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Checking for Criminal Background in Business


The principles of recruitment and staffing generally recommend that organizations and employers should check at least part of their workers for the criminal background independently of the payment plan of an organization and structure of the HR strategy. The fact is that, the checking the criminal background is often regarded as one of the extremely important assignments for the hiring departments, especially when the workers are employed for some sensitive positions where security is the key factor of the job or with some related concern. These concerns may entail the issues of safety of the workers, or access to accounts or confidential information.

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Originally, the quickest way of checking the background is checking through the data base of the police department. In most American states, these requests are free of charge, consequently, the employers should use these opportunities for securing their workers, information and customers. The fact is that, even if a person has moved to another state (so the data of his or her possible criminal background left in the data base of the other state), FBI may provide the necessary information.

In accordance with the Recruitment of Offenders act (1974), no discrimination should be imposed on a worker if a stated period of time has passed since his or her conviction. As Arthur (2001, p. 398) emphasizes: “The Act allows that ex-offenders are no longer legally required to disclose to organizations convictions that have become ‘spent’. However in order to protect certain vulnerable groups within society, there are a large number of posts and professions that are exempted from the Act and additionally include employment within positions of trust.” Taking this notion into consideration, it should be emphasized that all the organizations are legally empowered to request all the necessary information and ask for the specifications of all the convictions.

Corporate Responsibility

Independently on the results of the request, the company, which is employing a worker with a criminal background should prevent any instances of discrimination or any other expression of unfair treatment. Originally, the information of conviction (whether fair or unfair) is the confidential information, consequently, company should observe the privacy, and do not permit the access to this information for those who are not authorized. Anyway, if the fact of conviction became known, the company should prevent any discrimination of its staff on the basis of criminal background (as well as on the basis of race, color, nationality, cultural or ethnic origins, responsibility for dependants, marital status, income, disability, sexuality, age, gender, religion, class, HIV status etc.). This background is considered to be safe if it does not create any danger to workers, customers, accounts or confidential information. In accordance with the research by Walter and Sleeper (2002), this information should be kept confidential as it is stated in the Data Protection Act and the CRB Code of practice. Originally, the staff positions and jobs, which people apply to may require the thorough examination of convictions in addition to the conducted crimes and registered sexual offences for the business risk mitigation. Thus, for instance, if the job duties and responsibilities are closely linked with financial operations and cash handling, access to computerized databases with confidential or private information, access to master keys for a building or part of a building, or operation of a heavy equipment. Consequently, the criminal background check will have to undermine the likelihood of criminal behavior using the trust credit from the side of the employer or having access to finances or information.

The fact is that, in accordance with the legislation of most states, the criminal background check is within the responsibility of the employer, as if a criminal is employed, he or she may create the dangerous circumstances for the rest of the workers of the company, or endanger the privacy of the customers as well as the confidentiality of the company itself. Consequently, these checks should be arranged for any newcomer, independently on the social position, education and cultural background. Anyway, the request is proceeded within the nearest 24 hours. In the light of this fact, it should be stated that the background check should be regarded as the necessary and obligatory procedure for any company and for any applicant. Otherwise, the responsibility may be imposed on the HR management department.


Finally, there is strong necessity to mention that the required procedures for checking the criminal background of any employee or applicant should entail the Criminal Background Check. On the one hand, this check is important if the job obligations are closely associated with the increased responsibility, private or confidential information, cash handling or just requires high trust credit from the side of the management. On the other hand, this information should be kept confidential, and HR manager’s task is to diminish any representation of discrimination or segregation on the basis of criminal background and conviction of a person.


Arthur, D. (2001). The Employee Recruitment and Retention Handbook. New York: AMACOM.

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Reckless, W. C. (2004). Criminal Behavior (1st ed.). New York: McGraw-Hill.

Walter, R. J., & Sleeper, B. J. (2002). Employee Recruitment and Retention: When Company Inducements Trigger Liability. Review of Business, 23(2), 17

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