Q: We don't typically do background checks, but we're hiring an internal HR person who will have access to sensitive information. We want to do a background check for this position, but since we've never done one for anyone else, we're worried it would look discriminatory.A: You may conduct background checks for some jobs but not others. Different jobs may require different levels of investigation, but for the same job title, make sure you keep your process uniform to avoid charges of discrimination.
As long as you are consistently background screening similarly situated job types, selective background checks are acceptable. For example, if you have decided that you will conduct background checks for this HR role because the employee will have access to financial information, payroll data, and employee social security numbers, you should, going forward, also conduct background checks for other positions with similar access.
We recommend limiting how you use the information obtained in background checks in your ultimate employment decisions. In your situation, it would be logical to consider information concerning an HR applicant’s conviction for identity theft or falsification of records, but probably not about a DUI or trespassing conviction.
In addition, if you decide to do background checks, there are state and federal laws governing when and how it should be done. If you decide to conduct a background check for this position, please let us know. We can walk you through the process with state and federal laws in mind.