Whether your current team consists of dozens or hundreds of people or you wear the many hats of: boss, accountant, custodian, salesperson, and receptionist, hiring is always a big deal. This is a decision that you must get right. Not only is your budget and ability to meet customer and client demand impacted, but ultimately, your reputation as a trustworthy business that delivers as promised on the line.
Background checks and drug screenings are critical in hiring. Why is it so important? And is there any easy way to check this important step off of your to-do list when recruiting and onboarding new people?
Hiring? You Need a Robust Background Check and Drug Screening Process
A handshake is not always as good as a written contract. We can’t afford to look at it that way. Hiring managers need to trust but verify. Reviewing the resume or application and meeting the candidate at an interview gives us useful information and insights, but again, it is not enough. You might get a “good feeling” about someone, but you should not stake your reputation and your business’s future on that gut response.
You need to know who they are and a bit about their history (as allowed by law to protect the candidate’s privacy). A background check and drug screening are essential in:
- Reducing the risk of theft, violence, abuse, and other criminal acts
- Determining if a candidate is a good fit for the job
- Safeguarding your business, staff, and customers from the acts of an employee (you have a legal obligation to protect them and could be held liable for actions of an employee who has not had a background check)
- Mitigating liability in terms of negligent hiring lawsuits
As mentioned, it is your right as an employer to conduct a background check on new hires – but that does not give you license to dig into every aspect of their past. You also have an obligation to follow the law and respect their rights. For example, under the Fair Credit Reporting Act, you must provide candidates with a summary of their rights under the FCRA and get their permission in writing through an Authorization and Release Form. If the background check uncovers information that leads you not to hire someone, then you must give them a copy of the report and let them know that they can challenge this by completing an Adverse Action Form.
All Florida employers must comply with the FCRA, and it is essential that you understand the limits of background checks. (We’ll discuss drug screening in a moment.) There are limits to the information you can collect. For example, consumer reporting agencies (CRAs) cannot disclose:
- Title 11 bankruptcies more than 10 years in the past at the time of the report
- Civil suits and/or judgements, tax liens, collections, or adverse information (excluding certain criminal convictions) older than seven years
Florida does not have a “ban the box” type regulation. Ban the box is a federal law that requires employers to consider a candidate’s qualifications first rather than looking at criminal or arrest records. Some counties and jurisdictions do however. So again, be sure you know the law in your area.
There are also Level 1 and Level 2 background checks. For example, the background screening AHCA (Agency for Health Care Administration) uses Level 2 searches, which go into more depth as the individuals under consideration will be in positions of responsibility to others. Typically, private sector construction related companies do not need to undertake Level 1 or 2 searches; they can go through a CRA.
Now, back to drug screening. In Florida, employers must require applicants to submit to a drug test. If they refuse or receive a positive test result, the employer can use this as a valid reason for refusal to hire. You can also require employees to submit to “reasonable suspicion” drug testing after hire.
Is There an Easy Way to Do Background Check and Drug Screening?
Knowing which laws are applicable to your business is mission-critical when it comes to conducting compliant background checks and drug screenings. That can be difficult, as you may not be subject to certain laws (such as ban the box) but are required to follow others. Make sure your company has a clear and written policy that has been duly reviewed by an attorney.
An effective way to streamline the process – as well as your entire hiring procedures as a whole – is to entrust the task to a labor staffing agency. We have the knowledge and experience necessary to ensure you are compliant – and that you get the best candidates for the job.
Labor for Hire specializes in matching the right unskilled, semi-skilled, and skilled workers with the right companies. Not only do we screen applicants, handle the interview process, and conduct necessary trainings (OSHA), but we take on the task of running background checks and drug screenings to ensure that all parties are protected.
Contact our team to learn more.