Beefing up background checks

Hiring workers is becoming an ever-trickier business these days as the amount of resume and work history fraud is on the rise

ATLANTA. Hiring workers is becoming an ever-trickier business these days as the amount of resume and work history fraud is on the rise. In many instances, this trend can leave companies exposed to expensive liability lawsuits, warns Larry Besnoff, a labor lawyer with Obermayer Rebmann Maxwell & Hippel LLC at a speech here at Waste Expo.

The solution: increasing the use of credit and criminal background checks can reduce that problem and create a safer environment for company workers and customers, Besnoff said.

“For decades the first thing courts ask a company whose employee has committed an offense is, ‘did you check their criminal background when you hired them?’” he said. “The lesson here is that you will be second-guessed by the court and juries if you don’t scrutinize your employees’ history and resume.”

Fellow speaker Arthur Cohen, also a labor lawyer and vp-operations for background check firm Concorde Inc., noted that 34% of all job applicants today lie about experience, education, or ability on their resume, with 11% lying about the reason they left a former employer, 30% exaggerating their accomplishments, and 9% falsely claiming college degrees or listing false employers or jobs that did not exist.

“We have a problem today in that thieves, drug users, and imposters in the workforce pose risks not only to fellow employees but to your customers as well,” Cohen said. “While most standard background checks go back only three to seven years, you as an employer are not limited as to how far back you can research an applicant’s history, as long as you obtain the proper consent.”

More in-depth background screening can also save companies money, Cohen added, helping to minimize hiring and retention claims. This saves time and money, resulting from wrong hires. Background checks also help create safer workplaces, reducing violence and sexual harassment. They also allow employers to make decisions on facts, not guesses, which helps if legal matters arise, Cohen said.

“The biggest reason for background checks is that it creates a shield for businesses,” he said. “Simply put, an individual with something to hide who learns you have a rigorous background screening process may not apply to your company to start with.”

To comment on this article, write to Sean Kilcarr at [email protected].

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