But I DO a Background Checks!
And my employee stole from me anyway! What good are the background checks?
A recently burned employer might well ask this question. Despite doing everything right, despite pre employment screening that included background checks, would an employee with no previous history of trouble with the law suddenly turn into workplace thief?
Just because a background check is conducted and comes back clean, does not absolutely mean that the applicant has never stolen. The check may not have been broad enough, not checking in every location where the applicant lived, worked, or attended school. He may have a record that he acquired as a juvenile, which is sealed, or an adult record that has been expunged.
Or he may have been caught stealing and never prosecuted, meaning a public record of his misdeeds was never produced.
So a clean criminal background checks do not necessarily indicate the absence of criminal behavior, only that it wasn’t found or has never been documented.
Does this mean that background checks should not be done? Absolutely not! An employer should exercise his right to legally uncover any fact that has the potential to harm his business. And positive results may exclude a potential thief from your business.
Does revealing a spotty history such as a criminal record mean an employer shouldn’t hire someone? Not necessarily. Various factors go into this decision, including age at the time of the offense, length of time since the offense, and applicability to the job to be performed.
But consider this: Jails and prisons are full of offenders who have had multiple opportunities to “go straight.” By the time a person is sentenced to serve time in a jail or prison, they have probably been on probation several times and continued their behavior until the court decided that incarceration was the only answer to protect the public.
As a business owner, remember that you have to keep protecting your livelihood by keeping your eyes open to the potential that some of your employees may steal from you, even if they have clear background checks.