The Consultant's Desk

The Consultant's Desk
Poring over the details on your behalf

Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Prudent Safety Screening

As screening and background checks are done, there is probably a thought going through the hiring manager's mind about the candidate if they are of color. Some may wonder about elements of responsible hires cf. negligent hires.

Background checks should be conducted but those who could be classified as a threat to the workplace may or may not have a criminal background. Immigration status is one screening concern. We have statutes and agencies that address work eligibility for non-citizens.

Recent events have called into question how one's citizenship status colors classification as a "terrorist suspect" compared with some other designation. Is it proper to decline to hire a person because someone feels they may prove to be a jihad terrorist? What about concern regarding instigation of workplace violence? In fact, how are these terms defined?

PolitiFact addresses some of these issues in an updated article that questions how a person's citizenship status affects classifying them as a "terrorist suspect." In the seven scenarios they examine that are U.S.-based incidents, we discover only three involved individuals who did not enjoy U.S. citizenship in some form. The article then segues into considering the different types of conditions that call attention to the need for care.

Terms that come into scrutiny in the PolitiFact article are:
  • racially motivated violence
  • domestic terrorism
  • naturalized citizen
  • U.S.-born citizen
  • immigrant
  • legal immigrant
  • workplace violence
  • terrorism
Do you need a policy regarding these considerations or should you be making hiring decisions based on the candidates qualifications, skills, and work status (when it comes to immigrants)? Have a conversation with your managers about diversity and inclusion while allowing these buzz words to be addressed as they surface. Another prudent step is to have your in-house or retained employment law lawyer in attendance in order to address the legal ramifications of some moves compared to others while also discussing best practices. During that session, definitions of the terms that people are using can be discussed. An agreement can be reached about how those terms are used in your culture once the definitions are nailed down. Better to have every person talking about the same thing and with knowledge and awareness of what they're talking about.

Be certain these terms are included in a glossary of your work policies or employee handbook (or both). We are now focused on matters related to terrorism and active shooter incidents. Now that the incidents are becoming overwhelmingly frequent, thoughts about preparation are finally percolating into management consciousness. However, there is the more (literally) home grown danger that demands attention and protocols developed for the sake of safety protocols. Domestic violence and workplace abuse are also related to these types of situations. It is highly likely that the disgruntled spouse, the recently terminated employee, the over stressed worker or customer will reach their breaking point in the workplace and resort to violence in order to make their previous demands for respect and requests for cessation of abuse heard.

There are many facets to the safety picture, especially for the workplace. Violence and terrorism are merely two aspects of it. Domestic violence is the one that is routinely overlooked or considered not important. Prudent screening and background checks before hiring is important. Putting safety protocols and practices for non-routine situations should be included in them.

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