Should You Do Periodic Background Checks on Current Employees?

Businesses lose millions of dollars each year due to employees who have a negative change in their behavior. Most companies perform an employment background check before hiring an individual. At the time of hire, the employee’s record might be clean, but it could change as time goes on. 

A background check at the time of hire only covers up until that point and does not reflect what will happen in the future. Employers who are concerned with workplace violence or theft might want to consider conducting periodic background checks on current employees as well. 

There are certain positions in finance, security, or healthcare which may require regular screening of employees to ensure the safety of everyone within the organization. Security threats from within an organization including stealing information or confidential files or sabotaging corporate equipment can come from employees. 

Repeat screenings hold employees accountable and ensure that only trustworthy individuals have access to secure information. 


Screening Tools to Protect the Company

There are several screening tools that can protect a company if they suspect an employee has suspicious behavior. For example, a criminal check can alert the human resources department to any criminal behavior that an employee may have engaged in since their last background check. A drug test will give confirmation for any employees that might be missing work, showing up late, or are unproductive. 

Checking an employee’s credit from time to time decreases the risk of fraud. A credit check can relay bad judgment or financial issues that could lead to stealing. For those employees who drive company vehicles as part of their job a periodic Motor Vehicles Research Search from the DMV will indicate a violation such as a DUI or expired license. 



Comprehensive Background Checks for Current Employees

Once a person is hired, they might not worry too much about how their personal life affects their professional one. However, a comprehensive background check can alert companies to potential issues with their employees. 

Job Performance:

  • An employee’s personal activities might be affecting job performance negatively. For example, substance abuse might carry over into working hours making it difficult for the employee to arrive at work on time and perform the job correctly.


  • An employer has an obligation to protect its employees at the workplace. A person who engages in certain criminal activity may be harmful to others in the workplace. 

Criminal Activity at Work:

  • If a business suspects criminal activity is ongoing, it may want to run a criminal background check on an employee. 

Insurance Purposes:

  • Many insurance carriers require annual driver license checks on employees who operate company vehicles. 


Who Should Have a Periodic Background Check?

Some situations warrant that an employee be rescreened, such as a change in job position. An employee with new job responsibilities such as handling financial information or having a higher level of security might need to be screened again. If the original background check did not cover this information, then it is definitely needed. 

Employees that have been with the company for a long time might not have been asked to do a background check initially, or the company’s procedures might have changed over the years. Current employees should be held to the same procedures as new hires. There could be parts of a background check that were not previously administered.

Lastly, if an employee exhibits unusual or suspicious behavior, a re-screening might also be in order. An incident or accident that is not normal behavior for the behavior may indicate alcohol or drug use. 

If HR updates background screening policies, it is a good idea to hold all employees to the same standards, which would require the screening of everyone.



Considerations for Screening Current Employees

If an employer chooses to screen current employees, there are a few considerations to make sure the checks are beneficial to the business. There could be discrimination cited if the entire workforce is not screened, so it is a good idea to make sure everyone is re-checked within a reasonable amount of time.

A best practice is to inform employees when they are hired that continual background screenings are part of the job. The policy should indicate how often the employee will be screened. 

Depending on the state law and whether or not the employer is considered ‘at will’, rescreening employees might be a breach of the law. The employer should check all local and state laws before deciding to perform background checks on their workforce. Should something be discovered during the check, the employee must be advised of pre-adverse action and be allowed to dispute any discrepancies. The experts at DataCheck can help you with your employment needs and are here to answer any questions you may have.