Background Check Florida
Florida Background Check Facts
The primary purpose of background checks is to provide or confirm facts and figures. The practice of conducting online searches for information reveals criminal records, commercial information, and financial details of any individual logged into government, financial, or commercial databases.
Background checks provide solid confirmation of resume details for employers. Landlords often want to know whether people move a lot, pay their rent reliably, or have demonstrated any evidence of destructive behavior. Business associates need information about possible business partners to prove they have the financial resources and experience they claim.
Florida House Bill H0775
Florida House Bill H0775 protects employers from litigation liability for negligence when they follow recommended screening procedures before hiring employees. If routine background checks fail to disclose negative information about an applicant, then companies enjoy protection from liability due to hiring negligence. The steps employers must follow constitute taking reasonable legal care.
- Companies must order a Florida criminal records check.
- Reasonable efforts must attempt confirmation of past employment.
- Employment applications must question whether applicants have been convicted of crimes.
- Employers must ask whether job applicants have ever been defendants in civil tort cases. These legal suits claim damages for racial discrimination, hate crimes, or sexual equality issues.
- Driving records must be ordered if applicants drive while working.
- The employer must conduct a personal interview before hiring any applicant.
- Florida companies that follow careful hiring procedures protect themselves from liability. Consumers can protect themselves by checking their reports occasionally for accuracy. The Fair Credit Reporting Act regulates how reporting agencies compile information. Consumers enjoy legal rights to dispute inaccurate information.
Negligent Hiring Liability
Legal liability finds employers responsible if they fail to exercise reasonable care to prevent accidents. Legal claims can even extend to actions off the job, so good employee character becomes tremendously important. Workers with questionable characters and criminal records often commit incidents of workplace violence.
Unqualified employees or workers with drug or alcohol addictions might cause serious accidents. Courts hold employers responsible if they ignore crucial information and hire workers with histories of violence, sexual abuse, or drug problems. The legal term for situations where employers hire risky workers is negligent liability.
Florida Law Protects Children and Health Patients
The Volunteer and Employee Criminal History System (VECHS) fulfills the requirements of the National Child Protection Act. The legislation protects children and people in nursing of managed care facilities. These types of organizations must order background checks to help them identify people with histories of sexual abuse, violence, or fleecing vulnerable people with fraudulent scams.
The Jessica Lunsford Act requires even stricter investigation of school employees and independent contractors working in proximity to children. Applicants for these kinds of positions must provide their fingerprints for criminal records checks. Thorough vetting helps protect children from opportunistic pedophiles.
Florida passed this law in 2005 in response to a local kidnapping. The case drew national attention because of the horrific nature of the crime. Nine-year-old Jessica Lunsford was kidnapped, raped and murdered by a school system employee. Failure to comply with the law carries felony penalties, which demonstrates how seriously Florida regards the problem.
Sexual Offender Checks
In Florida, the public enjoys free access to offender records through state law enforcement’s public website. All contractors must have their names examined against the list, even contractors that have no direct contact with children. Florida school systems maintain a shared network that can serve as a role model for school districts anywhere.
The Florida Shared School Results System shares background checks information for five years. The network conducts criminal investigations for all districts, eliminating the expense and duplication of individual school system checks. Each school employee or contractor must be reinvestigated every five years to update information and uncover new offenses.
Florida offers more conservative hiring practices than other states. The national trend follows ambiguous or contradictory policies. On one hand, background checks for employees working with children, government agencies, and medical patients have increased. Credit information, however, has been criticized as a criterion for making employment decisions.
California has passed a law that limits background checks. Employers can no longer order credit reports for employment applicants except in clearly defined cases. Florida places no restrictions on ordering background checks, allowing employers great latitude for investigating applicants. Of course, illegal methods of investigation that harass witnesses or break other laws remain contraindicated.