The white paper, released by the American Society of Safety Engineers, notes that many jobs, by law, require the proper testing and investigation of applicants. However, for positions in which extensive testing is not mandatory, there are risk management ramifications when appropriate testing or investigations are not conducted. Organizations that do not adequately screen their applicants can incur losses because of possible poor employee performance, fraud, injuries, judgments and damages, and other costs.
For instance, the federal government designates positions in different levels of sensitive positions, each of which has different requirements for background checking. A Personnel Security Investigation (PSI) may be required. A PSI consists of several inquiries and are outlined in the white paper including a national agency check (NAC); a local agency check (LAC); a financial check; field interviews of references to include coworkers, employers, personal friends, educators, neighbors and other appropriate individuals; checks of records held by employers, courts and rental offices; and a subject interview.
Some of the best practices outlined in the white paper that employers can use to limit their risk when hiring include job applications, reference checks, DNA and fingerprint checks, credit checks, substance abuse screening, psychological screening, medical screening and criminal background checks.
"Knowing what is required or allowed by law is the first step to minimizing liability. Making a determination regarding best practices, and implementing those best practices where allowed by law, is another key step," said Steve NyBlom, an ASSE RM/I practice specialty administrator.
Additionally, employers should be familiar with laws such as the Americans with Disabilities Act (42 USC ß12101), the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (www.eeoc.gov), the Fair Credit Reporting Act (15 USC ß1681 et seq.), and, the Federal Trade Commission (www.ftc.gov) that protect the rights of applicants.
"This white paper assists ASSE members and other professionals in making the right hiring decisions as the need for background checks rapidly increases," said ASSE Council on Practices and Standards (CoPS) Vice President Jim Smith. The CoPSí Risk Management/Insurance (RM/I) Practice Specialty developed the white paper can be found at www.asse.org/drisk_WhitePaper.htm.