Staffing Agencies, Your Company, And Background Checks

Jul 02, 2013

Staffing Agencies, Your Company, And Background Checks

Companies use staffing agencies to improve productivity, decrease costs, avoid unemployment claims, and for flexibility. Some companies only hire on a temp-to-hire basis, meaning the employees that work for them as regular employees came to the company from a staffing agency. This gave them a chance to “try out” the employee, ensuring they were a good fit with the company culture and fellow employees, before they were hired as a regular employee.

But are the staffing agencies screening these people the same way you screen them when your human resources department brings in new employees? Do they have a policy with regards to background screening and what is it? If you have not had this conversation with your staffing agency, you might want to. Re-visit your background screening policy and make sure the policy is mirrored at the staffing agency you use. Like it or not, both the staffing agency and your business can face liability for negligent hiring, supervision or retention.

The good thing is that doing background screens can help protect both entities from that liability…if the checks are done correctly and follow EEOC and FCRA guidelines. The EEOC (Equal Employment Opportunity Commission) states that if an applicant shares that they have a criminal record of some sort, and the background check confirms it, the employer and staffing agency cannot use that as a reason for not hiring (or placing) the person without considering the nature of the job, the seriousness of the offense, and the length of time since it happened. With regards to the FCRA (Fair Credit Reporting Act) guidelines, whomever is conducting the background screen needs to have that new hire sign a disclosure and authorization prior to processing the background check.

What does all this mean? Bottom line is that if you are not sure if your staffing agency is background screening policy conducting background screens the same way your company is, it’s time to have a meeting. Employers who hire or retain an employee that is a threat to others can be held liable for that employee’s wrongful acts. Companies have a duty to protect their employees and their customers. And staffing agencies are placing people at your company to work. It is your responsibility to understand what type of screening process those agencies are using to ensure they are placing the right people at your company.

Ultimately what we don’t want to see is the young man hired to deliver pizza cause a terrible car accident due to his reckless driving. Information you would have known if a comprehensive background check (with motor vehicle record check) was done. Or have a staffing agency place a person at a childcare center that has a history of assaults on children. Two unpleasant examples but, unfortunately, these things happen.

3rd Degree Screen can review your current processes, as well as the staffing agency’s, with regards to background screenings. And we can help ensure that the checks you are doing are providing you with the information relative to the position a person is applying for. Being prepared can help protect everyone involved, including your customers, employees, and the staffing agency.

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