For human resource managers, the importance of finding qualified candidates, in a timely fashion, must be carefully balanced with who that person really is. With the increase of violence in today’s workplace, these human resource decisions are more critical than ever.
What is workplace violence? According to the Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA) it is defined as “Any act or threat of physical violence, harassment, intimidation, or other threatening disruptive behavior that occurs at the work site.” It can range from simple verbal threats to physical violence, and in some cases, even homicide. In 2014 alone, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that there were 403 workplace homicides.
When such instances occur, many times the employee’s file will be reviewed to see if there were any other instances of this behavior at work. But what that won’t even uncover is what a thorough background check may have uncovered prior to hiring.
Thorough background screenings and checks can help better determine the character and quality of a candidate before they are hired. They can also demonstrate that human resource managers have done their due diligence in each hire. This can be critical when the human resource office is where the buck stops.
Beyond conducting extensive background screenings, OSHA also recommends workplaces initiate a zero tolerance policy when it comes to workplace violence. They also believe a well-constructed and implemented workplace violence prevention program combined with administrative controls and training can minimize violent incidents.
OHSA makes a point in reminding employers that their workers have a right to a safe workplace. In fact, Federal law requires that employees have “a safe and healthful workplace.” It is important to note that the law does not make a distinction between small or large businesses in this matter.
As violence in the workplace increases, human resource managers should step up the intensity of their applicant pre-employment screening.
Simply contacting past employers and personal references may not be enough anymore. Acquiring the services of a background screening company can help. This step can better protect fellow employees, the company involved and the human resource managers. It is a step that, especially in today’s environment, should be carefully considered.
Disclaimer Statement: All information presented is never intended as legal advice and is for information purposes only.
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