All employers and human resource professionals should make it their policy to run a background check on prospective employees so they are aware of any potential issues and to protect those who are currently employed. If an employee brings harm to another, the employer could be sued for negligent hiring. Hiring a new employee without doing an background employment screening can ruin a company’s reputation and result in lost business.

Conducting an employee screening prior to finalizing the hiring process will provide court records, credit information and other information. There are many companies now that can provide an online background check, making it easy for the HR professional to get the information he requires to make an informed hiring decision.

The Fair Credit Reporting Act (FRCA) provides employers with the details they need to perform background checks on applicants. This covers driving and criminal records as well as credit checks. These types of checks are typically done to hire, fire, reassign or promote an employee. Certain jobs automatically require employee background check, jobs that would have an employee working with young children, the elderly, the handicapped and security, as well as jobs requiring bonding among employees.

Hiring a talented job candidate is an exciting prospect for any organization, but part of an HR professional’s job also includes firing people. This can be especially challenging when it’s not due to their skill set or experience, but something that becomes apparent from a background check. There are ways to do it tactfully and, more important, legally.

Below is a list of things that should be considered when terminating employment due to negative information found through an employee background check and to keep within the parameters of the law:

  • At-Will Termination: According to the U.S. Small Business Administration, all states, with the exception of Montana, allows employers to adopt an “at-will” policy that enables them to terminate an employee for any reason and even for no reason, including due to negative result from an employment screening. All employee contracts should include this policy information to protect the company from future law suits. If an employee is not providing satisfactory performance, it’s helpful to keep records of unacceptable business practices, excessive time off and tardiness—they will serve as helpful documentation should he decides to sue following termination.
  • When Termination is Illegal: Employers cannot fire an employee out of discrimination of age, race, gender, religion or because of disability. They cannot fire an employee who contacts authorities for illegal activities or who takes time off work due to illness, military leave, to vote or when called for jury duty.

It is wise for HR professionals to have a professional employment screening firm in place so they can have applicants checked prior to making an employment offer. It will alleviate the issue of having to terminate someone who has already started employment.