Risks of Not Screening Applicants
Employers often wonder why applicant background checks matter. They consume time and resources and do not always confer obvious benefits. The fact is, however, that every applicant for employment can and should be screened in a way that is appropriate given the position that he or she seeks.
Sometimes It’s The Law
Many states require employers to conduct applicant background checks for certain positions. One of the last things any employer wants is to hire someone new only to face fines and lawsuits later because the employer did not take the simple step of complying with state or local requirements regarding background checks. Employers with special licenses may even put their licenses at risk by neglecting to perform the required background checks. It is easy to avoid that by finding out what the law requires and then doing it.
Who Wants To Be Sued?
Every so often your local news will run a horror story about an employer. Maybe an investment fund or accounting firm hired a known embezzler who cleaned out the accounts of several customers. Perhaps a delivery service hired someone with a record of driving while intoxicated who promptly crashed a delivery van into some pedestrians. Sometimes the crimes and the harm are even more serious. Whatever the problem was, the employer can be certain that if the victims think that the employer could and should have discovered the employee’s past and background and should, therefore, have prevented the harm, then the employer will be sued.
These days it seems like almost anyone will file a lawsuit over any actual or perceived injury, so the prospect of litigation of not an idle threat. The law in many states permits victims of employee misconduct to sue the employer who could and should have prevented the employee from being in a position of power and doing whatever it is that they did. Even if the employer did nothing wrong, a lawsuit (or multiple suits) will cost the employer not only legal fees that could run into tens of thousands of dollars but also lost employee productivity that is valuable but harder to measure.
You’re Only Hurting Yourself
The costs of not screening applicants are not limited to legal fees, lost productivity, lost licenses, and possibly payments to injured victims. Employers who develop reputations for not screening applicants may find it harder to attract suitable workers or even suffer public relations nightmares that drive away customers in droves. Additionally, where the victim of the unscreened employee is another employee, that means there will be a claim for workers compensation benefits, which will drive up the employer’s insurance premiums.
If you want to cut corners and lose your workforce, your customers, your license, and possibly your business itself, then do not bother screening applicants. If, on the other hand, you want your business to thrive, then spend the time and the money to conduct applicant background checks on every applicant for employment.