When you hire a new employee, the responsible thing to do is to run a series of background checks on him or her. This will clue you into any past indiscretions that may endanger your business and employees, and will enable you to check the accuracy of information that a potential employee has provided to you.

But, what happens when you choose to run a background check on an existing employee rather than a new hire? Many businesses are following this type of rescreening practice as a way to ensure safety and decrease their chances of liability. So, let’s take a look at what you need to know about running a background check on a current employee:

Why You Might Run a Background Check on Current Employees

There’s no way that any business can know everything that each employee is doing when they’re not on the clock. It is possible that a current employee may have had a run-in with the law while under your employ, which would explain an absence or two that seemed to come out of nowhere. You can sometimes get a clue into such things by paying attention to an employee’s behavior. If their work has suffered recently or they seem to be on edge, perhaps they have legal troubles on their mind. If those legal troubles include anything of a violent nature, it’s definitely something that you should be made aware of. Another reason why you might need to run a background check on an existing employee is for underwriting purposes if he or she uses a company vehicle.

Conducting a Search Takes a Bit of Finesse

If you’ve decided to run background checks on current employees, you must take certain things into consideration. First, you must do it in such a way that is fair and not discriminatory. This is often accomplished by running a routine check on all employees every two or three years. It can also be done fairly by running a search on everyone in the event that illegal conduct has occurred. The second consideration: each employee must give consent to a background check. In some cases, consent by an employee made at the time of hiring will equal lifetime consent, but it’s also possible that new consent must be given for each new background search.

The Decision to Fire an Existing Employee Based on the Results

Once you’ve run a background check on your current employees, you’ll need to decide how to proceed with any new information you’ve come across. If nothing comes back, then your job is easy – just let them know that the search has been concluded successfully. If new information comes up, primarily criminal in nature, you need to figure out if firing the employee is the right thing to do. There is no easy answer. On the one hand, you don’t want your other employees to be in any sort of danger. But, on the other hand, if you find a criminal offense that didn’t involve violence or excessive drug use, you might decide there’s no reason to fire the person. Also, if you do find something in your search, you must divulge to the employee what you found prior to terminating employment using the FCRA’s preadverse action process so that he or she will have time to dispute the accuracy of the info.

Whether you want to check out a new hire or current employee, running background checks will prove to be invaluable in assisting to keep your business and its employees safe. NationSearch can run a series of checks including criminal, drug abuse, employment, education, and others. Reach out today and we’ll help decide which searches are best for you.