In a changing workforce, more and more people are opting to be contingent workers and do contracted work, or temporary “gigs,” as opposed to traditional employment. Employers may find themselves frequently working with contingent workers such as independent contractors or consultants for short-term and/or part-time projects and assignments.
Because many companies have different relationships and agreements with contingent workers than they do with their full-time employees, employers may question the need to conduct pre-employment background checks when screening such individuals. That decision may depend partly on the type of work or services a contingent worker will perform for a company. Under various federal statutes and policies, certain industries – such as government, education, healthcare and transportation – may mandate background checks for all contingent workers.
If contractors, consultants and temporary workers will have access to sensitive information, any company facilities, and members of vulnerable populations, it’s especially important for employers to exercise due diligence and screen all contingent workers to make a more informed decision. When hiring contract workers for common temporary services that are not high security risks – such as copywriting, graphic design, marketing, or public relations – employers should have a consistent policy when including background checks in the pre-hiring screening process.
Employers should keep in mind that, in most cases, they are subject to the obligations and non-discrimination guidelines under the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) and the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EOCC) when purchasing and reviewing background checks for contingent workers, independent contractors or volunteers. Relevant statutes may differ from state to state, so employers need to stay up to date on current screening laws in addition to their own internal hiring policies.
In the end, since even independent contractors often have access to a company or organization’s systems, clients, facilities, and staff members, as well as some direct or indirect role in promoting or representing the brand, it’s better for employers to err on the side of caution. Conducting a criminal background check on anyone with whom a business shares an employment-type relationship is an important part of risk mitigation for the organization. Doing so can also help lay the foundation for building more solid or longer-term professional relationships with those individuals.
For assistance in contractor background screening and purchasing criminal background checks for potential consultants, contractors or other contingent workers, contact Screening Intelligence to obtain affordable, easy-to-read reports from trusted sources.
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.