Saturday, May 19, 2007

How to Conduct a CriminlaL Records Search

by Joe Hoover

Why conduct a criminal records check? This is a question that many prospective employers, landlords or business people ask when first considering an individual for employment, property rental or as a business associate. People often put too much faith in a resume, a simple background check or contacting referees. In today’s society, it is necessary to follow through with a criminal records check to be absolutely certain that the person under consideration is as trustworthy as they may appear to be from an initial interview or check of their paperwork.

The following are examples of imperative reasons why a criminal records check is of paramount value:

1. Workplace Violence – Acts of violence against a co-worker or a member of the public can be devastating. Even the simple threat of violence can cause panic or havoc. Workplace or residential safety is a major concern to employers, landlords and those who work or reside on the premises. A background check may often reveal a record of past violence, which could be a deciding factor in deciding upon a person’s character, as often there is a propensity to re-offend in the future. Prevention of workplace or neighborhood violence means thoroughly pre-screening all new applicants.

2. Negligent Hiring – Employers have been the subject of large jury verdicts for negligent hiring in cases where they hire a person with a criminal record who later harms others. An employer who hires someone who is dangerous or unfit for a job, or who hires a person with a criminal record, can be found liable for negligent hiring.

3. Employers Legal Duty – To insure a safe workplace, employers should exercise due diligence in the hiring process by making reasonable inquiries about who they hire. As well as being an important preventative measure, checking criminal records demonstrates due diligence. The same need for due diligence can be applied to landlords if they rent to a tenant who later is proven to have been responsible for property loss, damage or violence against others.

4. Childcare Institutions, Nursing Homes, and Hospitals – Caregiver institutions should exercise extra caution when recruiting personnel. Does the prospect have a record of child molestation or a history of violent behavior or drug abuse? Once again, these institutions can be held liable for any harm brought to their clients or patients by an employee who was not properly screened. And jury awards in such cases can be devastating to the institution.

5. Government Contractors – Industries that execute government contracts will not hire employees with an anti-establishment disposition or with a felony record or a terrorist connection. It is important for such contractors to conduct criminal background checks for both national security and to guard against loss of their contracts.

6. Neighborhood Communities – Community watch groups or homeowner’s associations should conduct criminal record checks to assure that individuals planning to move in do not have a criminal background or a history of complaints to local law enforcement authorities. Such checks help to insure the continuation of a peaceful and safe residential community.

7. The Internet – The biggest dangers one confronts online are frauds and sex crimes. Face-to-face meetings set up after online acquaintances develop can end up as an unpleasant or dangerous experience for one party. A criminal background check helps one to avoid such a scenario.

Read the Complete "How to Search for Criminal Records," Article

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