Association of Leaders in Volunteer Engagement

BACKGROUND SCREENING –WHO, WHAT AND WHEN? - - Guest Blogger AL!VE Partner William Henry, Executive Director of Volunteers Insurance Service Association
BACKGROUND SCREENING –WHO, WHAT AND WHEN? -  -  Guest Blogger AL!VE Partner William Henry, Executive Director of Volunteers Insurance Service Association

“Background screening.” What does that mean? Getting information on someone’s criminal history, credit history, references from previous employers, motor vehicle records, possible inclusion in a sex-offender registry? It could be any or all of those. Determine what kind of screening is appropriate for each staff or volunteer position, then apply the same criteria to each person applying for or filling those positions (including people considered for promotion.) Ask:
·         Does the person represent an unacceptable risk to clients, staff, other volunteers, or the community? If so, the organization would create a liability risk by engaging the person.
·         Does the position itself pose an unacceptable risk to the person being considered, because of skills required, hazards involved, physical limitations of the person, etc.?
 
The Fair Credit Reporting Act and other federal and state laws limit information employers may legitimately obtain on applicants and employees. Under the Fair Credit Reporting Act, volunteers or volunteer applicants have the same rights as employees or employee applicants. Some state laws restrict employers’ use of credit histories or arrest records, for employment decisions. The legal standard is “reasonableness under the circumstances,” and you do not want a judge or jury deciding whether the information you gathered was “reasonable.” So it usually makes sense to engage a professional firm for your background check requirements. A good firm can match the depth of its screening to the requirements of the job, while complying with legal requirements.
Screening isn’t enough.
Remember, an employee or volunteer might have a perfectly clean record, but still be capable of an act that harms the organization. So, have written standards for each position, and enforce them.
 
Guest Blogger AL!VE Partner William Henry, Executive Director of Volunteers Insurance Service Association  
To learn more about our AL!VE Partner CIMA
Gateway for AL!VE members – www.cimaworld.com/alive
The inexpensive solution to volunteer protection
 

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