The Occupational Health and Safety Act (OSHA) requires employers to provide a workplace that’s free of identifiable hazards capable of causing physical or psychological harm. This means that employers are obligated under the law to avoid hiring employees with an identifiable history of violence and to take appropriate action to ensure they are hiring people who do not have a history of violent behavior.
Of course knowing that hiring people with a history of violence is a risk for any business is one thing. Determining that history of violence can be a little bit tricky.
Laws also exist to protect job applicants with an arrest on their records. There are many reasons for this. Not the least of which is the fact that an arrest is not the same thing as a conviction. Then there’s the added problem that it’s hard to rehabilitate some offenders if they are never given a second chance to become gainfully employed.
Employers Should be Concerned if a History of Violence is Exposed in an Employment Background Check
So, how do employers walk the tightrope between protecting their business interests, customers, and employees from potentially violent offenders or dangerous employees, and protecting their businesses from lawsuits and the potential legal, reputation, and financial fallout that is possible if a criminal report is used improperly?
The best way, by far, is to conduct a thorough criminal and background investigation on all candidates they are considering for employment. Not only are background investigations excellent tools for verifying references and education and work histories, but criminal background checks are also great for identifying a history of violent crimes as well.
That isn’t to say that every candidate with violence in his or her history is a bad candidate or even likely to bring violence into the workplace today. Avoid focusing on one single act or even acts that took place decades ago and look at the whole history of the candidate instead. This is what using a quality firm to handle the employment screening for all potential employees helps businesses to do – look at the big picture and assess the risks.
Using a reputable service to conduct criminal background checks on all candidates in consideration for employment can help businesses avoid a great deal of aggravation as well as the risks associated with hiring potentially violent employees who have had a history of violence.