By now, it should be common knowledge that employment background checks are one of the surest ways to determine that a candidate is qualified and prepared for a job. It’s also no secret that professional background check agency have all the training, certifications, and resources necessary to get the most information possible about a candidate. Nevertheless, there are still some companies that don’t put proper effort into screening their hires—and they’re quite literally paying the consequences.
A number of incidents have made headlines recently as major businesses have experienced the bitter aftertastes of not taking background checks seriously enough. Three will be discussed here.
A Million-Dollar Mistake
Industries that frequently deal with highly sensitive and personal information from their clients often require their employees to have a squeaky clean criminal background, which helps instill confidence that they’re trustworthy and honest. Banks are one of those industries. Wouldn’t you like to know that your money isn’t being handled by someone with a recent history of theft?
Unfortunately, J.P. Morgan Chase slipped up in this regard. The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority discovered that the company had neglected to conduct background checks on 8,600 of their employees between January 2009 and May 2017. Despite the fact that at least four of those employees had criminal histories that would’ve automatically made them ineligible for hire, they worked for J.P. Morgan Chase for several years, putting at risk everyone whose information came into their contact.
It should be noted that although convicts may work at the bank, they require regulatory approval if their crimes are of a nature deemed especially concerning. However, thorough screenings were not conducted, so there was no opportunity to obtain legitimate approval. It hardly encourages trust on the part of customers.
As punishment for such negligence, FINRA slapped a $1.25 million fine on J.P. Morgan Chase. Fortunately, the bank can save some face because, according to spokeswoman Jessica Francisco, they reported the problem themselves instead of waiting to be found out.
Big Risks, Big Fines
Uber faces the consequences of an even more egregious error. Not properly screening employees who will have control over money is one thing, but imagine not adequately checking people who will have control over other lives.
According to the Colorado Public Utilities Commission, Uber was found to have hired scores of drivers who didn’t measure up to the company’s standards. The drivers in question are guilty of felonies, major moving vehicle violations, drunk driving, and not being unable to provide proper licenses. As a result, the Colorado PUC has issued a Civil Penalty Assessment Notice to the tune of $8.9 million.
An investigation was launched into Uber’s hiring practices after a driver was accused of assaulting a passenger. That accusation is serious enough, but it could have been even worse for other customers if they’d ridden with drivers who were simply not fit to operate a vehicle and might have gotten their passengers hurt—or even killed.
Sadly, this isn’t the first time that Uber has had to pay for its poor background checks. Clearly, they haven’t internalized their lesson, but hopefully, the companies watching them will learn it. The alternative is continuous fines, endangered people, and a suffering professional reputation.
Placing the Vulnerable at Unnecessary Risk
Most recently, the Tennessee Department of Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities came under fire for hiring employees and volunteers who were not thoroughly screened before they started working, if they were screened at all. The negligence had been occurring since 2013.
Luckily, no major problems have directly resulted from these oversights, but it could just as easily have brought disaster upon the institution. This is especially true considering the many other problems that the department is currently facing due to bad hires or inefficient organization. Such issues include theft and manipulation of records. Background checks could help the department avoid the repercussions of taking on employees and volunteers who do more to harm their clients than help them.
Since the department serves some of the most vulnerable members of Tennessee’s population, the clear dismissal of background checks is inexcusable. Any company or institution that doesn’t demonstrate a decent sense of care for its customers or clients by conducting proper background checks similarly throws its sincerity and legitimacy into question.
The Moral of the Story
This is only some of the latest news detailing what happens when background checks are foregone. Background checks are a basic but necessary step toward making sure that you fill your company with all the best people to support its mission. Mistakes may occasionally be unavoidable, but you will see far fewer of them when you make an effort to have each and every candidate screened by a professional, licensed agency that is dedicated to quality.
Don’t forget these cautionary tales. There will always be more stories like these, but hopefully, you’ll never have one of your own.