With the tight job market right now, some employers are changing how they do background checks. In addition to the initial background check, they're adding what's called “continuous monitoring.”
These are regular checks of court records that happen after you've been hired.
“Employees, I think, are increasing their expectations for safety and security across the board. And, as a result of that, I think you see a lot of organizations that are trying to make sure that they're putting solutions in place to help support that,” said Tom Miller, CEO at ClearForce.
Tom Miller with ClearForce works with employers who say they're adding continuous monitoring as they work to do more second-chance hiring, That means hiring people with a criminal record.
This impacts an estimated 70 million Americans.
Miller says how long continuous monitoring lasts varies by company and industry.
“Most importantly, they want to be able to provide environments where they can pick up on indications that would be helpful to them to get assistance to individuals that need assistance, to be able to really save and retain employees,” said Miller.
However, some attorneys are questioning the need for additional monitoring.
Ariel Nelson with the National Consumer Law Center says she's concerned about the errors that can come up in background checks, like mismatched or incomplete records.
“Say you have hired someone that, you know, that they have a criminal record and you are an employer who is interested in second chances, and has looked at the data and thought this person could be a good employee then,” said Nelson.
“I don't know that someone whose performance has been good getting another using a continuous monitoring check, do you really want to fire someone if their performance has been exactly what you need?” Nelson said.
Research shows Black Americans are arrested more often and may face disparities in the criminal justice system.
“When we're relying on criminal records, we know who is going to impact the most, and I think it's really important that we don't separate the issues between these background checks and the problems with our criminal justice system when we look at these issues,” Nelson said.
Miller says companies should be focusing on eliminating bias and discrimination in any continuous monitoring program they put into place.