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Is A Criminal History Check Really Needed?

As the number of requests for criminal history inquiries continues to grow, it is more important than ever that the information that is provided is accurate and up-to-date. Once, running a criminal history check would usually be restricted to law enforcement personnel, but now they are becoming a standard part of job applications and promotions within business and non-profit organizations. In addition, landlords screen their tenants to ensure that the prospective tenant does not have a history of incidents with the law, financial problems, or questionable work history.

The reason that these background checks are becoming so common in modern society is that companies want to reduce their risks. These risks that are determined help to weed out people who are not suitable for a position due to past transgressions. In the case of organizations that are responsible for vulnerable individuals such as the elderly, the handicapped, or children, it is vital to discover whether or not someone has ever been placed on a sexual offender list or has been convicted of any other type of abuse. When criminal background checks are not properly conducted, the risk of abuse on a new job is ever present.

Just thirty years ago, it was rare to find an organization that regularly made use of this type of personal past history check. However, in the past 15 years, the practice has grown exponentially. One of the biggest reasons for this growth has been the rise of the Internet and the ease with which the background research can now be conducted. As the cost has steadily decreased, the use of screening procedures prior to employment has risen rapidly.

The single biggest reason that employers cite when asked why they regularly conduct pre-employment screenings is the desire to mitigate their risks. In settings where at-risk people are cared for, the use of these inquiries is often mandated by the desire to protect the people they are caring for. Many members of the public expect schools and other organizations to protect their children this way.

In addition to protecting the people under their care, companies also wish to protect themselves from lawsuits in case they do hire someone who causes harm to one of their clients or patients. If a thorough criminal history check was performed prior to employment, they cannot successfully be sued for negligent hiring practices. In addition, many businesses do these types of checks to avoid hiring people who might present a danger to the other employees at the business. A safer workplace is a happier and more productive work place.

One of the hurdles to providing accurate research results is gaining timely access to pertinent information. While there are many companies that offer this service, it is best to find a professional company that is well-versed in digging out the necessary information. Depending upon the position for which an employee is being hired, some background history checks are more extensive than others.

These professional third parties are well informed about the legal restrictions and provide high quality data to their clients. Because of their expertise, they are capable of assembling a report in a short period of time. No matter what the report is needed for, the single most important thing is that it be accurate. Otherwise, there is the risk that someone will be hired that should not be, or that someone will file a lawsuit because a decision was made based on erroneous information.

Criminal history checks are here to stay. They figure into hiring decisions, the ability to rent a property, and whether or not someone will get a promotion. They help to protect the vulnerable and provide companies with needed information to make good decisions. In fact, it now pays more than ever to maintain a clean record.


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