to run a background check when an employee is up for promotion, you – as an employer – do not need to obtain a new consent form.
Before confirmation of an applicant’s employment; it is always advisable for employers to clearly communicate their background screening policies to prospective employees. For instance, policies related to annual background screening, and background screening during promotions and transfers must not be left unattended. That way, employees are fully aware of the conditions under which background checks could be run, and would have definite expectations.
As much as not so many occurrences have been recorded; it would be rather unfortunate if an employee were to file a lawsuit against his employer for doing a background check on him without his consent. This may sound far-fetched – especially in this part of the world. However, it behooves employers to understand that an employee who files a lawsuit under such circumstances would most definitely have the upper hand before the jury.
Be it as it may, applicants need to know that refusing to give their consent to background checks – especially for sensitive checks like criminal record check – can result in not being offered the job, even after it has been offered. By agreeing to the background check, an applicant may have the opportunity to clarify any questions or shortcomings that revolve around the findings of the checks.
In a case whereby an employee refuses to give consent to a background verification, an employer might as well go on to assume the worst about such employee. An employer may decide that the applicant, by refusing to give consent to a background check, is trying to hide something. Hence, the employer may conclude that it is too risky to hire such individual. If such applicant is hired, he or she may serve as a liability or pose a threat to the organization.
By all standards, an employee just has to give consent before a background check is done on him or her. This way, he saves his employer the danger of being found wanting before the law.