Understanding Criminal Background Checks: A Comprehensive Guide

Criminal Background Checks

While there are many aspects involved when you are looking into someone’s background, one of the most important ones is the criminal background check. Criminal records reveal a lot about the subject’s personality and could help you make the best personnel decisions.

Let’s learn about criminal background checks and what to do when you need to perform one. 

What Are Criminal Background Checks

A criminal background check helps companies look into the criminal history of a test subject by verifying different sources of information. It involves using third-party resources like court records, public records, and government records to check whether the individual has ever been convicted of a crime. 

The process of performing a criminal background check is different depending on the country and situation. However, most background checks follow a standard procedure. The first thing you must do before performing a background check is to ask the subject of the test for their consent and personal identifying information. In the US, the full names and SSN numbers should be enough.

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Once you obtain these records, you can engage another company to do the search for you or perform the search yourself. If you engage another company in the process then you must ask the company to keep all the information they collect private. The company will check government records and all records at their disposal to be sure about the history of the subject of the check.

You should ask the subject of the test to explain any of the results and give their dispute if they have any as soon as you are done. That completes the entire process of a criminal background check.

Reasons Why You Need Background Checks

Running criminal background checks is a very important process. Here are just a few compelling reasons why you need a background check for any employee or client:

  1. Background checks help you learn about the personal traits of a prospective employee or client to know whether they are a good fit for you.
  2. The information you get from a criminal background check can help you create a safe working environment since it tells you who you can trust.
  3. Criminals with a sordid past always have a bad reputation unless they can show they have changed. You can reduce the chances of your company having a bad reputation by running a criminal background check on everyone you interact with.

Running a criminal background check gives you the peace of mind you need to be effective in all the work you do.

What To Know Before Running A Background Check

Criminal background checks are very sensitive topics. Before running a criminal background check, there are a few things you should be aware of.

Consent Is Primary

You must always obtain consent from the subject of any criminal background check before using their private information to perform a check. Failure to obtain consent could expose you to liability in case the subject of the check decides to sue.

Background Checks Must Subscribe To The Law

Background checks are highly regulated by different statutory and government agencies in the US. The first law you should know about if your background check involves employment decisions is Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1991. The law prohibits you from running a background check on any prospective employee if the decision is based on attributes like race, sex, national origin, or religion. Running a criminal background check in such situations could be considered discrimination.

The Federal Trade Commission regulates how companies collect, use, and dispose of the information they rely on when running a criminal background check. The commission requires you to tell the individual why you are running the check and to get written permission for the check. You should also tell the individual what information you relied on when making the decision. 60 days should be enough time to dispute the information and set the record straight.

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You should also dispose of the information you obtain in a secure way within one year after collecting it. You can dispose of the records by shredding, burning, or pulverizing them in a way that no one else can understand what those records refer to.

What To Do After Running A Background Check

When you get the results of a background check, you need to take time before making a final decision. The results of a criminal background check should not be the primary reason why you make any decision as long as the subject of the test is straightforward about it right from the start. If you feel like the subject of the test is trustworthy then you can make a judgment call and trust the person.

Wrapping Up

Criminal background checks are always a great way to be sure that the subject of the background check is who they say they are. Such checks keep you from embarrassing your company in the future because of interacting with shady people. Hopefully, our discussion has provided you with all the information you need for your next criminal background checks. Remember to follow the law strictly when running these checks if you don’t want to fall on the wrong side of the law.

See Also: Different Screenings Involved in an Employment Background Check

By James Turner

James Turner is a tech writer and journalist known for his ability to explain complex technical concepts in a clear and accessible way. He has written for several publications and is an active member of the tech community.

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