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The More You Know: Criminal Background Checks and Sex Offender Registries

By Net Assets posted 06-28-2018 11:12 AM

  
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Risk Management |

States are enacting employee background check laws that apply as equally to independent schools as they do to public schools.

From the July/August 2018 Net Assets magazine

The following is an excerpt of the article "The More You Know," which covers nine additional topics (see box below). 

This information is provided for general educational purposes only. It should not be relied upon as, or in place of, legal advice. The authors and reader do not have an attorney/client relationship. Readers are encouraged to work with their legal counsel when addressing specific issues.

By Megan Mann and Janice Gregerson, Venable

Criminal background checks, including reviewing sex offender registries, are an important component of properly vetting potential employees. One trend we are seeing is that states are enacting employee background check laws that apply as equally to independent schools as they do to public schools. For that reason, it is important to know your state’s law and, if you use a third-party provider, what checks the provider performs.

Even if you review sex offender registries, performing criminal background checks is not fail-safe. Those checks only present part of the picture; it is plausible that a prospective employee engaged in misconduct but was never charged or placed on a registry. It is equally plausible that a prospective employee engaged in inappropriate behavior at her/his prior school that did not trigger a mandatory reporting obligation or result in police action.

For these and other reasons, conducting proper reference checks is another important piece of the overall background check process. One of the most common mistakes we see schools make is not completing the reference check. All too often, a school puts a call out to a prior school reference who never returns the call. Sometimes this is purely an oversight, but other times the prior school reference cannot provide a good reference for the prospective employee. Be diligent in completing reference checks. Track your efforts to contact all references, and follow up as needed to obtain any information.

Megan Mann and Janice P. Gregerson are based in Washington, D.C. with Venable.

Download a PDF of this article.

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