If you’ve so much as turned on a television in recent years, you are aware that the issue of sexual harassment has become pivotal. It is up to every employer to protect themselves and their employees against the substantial impact that a single sexual harassment suit can have on a workplace, not to mention the victims. One of the first steps you can take to screen out these potential firestorm candidates is to perform a proper, in-depth background check.
Perform Criminal History Searches
While performing a criminal history search on candidates may seem obvious, it’s a step that an alarming number of employers feel comfortable skipping. This could be a momentous misstep. Background check vendors typically offer not only criminal searches, but also sex offender registry searches, allowing you to immediately screen for candidates where harassing behavior has already escalated to levels of assault. As a first step, this is an essential insight into the past behaviors of applicants.
However, to truly help screen for potential harassers, you will need to go a bit deeper. After all, the vast majority of those who commit sexual harassment are never arrested and have no criminal histories. If you only run a criminal history check, you will be leaving large gaps in your program through which these insidious applicants can join your workforce.
Importance of Reference Checks
Reference checks are the next step of coverage that companies should consider. Many background screening companies offer reference check services that can be tailored to ask the questions that employers prefer, allowing them to specifically focus on problematic behaviors. These checks can include previous managers, supervisors, coworkers and others that may be able to provide insight on behaviors that the applicant would, of course, never admit to during the interview process. After all, when an applicant is interviewing for a job, they will most likely be on their best behavior and may misrepresent an incident to protect themselves. The best way to get the truth is to ask others who would be in-the-know.
There are many other steps you can take to help prevent this issue, including specific interview questions, online behavioral screens and psychological quizzes that can be given. But these approaches all work best when an initial screening has already occurred. The third step in a process can really only be as effective as the first two steps that came before. If you are concerned about preventing this toxic workplace behavior, background checks and reference checks are a great place to start.
*GIS’ Blog is provided for informational purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice. Any statutes or laws cited in this article should be read in their entirety. If you or your customers have questions concerning compliance and obligations under United States or International laws or regulations, we suggest that you address these directly with your legal department or outside counsel.