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Employee Background Checks for Drug and Alcohol Rehabilitation Centers

Posted by Ryan Howard on Fri, Aug 28, 2015


Hiring practices generally include background checks for criminal records.

While many HR managers are questioning how far back to look when it comes to criminal record checks, hiring managers of drug and alcohol rehab centers often expect to find a criminal record on applicants and employees. In fact, depending on the crime, a criminal history may even be helpful to the job. The screening questions then shift from "Is there a record?" to "Does it matter?"

Admirably, employees of drug and alcohol rehabilitation facilities often have overcome some of their own challenges. For many providers, this is considered to be a positive attribute that can help enhance the employee’s qualifications for the position. Such a past, however, may come with arrests or conviction records that would normally raise a red flag with Human Resources. Hiring managers should work with their background screening provider to build a hiring and screening decision matrix that identifies what types of charges and criminal history are deemed acceptable (and what are not). 

Background Screening Decision Matrix  Free HR Template

Recommended Background Checks for Drug and Alcohol Rehabilitation Employees:

There are many different types of background checks and pre-employment verifications. As a starting point, we recommend the following (can vary based on position and seniority):

  1. Identity Verification
  2. National Criminal and Sex Offender Database Search
  3. Local Criminal Court Search (Statewide or County)
  4. Federal Criminal District Court Search
  5. 10 Panel Drug Screening

For some positions, you may consider adding the following verification:

  1. Professional License Verification
  2. Education and Employment Verification
  3. OIG/GSA Search

When evaluating an employee’s screening report, what should matter and what may not?

A conviction for DUI, or Drug Possession from 7 years ago might not be a concern. But it’s important to recognize that certain crimes may not be acceptable.  As a starting place, we recommend considering these questions:

  • How recent is the criminal record (or date of last offense)? 
    If more recent, the applicant could pose a greater risk to your organization.
  • Is the criminal record a sex offense?
    Consider the access an employee may have to meeting with Patients (group meetings vs. private sessions). 
  • Was the charge a crime against an individual (violent vs. non-violent)?
    Theft vs. Assault, etc. 
  • Is the criminal record job related?
    Will the criminal charge have a direct and negative impact on the employees ability to perform?

Invaluable Experience

Employees of drug and alcohol rehabilitation centers often include a mix of individuals who want to give back after turning their own lives around. Being able to relate to a patient, as a caregiver, is invaluable experience that cannot be replicated. Although screening applicants for these facilities might be a bit more of a challenge for a hiring manager, a background screening matrix, that includes some of the above questions, can be helpful. VeriFirst is available to help with a screening matrix and discerning the results of a criminal background check based on the needs and criteria of the organization.

If you are looking for assistance with your employee screening program, let us know how we can help.


Topics: Types of Background Checks, Employment Background Screening