Employers use background checks – both criminal and credit history – when deciding which candidates to hire. Due to the increase in lawsuits involving background checks, they tread a fine line when a practice that ensures they hire honest and credible people becomes problematic with consequences of legal issues. With this in mind, private companies and government agencies alike must practice caution and be well guided on factors to consider when conducting these background checks.
Michael Aamodt of DCI Consulting Group joins us to provide clarity on the practice of background checks and legalities involved in it. The organization Michael represents, DCI Consulting group is a human resource risk management group that provides expert solutions on labor and employment issues.
Michael’s impressive resume includes 26 years teaching Organizational and Forensic Psychology at Radford University, and having written books, researches and papers on the field of human resource and law enforcement psychology.
Some of the areas Michael discussed are:
- Accuracy, risk management and employee performance prediction as the top reasons why background checks are conducted.
- The components of background checks namely: Criminal history, financial history, employment and educational history, military record and life history.
- The lack of available research and studies on the correlation of background check results to employee performance.
- Legal issues and other potential problems met by employers when conducting background checks.
- Disparate treatment as a legal issue, where an employee requirement is a direct pretext for discrimination.
- Disparate impact, where you start with a neutral requirement that ends up innocuously weeding out certain demographic segments of the society somehow making it seem discriminatory.
- Credit checks done on employment candidates, the logic behind the checks, the legal limits on the practice, and type of information made available to employers.
- Statistics related to the practice of conducting credit check for employment, the attitudes of people with low credit scores, and the correlation of bad credit history to work performance.
- Best practices for employers when they do use financial history checks that ensures they are logical, fair and non-discriminatory.
- Research and statistics on criminal history checks, and the reasons why employers are hesitant to hire applicant with criminal records.
- EOCC/OFCCP best practices for employers to eliminate discrimination, assesse candidates and their circumstances individually, and define thresholds for exclusionary periods.
- A flowchart of questions and issues employers can consider and reflect on to ensure that they will not encounter legal issues due to the background checks.
- The two strategies to apply to determine job relatedness of your background checks through criterion validity studies or the targeted approach of individual assessments.
- The steps involved in the targeted approach or individual assessments that looks at risk analysis, crimes involved, the link between these two factors and exclusionary periods.
- The poll questions determined the practices of the attendees’ respective agencies when it comes to background checks and their thoughts on the exclusionary period cutoff.
The Q&A part of the webinar touched on topics as:
- Applying EEOC standards and laws related to equal employment opportunities.
- An employer’s responsibility to disclose their background check policy in their job postings.
- Using polygraphs as part of a hiring process.
- Applying the exclusionary period to pardoned convicts.
- The widespread use of background checks.
- Practicing caution when reviewing an applicant’s social media account as a part of background check.
Books Written by Dr. Michael Aamodt: