Conducting a background check before hiring a prospective employee can prevent potential lawsuits from other employees and customers, as well as from an applicant who is rejected for a position.
Courts have ruled that employers have a duty to protect employees, customers, and clients from violence in the workplace. If an employee intentionally injures someone at work, you could be subject to a negligent-hire lawsuit if you failed to conduct an adequate background check that would have found that the individual had a history of violent behavior or that you knew the employee had a propensity toward violence but did not provide proper supervision and security.
Standards may be stricter in some states. You should consult an employment law attorney who is familiar with negligence laws in your state who can help you create and follow practices related to background checks that will help you comply with laws and protect yourself from negligent-hire lawsuits.
Many employers are tempted to search for information about potential employees online through Google or social media. While this could provide useful information, it could also open you up to a lawsuit. Information you find online might not be accurate. It might not even be related to the person you are considering for the position since multiple people could have the same name.
Employers are prohibited from discriminating against applicants on the basis of age, race, national origin, or disability. You might gain some of that information based on articles, comments, or photos you find online, which could lead the applicant to believe that that information was the reason why you did not hire him or her. You would be better off having a background check conducted by a professional company that searches databases of public information.
Checking the backgrounds of prospective employees is an important part of the hiring process. By conducting a professional and thorough background check prior to hiring an applicant, you can gain valuable information and protect yourself and your business from lawsuits.