Will Screening Restrictions Affect Your Onboarding Practices?

How Might Screening Restrictions Affect Your Onboarding Practices?

Not surprisingly given the economy for the past couple of years, Illinois has joined the ranks of states that will no longer permit employers to perform a credit check for most types of job candidates. In addition, the EEOC is ramping up investigation into the way that both criminal background and credit history screening may disparately impact minorities when employers make decisions about hiring, firing, pay rates, and promotions.

There is an argument to be made that some types of in-depth prescreening should only be carried out when the findings might be directly relevant to the job. For example, it makes sense to checking for DUIs when hiring someone for a driving job and for a history of credit problems with a new hire who will be handling company funds.

If the results of screening would have no logical impact on the hiring or retention decision (but would instead only highlight the prejudices of the employer), it might do more harm than good. Here’s a look at some of the possible pros and cons of restricting screening only to those jobs where it can be shown to have a direct bearing on the good of company:


Less screening translates into immediate cost savings per candidate. Screening after a job offer is made (rather than screening all potential candidates) is another way to save dollars as long as your initial onboarding process has been streamlined to control costs. That way, if you have to replace a new hire upon discovery of a problem in their background, you won’t be taking too big of a financial hit.

Identity theft is a huge problem and the workplace is a prime location for thieves to access sensitive information. Every credit check you run on a candidate or new hire means one more set of personal data that must be protected from exposure. Finally, as mentioned above, with the EEOC breathing down employers’ necks it is easier to measure how screening is affecting your employee demographics when you are doing less of it.


There is a greater perceived risk associated with not screening employees for every position. Employers are very leery of the potential for increased liability if something goes wrong. For example, if a new hire turns out to have a history of assault and attacks a coworker the employer might be viewed as negligent for not performing a criminal background check.

For an organization that is used to having a great deal of visibility into job candidates’ backgrounds, there is also a feeling of having less control when you don’t have all this data at your fingertips. In the information age, you don’t want to be behind the times when it comes to evaluating your employees.

The Choice is Yours

Whether you decide to increase or decrease screening over the next few years, it always makes sense to consult with a labor law professional to ensure that your company is protected to the greatest extent possible and in compliance with state law. This applies to policy, process, and practice. Universal Onboarding can be an important tool in implementing your screening policy since it can be set up to follow your business rules. So, you can select when/which new hires should be screened and automate the process of sending out the background check requests to your third party services vendors.

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