Pre-employment background checks may save employer grief |

Pre-employment background checks may save employer grief

by Sally J. Taylor

Employers who check-out the credentials and records of prospective employees can save themselves a lot of grief.

On Tuesday, Stonewear Inc. lost 60 percent of its staff in a sweep by Immigration and Naturalization Service for undocumented aliens. At the very least the company faces some down time. It could also face fines if federal officials find the company neglected to get identification papers for its employees.

Federal law requires businesses obtain identification, such as driver’s license or INS documents, of a new employee.

“We just encourage businesses to follow the law as it is at this time,” said Larry Osborne, the executive director of the Carson City Area Chamber of Commerce.

“Business owners are required to ask for, but not required to verify authenticity of a driver’s license. The average person, the average business owner, is not trained to tell whether or not it’s real.”

Few businesses are going to have 60 percent of their employees with falsified documentation, he noted.

“If someone wants to be here illegally, it’s very, very easy to obtain false identification.”

It’s also very easy to have documentation verified, according to Terri Brown with Employer Lynx.

Employer Lynx, which has operated in Carson City for about six years, is in businesses to do pre-employment background screening, including verifying identification, resumZ information and checking for police records.

“Fifty-three percent of resumZs are not 100 percent truthful,” Brown said.

“We could have reduced (Stonewear Inc.’s) risk by verifying documents. Some might say it’s too costly to check on everybody, but if you get hit with something like this, the risks out weigh the cost.”

It takes about three days for Employer Lynx to check-out most information given by a prospective employee.

Such pre-employment checks can be done by the business itself without hiring an outside company. But most business owners just aren’t interested in doing checks, Brown said.

“The whole object of a check is to prevent the employer from being the loser in the end.”

Although the chamber does not feel document verification is necessary in most instances, it’s still smart to be aware.

“It is a word of caution,” Osborne said,” that businesses do have to be alert to this situation as we have more and more illegal immigration.”