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Just Checking

Should you conduct ongoing background checks on your employees?

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This story appears in the December 2006 issue of Entrepreneur. Subscribe »

Finding out about an employee's Saturday night DUI or personal financial woes is now just a click and a fee away. Emerging subscription software packages, such as Assure from Verified Person, will scan public databases and send employers frequent reports regarding employees' off-the-clock behavior. Advocates cite employer liability as one reason for running regular background checks on current employees.

Privacy advocates, however, wonder if employees will be able to refuse these checks and how they will dispute errors. They also question the need for round-the-clock intrusiveness. "It is reasonable to conduct a background check prior to employment. But a continual background check?" says Pam Dixon, executive director of the San Diego based World Privacy Forum. "Is this the kind of society we want to live in?"

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