A Case for Continuous Employment Background Checks
August 18, 2008
Remember the Anthrax scares just following the September 11th attacks? Nearly seven years later, the government finally tracked down the person they believe is responsible. Guess what? He was one of them. Bruce Ivins was employed as a government scientific researcher. Could they have known Ivins was capable of this by running Continuous Employment Background Checks?
The folks over at HRExecutive Online published a great article about what employers can do to monitor their existing employees. You might also recall that we included this trend of screening existing employees in our List of 2009 Screening Trends. Take a peek.
Screening Employees- By Tom Starner
When the powerful U.S. government has a tough time determining if one of its employees — an employee in a highly sensitive area — is mentally unstable and potentially dangerous to others, what kind of outcome can private employers expect?
Experts say the use of screening tools to reduce the risks associated with hiring or retaining a person who may turn to violence can be effective and worth the cost, but no system is infallible.
And, of course, it’s important to make sure the company follows privacy and employment laws when instituting screening policies.
In the government’s case, Bruce Ivins, who recently committed suicide after being named the likely suspect for the notorious anthrax killings in 2001, is now being described as “deeply disturbed” by the government itself. And the media is reporting that the potential litigation arising from the situation could run into “tens of millions of dollars,” according a report in USA Today.
“One of the best predictors of how a person will act in the future is his or her past actions,” says Pamela Devata, a senior associate in the Labor and Employment Practice Group of Seyfarth Shaw LLP, the Chicago-based law firm. “This is why running periodic background checks and screenings on employees or potential employees is imperative.
“[Running background checks] not only mitigates risk to the employer but more importantly, it increases the safety of the person’s co-workers,” she says.
Traditionally, employers have used background screening for job applicants, but there is an emerging trend for the use of such tools for current employees, says Nick Fishman, chief marketing officer and executive vice president of Cleveland-based employeescreenIQ.