What to Do When the Background Check Says "Case Pending"?

by E.M. Rawes

A background check is an essential part of the hiring process for many employers. According to Tandem HR, 50 percent of resumes contain false information. A background check promotes full disclosure, allowing an employer to know whom they are granting access to assets and potentially proprietary information. Arrests and criminal convictions may show up on a background check, but these are not the only items. Pending cases may also come up, and the employee and employer must know how to deal with these types of situations.

What Case Pending Means

When a background check says "case pending" the employee has not been convicted of any charges, but the employee may be convicted at a later time. The employee has charges pending in court, but there has not yet been a disposition, or court ruling, entered, reports Securus Background Checks, a background check service provider. The case pending may show up on a background check during the period of time between an arrest and the subsequent court case.

For Employees

Answer all of the questions on your application honestly, including questions regarding your criminal history. According to Securus, hiding or lying about information on your application can be the difference between getting the position and not getting the position. Include any pending felony cases if the employer asks about felonies. The University System of Georgia, for example, only considers convictions as grounds for negative action against an employee. However, this employer also says that if an employee has a pending criminal case, her suitability or employment will be examined after the case is completed as the pending case could result in a conviction.

Other Information for Employees

You do not have to volunteer information the employer does not request. If you have a pending misdemeanor charge, for instance, and the question does not request misdemeanors, it is not necessary to include such information. Read each question carefully, so you may answer accurately. Know what is on your background check so you may explain any questionable items during an interview.

For Employers

When you see that a prospective employee has a case pending on his background check, make a hiring decision based on your company's protocol. If the protocol is open for interpretation, consider factors such as the type of case the employee has pending, whether or not the employee was open and honest with you, and the qualifications of the other candidates you have applying for the position. Review any relevant state and local laws regarding background checks so you are aware of your rights and responsibilities, and so you know what may or may not show up on background screenings. Many states, such as California, allow employers to consider pending felony cases when making hiring decisions, and these items would show up on the background report. However, if the pending case is a misdemeanor, it may not show up on the report in some states, such as Arkansas.

The Associated Risks

Hiring an employee with a pending criminal case poses the risk of hiring someone who is not trustworthy. Each year $50 billion is stolen from U.S. businesses by employees, and employee theft had a hand in 33 percent of business bankruptcies, according to the Association of Certified Fraud Investigators as reported by Statistic Brain. In addition to theft risks, an untrustworthy employee can decrease morale and make for an uncomfortable work environment.

About the Author

E.M. Rawes is a professional writer specializing in business, finance, mathematical and social sciences topics. She completed her studies at the University of Maryland, where she earned her Bachelor of Science. During her time working in workforce management and as a financial analyst, she reinforced her business and financial know-how.

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