During this time of year, many employers hire temporary workers to meet the needs of holiday shoppers. Accordingly, the National Association of Professional Background Screeners (NABS) urges employers to be very careful in the way that they approach hiring temporary employees. Even though seasonal workers are expected to only be on the job for a few weeks, it is vital that employers maintain their requirements for background screening.
The NAPBS estimates that approximately 700,000 temporary employees will be hired by retail stores nationwide to keep up with the rush of holiday shopping. Thousands of seasonal Santas will work for shopping malls, individual retail stores, and municipalities hosting various public events. Charitable organizations, hospitals and daycare centers are other common employers of the seasonal Santa.
The Santa stand-ins have close contact with children who sit on their laps and have photos taken with them. Unfortunately over the last 30 years, quite a few reported incidents have occurred in which Santas were accused of participating in illegal activity with children. This is why it is critical for every employer to conduct a thorough employment screening, that includes a criminal background search, on any potential Santa that they may hire. If there are other temporary employees besides a Santa, they should each have an individual criminal background check.
The NAPBS has a few recommendations for employers concerning screening all temporary seasonal workers, including Santa and his elves.
First, the NAPBS recommends that employers not take a do-it-yourself approach to background searching. They recommend that employers hire a professional background screening company who can provide you the most up-to-date criminal background search, including whether or not the potential Santa is a registered sex offender.
In 2012, a Santa who posed for photos with children in Cleveland, Texas, was recognized by one parent as someone who is on the Texas Public Sex Offender Registry. A simple criminal background search would not have revealed records of the original offense, since it occurred when the man was a minor. But, a professional background search, that included a search for registered sexual offenders, should have revealed the relevant information.
A professional background screening company will know the state and federal laws concerning background checks. By employing a professional screening company, employers do not have to worry about whether or not their criminal background searches are legal.
The NAPBS urges employers to let applicants know that they are undergoing a criminal background search. The Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) requires prior written authorization from the employee or applicant. If a dispute arises, the employer should also give the prospective Santa an opportunity to provide additional information.
By following these tips provided by NAPBS, employers will minimize the risks associated with poor hiring decisions.
Disclaimer Statement: All information presented is for information purposes only and is not intended to provide professional or legal advice regarding actions to take in any situation.
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