As with any state, if you intend carrying out a background check Texas has its own state laws on what is required. Most of these, however, refer to when checks must be carried out, such as the requirement of the University of Texas Health Science Center that all new students should be subject to a criminal background screening before being admitted. Texas is also very strong on screening of day care employees, and rightly so. The costs of bad or negligent hiring can be very high for a local authority as it can be for a private company. In fact a serious negligent hiring lawsuit can destroy a small company, which is why background screening is so important these days.
By carrying out the task properly you can reduce hiring problems within your company, and reduce risks to your staff and your company. In Texas, as in most other states, the candidates themselves have certain rights. You must notify any potential employee of the fact that they will be subject to such employment screening checks, and must also respect the rights to privacy of the potential employees. Additional to that, if you intend having the background checks carried out by a third party, then in Texas, as anywhere else in the USA, you are obliged to receive signed permission from the person involved before you can do so. This is not necessary if you carry out the checks yourself, either personally or through another employee within your company.
Employment background checks are essential since many applicants falsify the information provided in their application forms, and what you decide to verify will depend to an extent on the type of work to be done. Your main obligation is to make sure that the prospective employee is qualified to work in the USA, but you have to make sure that he or she does not have a propensity to inflict violence on others. You will have other checks to carry out depending on the job on offer. The criminal background check is necessary as protection for your existing employees, and if you fail to do this and an employee is assaulted, then you will be found negligent. You are responsible even if your employee is working out of the plant. Just a short while ago the Texas Supreme Court found cleaner company Kirby negligent for failing to carry out an adequate screening of an independent contractor who raped a woman in her home while demonstrating a vacuum cleaner.
It cost them $160,000. Could your business afford this? If you are employing an accountant you will likely want to carry out an additional credit check, and other common background checks Texas employers carry out are employment history, to find if there are any gaps that have not been volunteered in the résumé, and history of residence. Some people claim to have been living out of state to cover up periods in penal institutions. You could also check out court records, though this is not easy to do out of state without actually traveling to the court.
Without that, it can sometimes be difficult to thoroughly check out someone's criminal records since there is no national criminal database that can be accessed by embers of the public. Even Texas state records are only as good as those counties that send details in. Frequently it is only by checking out court records that you can find out if anybody has actually been in prison or not. Some courts have electronic systems available for carrying out such searches, but with others you have to thumb through the paper records to find what you are looking for. Some courts will post the results to you while others insist on you picking them up personally. In such cases it is generally more convenient to employ professionals to do the job.
The professionals know all the legal obligations that have to be observed, both from your point of view and from that of the subject. Small businesses, however, often cannot afford to hire a professional investigator to carry out the screening and will have to do it themselves. You are not expected to investigate every possible aspect of a job applicant's life history, but you are expected to carry out the basic background checks that would throw up facts about their criminal history, or whether or not they have lied about their past work experience or even residential history. If you are employing someone in a day care or child care center then you have a legal obligation to do so.
Texas law demands it. If an incident occurs, and you are unable to demonstrate that you had carried out reasonable pre-employment screening or the proper background checks Texas employers are expected to carry out, then you are likely to be found liable for the results of negligent hiring. The penalties are commensurate with the crime carried out by the employee, but can include fines of many hundreds of thousands of dollars.
Advanced Research http://www.arsbackgrounds.com is made up of a team of experts in HR, Risk Management and Legal Investigations. We provide a free consultation to assist you in mitigating your potential hiring risks.