September 2nd, 2014 | Sterling
Henderson State University Gets An A+ In Background Checks
Henderson State University first introduced their background screening program in August 2013. Their results are enough to convince anyone considering background checks that they are indeed effective.
Since their policy went into effect, the University has screened 203 people that they wanted to extend job offers to. The background checks produced four adverse results, including weapons charges for one applicant. As part of the University’s policy, every applicant is given an opportunity to provide an explanation for any reported criminal history. Hiring managers then weigh that explanation, along with the severity of the crime and its recency, to determine whether or not it is relevant to the position applied for. Upon receiving an acceptable explanation from two of the applicants, they were hired. Job offers were not extended to the other two applicants however, because the University felt that the crimes were serious enough to warrant an adverse action.
The approach and success of their screening process highlights an EEOC best practice that the mere presence of a criminal record should not be enough to preclude someone from employment. For example, if an individual with a misdemeanor traffic offense from several years ago, such as excessive speeding or driving on a suspended license, has applied for a custodial position or any position that does not require operation of a vehicle, that criminal record could be deemed irrelevant. Further, by providing that individual with an opportunity to comment on their criminal record you might learn more about the circumstances leading to their past traffic offense.
In addition to background checks, the University also introduced drug screening in April 2014. The University’s policy does not mandate drug tests for all employees, but rather only for employees in safety sensitive or data sensitive positions. So far, eight drug tests have been administered and two have returned positive results. One of the individuals with a positive drug test was able to provide a legitimate explanation for the result and was subsequently hired.
These results are what you would typically expect from the introduction of background checks and drug testing; however, the University has measured another interesting effect. They have observed a reduction in turnover since implementing the programs. This decrease in turnover demonstrates the value of background checks and how they can help in making the best possible hiring decision. The University has set aside $12,000 per year for screening, which they will easily recover if the program reduces turnover by just one employee. To learn more about calculating the return on investment for background screening, read SterlingBackcheck’s white paper on The True Cost and Financial Rewards of Background Screening.
There are numerous advantages to conducting background checks, including mitigating the risk of workplace violence and employee theft, reduced turnover, increased morale, and better security for your customers and staff. Henderson State University is one of many examples of how background checks add value to the hiring process.
This publication is for informational purposes only and nothing contained in it should be construed as legal advice. We expressly disclaim any warranty or responsibility for damages arising out this information. We encourage you to consult with legal counsel regarding your specific needs. We do not undertake any duty to update previously posted materials.