Hiring an individual with an unsavoury past puts the whole company at risk. It’s bad enough when you hire someone who doesn’t have the right qualifications for the job or a good personality to fit right into the organisation, but bringing in someone with a criminal history can be a recipe for disaster.
How Organisations Conduct Pre-employment Screening Criminal History Checks
1] How much information can an employer get?
Current laws offer Australian business the right to perform background screening checks to see if a job applicant has a criminal record.
To make sure you get all the relevant information, you should use an agency accredited with the Australian Criminal Intelligence Commission, which has very strict criteria to allow such bodies access to national police databases.
When you order a police check on a potential employee you will receive the results of an extensive search through the police databases in all Australian states and territories.
Using an online agency cuts the waiting times and eliminates the red-tape typically associated with doing things the traditional way and asking the job applicant to go down to the police station and demand a national police check.
No need to wait for weeks for a background screening. You can get results in 1 to 3 business days by using an online accredited body.
The national police check will also include relevant information on any pending charges against an individual in any part of the country. However, you need to keep in mind that a police check whether obtained online or at the local police station will only include the information a court deems releasable.
2] What about spent convictions?
This is a very delicate issue and you must be aware of the fact that the spent convictions provisions vary from state to state.
The term spent conviction applies to crimes committed many years before. An individual is granted the right from having a past conviction hidden from a potential employer if during a certain period of time, say five or ten years, he has not committed another offence.
Such provisions are meant to allow a person to change his life, it’s sort of a second chance. Many people deserve such a chance. Doing something stupid in college should not be a reason to be an outcast for the rest of your life, unable to find a decent job.
However, there are certain crimes, especially those regarding sexual violence, which cannot fall under the spent conviction provisions, so any conviction on this type of charges will show up in the national police check.
3] Continuous background checks
Performing background checks at regular intervals is a good company policy and many Australian businesses are implementing such measures.
A national police check online obtained during the pre-employment screening process is a snapshot of an employee’s life at that point in time, but a lot can change in a few years.
To prevent any discrimination charges against the company, the Human Resource department should draft a continuous background check policy and inform the staff about it. Sort of ‘you’ve been warned’!
Such checks are very useful to discover fines or pending charges one of your employees might be facing. You should be very careful if one of your drivers has been caught driving under the influence or if there are assault and battery complaints against an employee who comes in close contact with your customers. You can never be too careful!