Two-edged Sword of Background Checks
one direction, failure to perform background checks on
church employees and volunteers can:
Cause harm to children or
members of the church by failing to implement simple and
inexpensive safeguards to prevent sexual molestation.
Cause harm to children or
members of the church by negligent hiring of church
Open the church and
sometimes Senior Staff to lawsuits of negligent
Cause financial harm to
the church through theft of money or goods.
Create situations where
people are placed in positions of authority or
responsibility in which they should not be allowed.
Put the church in
violation of state or federal law.
Regretfully, the seriousness
of potential issues that arise from failing to perform
background checks make it a necessity for the church: it is
no longer an option, regardless of the size of your church.
There are many regulations
about what information you are allowed to access, under what
circumstances you are allowed to access that information,
and which information can legally be used in a hiring
Your church could be
successfully sued for these improprieties...
Accessing the wrong
to get the appropriate permission from the person
to properly notify a person of a negative decision based
on information discovered.
Failure to protect the
confidentiality of the information.
Making a decision on
data that was excluded by law for the type of position
for which the person was being considered.
Your church needs to fully
comply with the
Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) which has jurisdiction
not only over credit information, but other types of
personal data as well. In addition to the above, the
retention and security of this information can place a
potential liability on the church.
While violation of the FCRA is
a federal offence, many states have additional laws and
restrictions that provide even more challenges for the
implementation of the background screening process
leaves the church door
wide open to a lawsuit from the person involved.
While no one wants the
additional burden of compliance with more State and Federal
regulation, the horrible consequences of failing to perform
adequate background screening certainly makes it the lesser
of two evils. This is especially true when the cost
of compliance is so low as to almost make a background check
a petty cash transaction.
How can anyone look the
parents of an abused child, or the surviving members of a
fatal bus accident in the eye, when it might have only cost
$15 - $50 for appropriate background checks?
How do you
explain to the board or the congregation the loss of
hundreds or thousands of dollars because you did not spend a
little bit on a background check?
Doing it yourself is
not as easy as many internet ads will have you to believe.
The best solution is to find a reputable firm that can help
get you the information you need while protecting you from
legal liability. There are reputable vendors that
offer web based, pay as you go, background screenings and
to Part 1 - Why Your Church
Part 3 - Selecting a Background Screening Vendor for Your Church