Due Diligence and Background Checks in the time of Coronavirus - 5 things employers can do.
At the start of this pandemic due to Coronavirus, there was an increase in a significant amount of employees being laid off. Despite this with the Coronavirus happening and there is a near-total shutdown of some areas of the economy, employer’s is still recruiting people. Particularly some areas related to health care have a high level of recruitment. As the UK lockdown restrictions are lowering down and places a re-opening, there is a good chance that employers are re-hiring previously laid-off workers.
With recruiting or re-hiring there is the question of how to conduct pre-hire due diligence and background checks? Due to the fact that many courts, schools and businesses are not open. This is a problem and because of it employers and educational establishments are not able to respond back to them to confirm the requests. Lots of screening firms have procedures to be followed when an order cannot be carried out or fulfilled within a reasonable time period and they are keeping their clients alongside court closures.
1) Should there be a rescreening taken place for employees that are called back:
There are lots of employers that are planning to call back previous workers that they had laid off as soon as the economy open back up. This will benefit the employer as they will be re-hiring an employee that is trained and knows the team. However, there is a question raised of whether there should be a new background check? There is no simple answer to this straightforward question. Risk management is what it all comes down to and the risks that an employer is willing to take by bringing back previous employees without a new check. The following are some factors to take into account:
- One of the main reasons and justification for when carrying out a new check is when a company is hiring a new employee/ a stranger. It can be said to be arguably less important to put a new background check in place when the employer knows the person. This is because, in situations where there are returning employees, they are not known to be a stranger within the workplace.
- Furthermore, where there is a lower chance of where someone is arrested for a serious offence they are likely to have taken a short time off work and be able to return back to work. This can be a strong and convincing measure, however, it does not guarantee that there are not any reasons or concerns that is what happened.
- Lowing the risk within a business is key and is also one of the main reasons for carrying out criminal records research. It can also vary depending on the job role. The employer may have some increase in risk-averse with any employee that is coming back that is going to work with or have access to vulnerable people, like, caring home or people’s homes, working with young groups of people, the informed, the challenged or elderly people.
- It may not be necessary to carry out a whole background check but you may choose to put in place a criminal check of the jurisdiction or county where a candidate performs their work or where they occupy. However, where a background check looks as though it is beneficial before re-hiring an employee back to the company, an employer must ensure to check it is corresponding with the risk.
- When a check is carried out all procedures, process and all forms must be followed. It is key to keep in mind when a check is completed that the following are applied during the hiring process despite the fact that they are new or re-hired employees, these are the Consumers Credit Act 1978, and Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) and any other applicable laws.
2) Different sources of data:
To check if a court might have an electronic method to check records, or to check if the nationwide criminal records are up to date, an employer may choose to get in contact with their screening firm to get the information above. To secure as maximum accuracy as possible a qualified screening firm has a legal obligation to use rational processes to do so. There can be some situations where a court might use a method of publicly accessible record system that may give employers some details even though it is limited in some ways. Sources that are to be known as unreliable or faulty must not be used by a good background firm.
3) With courts being closed a further screening can be a benefit:
To show that you have conducted due diligence within your recruiting procedure having a background screening being taken place is of value to an employer. The candidate must still be truthful as they will not be aware of which court will be reporting and which court will not and will be delayed due to closures.
4) Use all the details you have on a candidate:
When recruiting there are lots of hiring tools not just background checks, this is something to keep in mind. An employer can make the decision of recruiting someone based on the interview, assessments, or other means, this normally occurs at the end of a procedure. Especially if an employer is honest it may not be a deal-breaker about the point that one county may be the reason for delaying because of closures.
5) Recruiting regardless of unfinished criminal records:
It does not mean that you are not able to carry out a sound recruiting process and decisions. Due diligence does not request “complete” background checks, this is something to keep in mind. It is required by due diligence for employers to take rational steps to achieve their duty of care. It is not in anyone’s control of court closures, or someone's previous employer’s office is closed.
All an employer can expect is to give in the background check and take into account the accessible results, despite being limited. Especially before making the recruiting decision with the situation that we are currently in.
Checking with employment law counsel with reference to producing an update to their background screening policy to acquiring and analysing and details that were not made accessible within the current period and any upcoming future employer, court, and school closes. It would be wise and advisable to check all of this.