We know all about the industries where background checks are REQUIRED – transportation, healthcare, child care, security, education. Then, there are the industries where background checks SHOULD happen – ministries, insurance, youth sports leagues, non-profit agencies.

But that got us thinking – what about seasonal work, especially in tourism-heavy areas? We’re talking restaurants, retail, eco-tours, vacation rentals – things like that. These areas are fast-moving, and often rely on new talent each year. If you don’t know someone’s background, how can you trust them to handle the volume or credit cards and cash that they’ll be exposed to everyday?

It’s almost tourist season here in Southwest Florida and job postings are popping up everywhere. From restaurants to retail, employers are searching hard for quality, seasonal workers. It’s curious, and perhaps a little naive, that hardly any of the job postings mention a background check.

Here’s a few (shortened) examples:

If you are looking for a place to call home this season welcome to ***. We are looking for motivated staff members in all aspects of the F&B operation.

Sous Chef: Must have at least 2-3 years of experience in a high speed high pace environment & remain cool under pressure. Must have leadership qualities in a team atmosphere with great communication. Poses knowledge of food cost & cost controls. Creative with special / plate presentation & the ability to think outside the box.

Servers: Must have food & wine knowledge. Must be polished, seasoned & work in a team environment

Bartenders: Knowledge of pour counts drinks & wine. Be able to work at high pace. A great sales person with the ability engage in a conversation with our patrons.

Please forward your resumes. Potential staff members will contacted.

Part-Time Day, and Part-Time Night Ladies Clothing Retail Sales Associates needed. *Welcomes customers by greeting them; offering them assistance.*Advises customers by providing information on products. *Helps customer make selections by building customer confidence; offering suggestions    and opinions. *Processes payments by totaling purchases; processing checks, cash, and store or other  credit cards. Qualifications:  Listening, Customer Service, Meeting Sales Goals, Selling to Customer Needs, Product Knowledge, People Skills, Energy Level, Dependability, General Math Skills, Verbal Communication, Job Knowledge

What’s the Current Picture?

We did a little research to find out the usual requirements for restaurant jobs. Luckily, we found this well-written blog post that paints a pretty good picture of how the industry operates. The post says:

“Restaurants should, at the very least, require a completed job application form, a driver’s license or other photo ID, and proof of citizenship or legal residency before making a hiring decision.”

So, in most cases, a background check is not a required part of the hiring process.

What’s the Reasoning?

There are several reasons why most tourism-heavy restaurants and retail businesses don’t run background checks.

Many of them are small mom and pop operations who are just hoping to have enough RELIABLE staff to cover the tourism season.

Low-end positions like dishwashers and stockists require long, odd hours of work that offer little benefits and weak pay. These positions are some of the only entry-level gigs that low-skilled workers, or ex-offenders, can get. A background check might eliminate their chances of getting the job, and leave the restaurant or shop in the lurch with finding employees.

Plenty of restaurants and retail businesses still subscribe to asking applicants to disclose their criminal history on job applications (unless those businesses are in a state where a Ban the Box law has passed). It’s up to them how to use that information, however, “jails, state prisons, and other correctional facilities often require inmates to participate in their own food service programs, thereby giving participants useful skills that can be used to find and hold steady work once released from their incarceration.”

Restaurants have other requirements like, a valid driver’s license or other photo ID, and proof of citizenship or legal residency

They don’t want the hassle of complying with federal law like Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA), and don’t want to endure an EEOC lawsuit like the ones that have affected plenty of other food and beverage institutions.

Does Something Need to Change?

Considering the sensitive material that exchanges hands in restaurants and stores, it’s imperative that employers know their employees are trustworthy. Credit card skimming, fraud, identity theft and straight up stealing is common – especially in tourism heavy areas. So maybe it’s not so crazy to suggest that employers should re-examine their hiring practices and invest in a background screening policy.

Active Screening is here to help employers who are investigating background checks for the first time. We have extremely user-friendly and affordable solutions that even novice employers can implement with our Active Screening team. If you’re serious about protecting your customers and ensuring you’re hiring the right people for the job, you need to call us. 1-800-319-5580.

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