Three Tried and True Ways to Protect Your Business From Costly Background Check Lawsuits

Background checks for businesses are good for a lot of reasons like validating employees’ truthfulness, uncovering criminal or other shady pasts, and keeping your workplace safe.

But if you’re a referral based business or a personal service provider company (along the lines of Uber or or Tutor Bungalow), background checks are the ONLY tool that will simultaneously protect your reputation and your bottom line.

How? By ensuring the quality of the background checks that your independent contractors undergo, and taking a vested interest in the process of HOW those checks are completed, you are saving your business from a costly lawsuit.

The Case

A well known national in-home care provider website, is currently facing a swath of lawsuits stemming from their alleged shoddy background check practices. bills itself as the world’s largest Internet site for finding family aides like nannies, pet sitters, senior companions, and housekeepers. The company is being accused in three separate lawsuits of failing to uncover criminal histories of three different nannies.

Lawsuits brought forth by parents in Nebraska and Wisconsin say their babies died under the watch of a nanny. A Boston couple is suing after the family nanny stole more than $280,000 from their checking account. In all instances, the nannies passed background checks despite having criminal records that ran the gamut from drunken driving to larceny and fraud.

The Real Issue

One of the issues here is that got partly scammed by the background check provider with whom it contracts. Nobody is talking about that Consumer Reporting Agency (CRA). Unfortunately, it’s who is dealing with all the bad publicity and fallout.

You don’t have to suffer the same fate. Here’s our top three tips to help protect personal service provider businesses from costly background check lawsuits.

Pay for your independent contractors’ background checks

You know the old adage “You get what you pay for?” Well, this argument is a tough sell to customers if it turns out the background checks you’re making them buy don’t uncover the sketchy stuff in contractors’ backgrounds. Just because you offer a so-called “preliminary background check” at a cheap rate doesn’t exclude you from providing a best-in-class effort.

One way around this is to pay for a premiere (full-suite) background check of the independent contractors featured on your site up front. In other words, if an independent contractor (nanny, home health aide, tutor) wants to be featured on your site, you are in charge of vetting them and paying for it. That way, you maintain full control of the people representing your company’s name.

Before you balk at the cost this might assume, believe us, you will save yourself loads of time and money in the long run if you just vet your own premium candidates. Not to mention the energy you’d have to spend scrubbing your reputation if you ended up in a situation like

Contract with a CRA that’s been approved by the National Association of Professional Background Screeners (NAPBS)

There is a reason so many CRAs vie for this coveted accreditation – it means you’re simply among the best in your field.

Accreditation by NAPBS isn’t easy to come by. It has to be earned, proven, and maintained. In order to pass accreditation standards and procedures, Active Screening had to operate at an exceptional level in all avenues of its practices and showcase this ability to the Background Screening Credentialing Council (BSCC). Active Screening had to demonstrate compliance at every level of its operations through desk and on site audits by an independent auditor.

We were (and are!) exceptional at what we do before this accreditation, now we have the seal of approval to prove it to new and existing clients.

Choose a CRA that has priorities in line with your own company’s culture

Just as you interview potential clients or contractors, so should you interview potential CRAs. There is only so much you can glean from an agency’s website/blog (even one as awesome as ours!) so we encourage you to investigate from all angles. Don’t be afraid to ask the tough questions. Have they ever been cited for improper techniques? Do they vet their own employees? How experienced are their investigators? Are they accredited by NAPBS?

If the CRA continually stresses its lightning-quick turnaround time, alarm bells should be ringing in your head. There is no such thing as instant results. If they claim that, move on.

You also need to have a clear picture of their researching methods as this will often be the difference between shoddy checks and outstanding checks. Make sure the CRA does not offshore its background checks. Foreign countries are not held to the same federal regulations U.S. companies are when it comes to handling Personal Identifiable Information (PII). Read this to hear more about the dangers of offshoring.

Those are our tips! What are yours? We’d love to hear how you found your CRA. And, if you chose to work with us at Active Screening, we’d love for you to share why you chose us. Leave a comment below or Tweet about it here!

This entry was posted in Background Screening, Criminal Records, Driver’s Records, General, Global Solutions, Human Resources, Identity & Credit, News, References & Credentialing and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , by Patricia Carlson. Bookmark the permalink.

Patricia Carlson is a content writer who specializes in B2C and B2B inbound marketing. She blogs regularly for clients about the background screening and finance industries, and generates newsletters, white papers and email campaigns for a variety of businesses. Patricia also produces a heavy rotation of editorial material for home design, law enforcement, and family magazines. She’s been writing professionally for more than a dozen years, and for Active Screening for more than two of those. Check out LinkedIn for a roster of Patricia's clients and links to published works. When she’s not interviewing sources or researching trends, she’s living a fast-paced Florida life questioning the antics of her two young children, partner and mischievous cat. Patricia loves to talk tennis and TV on Twitter - give her a shout @pattycfreelance.
Active ScreeningBarbara S.
Healthcare Industry

"Here at Holland Hospital, we have been extremely pleased with Active Screening. The report results come back quickly, usually within 24 hours or less.  The staff at Active Screening is easy accessible, knowledgeable and responds to our questions promptly."

Active ScreeningLynn C. Staffing Industry

"Benton Mobley has been and remains my Main point of contact at Active Screening from the beginning; so aside from the comfort of dealing with the same person all these years, there is the most important fact of all;  customer satisfaction. Benton knows the business like the back of his hand; and that is what we need in our fast paced industry of staffing. He is the all-time BEST!  MY employer, Leslie, believes in the notion that great service deserves to be rewarded, so we are here for the duration.We get immediate and personalized attention for any and all concerns we need addressed, and in the staffing industry, this is vital."

Active ScreeningCayce R. Education Industry

"My experience working with Active Screening for our background check process has been very positive.  The reports are almost always completed in a very timely fashion. The information reported appears to be very thorough and accurate.  On the rare occasions that we have questions or problems, the customer service team is always very quick to respond and resolve the issue.  Overall, I am very pleased with the service I receive from Active Screening."

Active ScreeningCraig H. Staffing Industry

"Your customer service is excellent.  The turn around time on background checks is quite fast.  Excellent work.  I haven't had a single problem."

Active ScreeningJackie C. Education Industry

"I wanted to thank you and your staff for being so patient and working so diligently with the Human Resources staff during our recent endeavor to process all of our work study students through background screenings.  We have never had to process so many requests within such a short period of time before, but thanks to you and your staff we made it. Again thank you, we made a good choice in selecting Active Screening."

Active ScreeningLindsey W.  Financial Industry

"I wanted to share my appreciation for your wonderful service...switching background screening companies could have been a stressful task, but your company made the transition seamless. Your website was extremely easy to navigate and the turn around time has been great. I appreciate when information is missing or entered incorrectly during ordering, your company notifies me right away to ensure that my error does not hold the reports results, causing us a delay in hiring an individual...Active Screening has been great to us and I would definitely refer them to others."

Active ScreeningTerry S. Property Management

"Working with Active Screening over the last year and half has been a wonderful experience. They deliver fast and informative results at the best price. Their level of professionalism and the speed they respond to our issues is a benefit that any company can value from. I would highly recommend using Active Screening and their amazing team."

Active ScreeningYulesis D.  Staffing Industry

“Interactive Response Technologies (IRT) has more than 2,000 employees at multiple locations across the United States. IRT has been using Active Screening to conduct criminal background checks since 2006. During this time, Active Screening has consistently returned accurate reports, usually with less than 48 hours turnaround. If there are any problems or inconsistencies with the reports, their staff has called to notify us so that we can attempt to rectify the situation. The staff at Active Screening is always courteous and congenial over the phone. In our opinion, Active Screening is outstanding.”

Active ScreeningAndy N. Software Provider

 "Active Screening has helped us screen our applicants in record time for more than two years.... we are very impressed with the professionalism and speed with which their service team responds to our questions. They understand our needs and are a pleasure to work with. I highly recommend them."

Active ScreeningCassie J. Staffing Industry

"The Active Screening team is very informative; they provided a complete consultation on all the services, so I understood what I needed, and saved me hours and hours of my time learning the various services. Their reputation, as being on the cutting edge of employment screening best practices, certainly held true in this instance. The expertise they brought to the table was invaluable to our understanding of our applicants backgrounds. I highly recommend Active Screening to anyone with the task of screening large numbers of applicants and needing reliable customer support."

Active Screening

With over 20 years of law enforcement experience I can attest to the fact that the strongest predictor of future criminal behavior is a person’s criminal history. As the manager of campus safety at my church, I depend on Active Screening to provide a thorough assessment of every criminal history background check we request. For more than 3 years, Active Screening has been faithful to this task with timely, accurate and reliable service.

Active Screening

We have benefited from knowing that we are not exposing the communities we work with or ourselves to unnecessary risk. We continue to have a perfect record in that we have never had a serious incident with a trip participant causing harm or acting inappropriately with any community member or fellow team member- thank goodness!

Active Screening

I would highly recommend any association or organization who conducts background checks to use Active Screening. In addition to my involvement with WAHA, I am an officer in a corporation with over 500 employees who provide treatment, mental health, and correctional services for children and adolescents. Our company is mandated by law to do comprehensive background searches and I can say with the utmost sincerity that Active Screening product rivals that of any government or other private sector process.

Active Screening

We have used Active Screening and their solution VERITY to screen all our coaches and volunteers working with youth. The online system gives us an easy and cost-effective solution to collecting forms and payments from our applicants...and we simply login to view the results of who passed or failed. It's so easy....thank you Active Screening.