Background Checks: How Often and Why
by Michael Guidry, CEO of The Guidry Group

Our recommendation is to perform employee background inquiries on a quarterly, bi-annual or—at the very least—yearly basis. The initial background provides you, the employer, with a benchmark for future inquiry comparisons. Updated inquiries alert you to any changes that may warrant a closer look. Most employees assume that they’re in the clear after reports are run once. Some have an uncanny way of hiding things that may jeopardize their employment if employers become aware.

 

Employees in driving positions are not required by law to report incidents outside normal business hours to their employer. But employers need to know about infractions if they utilize that employee in the capacity of driving for the household in any manner.

 

It’s important to check credit reports too. Hard times may cause even good people to do things that they wouldn’t normally do, but feel forced due to finances. If a person is privy to sensitive or intimate company information, they may feel compelled to find a way out illegally. Credit reports will reveal whether or not an employee may be struggling financially and give good cause for the employer to keep a watchful eye.

 

An all-around criminal felony check is always prudent, as it alerts employers to employee “after hours” character and how the behavior may affect job performance.

 

From our files come several real-life examples of the critical information these reports can reveal. 

  1. A nanny responsible for transporting children to and from school was discovered to have numerous driving violations on her record. She was removed from the driving position.
  2. A credit report for a housekeeper who had been with a family for more than 14 years showed that the housekeeper, who was known as dependable, reliable, and always willing to go the extra mile, had incurred more than $28,000 in debt in 18 months. The family is watching her closely and has even changed her working schedule to make certain she is never in the home alone.
  3. A financial advisor who had been with a family for a number of years one day disappeared. Several months later the family received a payment coupon booklet in the mail. The vanished financial advisor, who had power of attorney on the family’s behalf, had taken a loan for nearly $200,000. A background check may have avoided this scenario.
  4. A high net worth family in the Midwest was considering hiring a summer tutor for their young children. Though credentials were in place and impressive, the mother had a gut feeling that something just wasn’t right about this individual. A background check proved the mother was right on the money. The person they were considering as a tutor was a registered sex offender.

Background Checks: What Kind
We recommend that employers of domestic staff become familiar with these kinds of reports:

  1. For all prospective employees: “Developed” reference checks (people who have worked with or personally know the candidate), criminal check of the counties of residence, and employment for the past five to seven years.
  2. For extra security: Credit header check, federal criminal check, multi-jurisdictional criminal database search.
  3. If working with children: Sex offender registry search, drug test, psychological test.
  4. If professional driver or driving children: Motor vehicle records search, drug test.
  5. If operating heavy machinery: Drug test.

Michael Guidry is CEO of The Guidry Group. Learn more at www.guidry.com.


This publication provides general information and/or recommendations that may apply to many different situations or operations.  Any recommendations described in this publication are not intended to be specific to your unique situation or operation and are not intended to address all possible hazardous conditions or unsafe acts that may exist. Consult with your staff and specialists to determine how and whether the information in this publication might guide you in specific plans for your situation or operations.  Additionally, this article does not substitute for legal advice, which should come from your own counsel.