As companies strive to improve their efficiencies, reduce expenses and remain nimble and flexible in their delivery to customers, the use of contingent workers is often part of their business strategy.
For some, contingent workers may be consultants, contractors, or freelancers. These are individuals not directly employed by the organization, but also should not be confused with temporary staff that may be brought in on a short-term project or as-needed basis. These contingent workers are part of a larger ongoing effort to deliver a company’s products or services.
How Can Your Organization Manage Risk When Working with Different Types of Contingent Workers?
Since these individuals are not employees, the organization is not responsible for many of the typical HR-related functions of their engagement. Namely, tax remittance, benefits, sick/vacation allocation, training, or other supervisory tasks. These contingent workers do, however, carry the same levels of risk and liability as an employee might and for that reason, any risk mitigation strategy should include these individuals.
Although we work with all types of organizations who use contractor networks, the skillsets of workers they use may vary greatly and with that, so too may the type of background checks that should be done. At any time, any of these contingent workers may harm or abuse a homeowner, incorrectly complete a job for your organization, or otherwise create circumstances that may result in a claim or financial penalty.
If your organization uses different types of contingent workers like contractors to service, install and deliver your products, you will likely be interested in checking their criminal record background, and look at information like past criminal convictions, whether they are a sex offender and if there are any risky behaviors related to violence, theft or other dishonesty. These are the types of offenses that tend to be more impactful when you contemplate sending that contractor, unsupervised no less, into a consumer’s home.
What Can You Do If Your Contingent Worker Has A Criminal Record?
It is important to note that if a contingent worker has a criminal record, it may not necessarily be a barrier to engagement in your network. Each criminal record should be evaluated for the nature and gravity of the offense – obviously, a murder charge would be viewed differently than a public intoxication incident; the length of time since it occurred – a youthful indiscretion 20 years ago is not the same as a conviction last year; and the relevance of the offense to the role they will hold – for example, grand theft for a contractor working unsupervised in customer homes would be important to know.
Look for patterns of behavior – did this individual just have one criminal occurrence or are there multiple issues? Are the issues escalating in nature and severity? These will tell you if there has been any evidence of rehabilitation versus an ongoing criminal demeanor which may be more worrisome.
In cases where the individual will need to drive in their role – either your company-owned vehicle, their own vehicle, or their vehicle with your company branding – being aware of their driving record may also be relevant. For most organizations, the key requirement is to ensure the contractor is not holding a suspended, revoked, or otherwise inactive license. There is less concern about their actual driving behaviors, like speeding, but ensuring the driving history and current license status is important, especially if they will be on corporate insurance.
Since all types of contingent workers carry the risk of negligent engagement that could bring liability to your organization for errors or issues that occur while in your engagement, it is important to have mitigation techniques in place for them. This means ensuring that different types of contingent workers are included in your background check program. Contact us today to learn more about how our contractor risk management solutions can help your organization.
Contents are provided for information purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice. Users are reminded to seek legal counsel with respect to their obligations and use of PlusOne Solutions services.
About PlusOne Solutions
PlusOne Solutions has been an industry leader in the risk management field by specializing in compliance programs that meet the complex challenges of geographically dispersed contractors, vendors, and employee networks. PlusOne Solutions protects companies from possible financial, legal, and reputational risks associated with contractor and vendor relationships while creating safer work environments. To learn more, visit https://www.PlusOneSolutions.net.
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