Avoid the Risk of Bad Hires and Litigation By Investing in Reliable Criminal Background Checks

There are many ways to conduct cheap criminal background checks and only a few ways to conduct the best criminal background check.

Criminal background checks often fail in any of several ways:

  • By missing relevant criminal records because of shoddy or incomplete research methods,
  • By associating criminal records with the wrong person, and
  • By providing incomplete or abbreviated information that employers do not understand.

Each of these common mistakes by low-price, low-service data brokers causes employers to hire the wrong people and puts them at risk of litigation.

We may make it harder for you to hire employees.

New clients sometimes complain that Imperative is making it harder for them to hire new employees. What they mean is that we find and report more records about their applicants than other background screening firms.

However, they remain our clients because they know that we are reducing their future headaches by helping them avoid knuckleheads and criminals in the workplace.

Most background check-related lawsuits against employers start with incorrect criminal history information being provided to the employer.

Think about it – why would an applicant whose background check was accurate talk to a lawyer?

Most commonly, the background check will contain criminal records that do not belong to the individual or incorrectly report the information.

When the employer refuses to hire the individual based on the erroneous background check, the individual goes to see a plaintiff’s lawyer.

While the lawyer could sue the background check company, it is much easier to find a way to sue the employer. It just takes one technical error in the employer’s process to establish an FCRA class-action representing every single applicant on whom the employer has run a background check.

Imperative ensures that the information our clients receive is accurate, up to date, and meets the standards of the FCRA and state law, avoiding adverse action based upon inaccurate information.

It is important to realize that there is no reliable single source of criminal records.

The FBI has spent millions of dollars building their criminal records database and it is woefully incomplete. Beyond that, most employers do not have access to those records.

“National” criminal records databases are amalgamations of the criminal records from various counties and states. However, many jurisdictions do not make their records available for inclusion in these databases – including whole states like New York and California.

When compared to Imperative’s thorough county and federal court research methods, “national” databases miss around half of the criminal records.

The best criminal background check includes information from multiple sources.

We understand that it is all “greek” to you.

Imperative doesn’t expect our clients to become experts in criminal records.

That’s our job.

That’s why we avoid abbreviations directly from court computers and esoteric legal terms without plain-English definitions. This may make our reports a little longer but they are definitely easier to understand!

Our clients can call and speak directly with the analyst who researched their information but, because we do such a great job of anticipating clients’ questions, they rarely have to!

Avoid hiring mistakes, headaches, and litigation!

Contact Imperative Today!

While we work with each client to identify the risks associated with introducing new people into their workplace, we recommend that the best and most thorough criminal background check include the following components:

Multi-Jurisdictional Criminal Records Database Review – Sometimes referred to as a “national” or “nationwide” criminal history search, this database contains millions of records from counties and states across the country, sex-offender registrations from all fifty states, the Office of Foreign Asset Control’s (OFAC) list of identified terrorists and other international criminals (often referred to as the Patriot Act search) and other sources.

Some states make only limited information available for inclusion in this database. Our experience is that this database will yield about 50% of the records we would otherwise find by conducting our thorough county-level criminal records searches. However the database is useful because it identifies potential records in counties where research otherwise might not have been conducted.

In order to comply with the Fair Credit Reporting Act’s requirement that we ensure maximum possible accuracy, any records found in the database will be verified with the originating county prior to being reported to our client.

County-level Criminal Records SearchesThe best source for criminal records are the actual criminal case indices of the local court clerks in the jurisdictions where an individual has lived, worked, or attended school. 98% of the records we report to our clients originate at the county level. (The remaining records come from the federal district courts.)

If no limits are placed on the number of searches conducted, we will conduct misdemeanor and felony research in the county-wide indices in each county associated with the applicant’s last ten years’ address history under all names strongly associated with the individual. Each search will cover a minimum of ten years of criminal records in that jurisdiction – most will cover much longer periods.

State-level Criminal Records Searches – We’ll search the available criminal records databases, prison records, and sex offender registries in each state associated with the applicant’s address history, using all names strongly associated with the applicant. Any records found in the state’s records will be verified with the originating county prior to being reported to our client.

Federal District Criminal Records Searches – While federal court records account for only 2% of the criminal records we report to our clients, they are always items of interest to our clients. Federal court cases include bank robbery, insurance fraud, interstate drug and gun crimes, and kidnapping.

If no limits are placed on the number of searches conducted, we will conduct research in in each federal district associated with the applicant’s last ten years’ address history under all names strongly associated with the individual.

Criminal Case Copy Retrieval – It is often desirable to retrieve copies of documents from court files to better understand the conduct the individual was alleged to have been engaged, the details of any plea agreements, probation terms, probation compliance or violations, or to develop additional information about the parties to the case.

International Criminal Information

Where not prohibited by local law or custom, Imperative can assist with your international due diligence projects.

It is important for US-based employers to understand that no other nation has the same liberal concept of “open records” that we understand in the United States.

In some countries, most or all court information is closed to the public. In others, the information available is limited or unreliable due to lax court or police record-keeping practices or even corruption. Finally, while in the US, courts’ jurisdictions are orderly and typically span wide and understandable geographic regions, many other nations’ courts are based in municipalities or neighborhoods and it may be costly or logistically impractical to search a wider geographic region. In all cases, a records search resulting in “no records found” should not be assumed to mean that the party searched has no relevant records.

Evaluate Your Current Background Screening Process Today!

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