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Revamp Background Checks to Help Fight Labor Shortages!

Updated: Aug 19, 2022

Facing a tight labor market, some big employers are revamping the way they conduct background checks on prospective employers.

Typically, employers will conduct a seven-year look-back into an applicant's background — but now some are switching to a one-year look.

Why it matters: Market forces may be prompting employers to do what civil rights advocates have wanted for years. They've long argued that background checks screen out perfectly good candidates with records that are long behind them.

Widening the pool of potential employees helps address the ongoing labor shortage — and could also help employers keep a lid on wage growth. "Suddenly employers are faced with a choice of raising wages to attract workers or attempting to increase hiring of people with records to keep wages low," said Beth Avery, a senior staff attorney at the National Employment Law Project.

"I hope [the] changes ... are sticky, and continue even after the tight labor market is not as tight," she said.

Instead of long look-backs, employers are doing something called "continuous monitoring," regularly checking court records to see if workers were arrested or charged with new infractions.

Over the past year, there's been a 12% increase in the number of workers who are being continuously monitored.

Is continuous monitoring something you have explored? For $11.50 per employee, you can enable continuous monitoring and help further protect your company. Review continuous monitoring here. Monitoring can be added to MVRs or criminal background checks.


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