But they aren’t my employees…

[Phone rings]

Ann: “Cutting Edge, this is Ann.”

Customer: “So, I gotta guy. . .actually, several guys. . .”

Ann (pours yesterday’s coffee into cup, microwaves for a minute): “Mmmmm-hmmmmm.”

Customer: “They don’t, per se, work for me. They’re independent contractors.”

Ann (smells coffee, decides it’s good enough for a Tuesday): “Mmmmm-hmmmmm.”

Customer: “So, I figure, I’m not really responsible for them, right? I mean, I don’t have to do a background check and worry about getting into trouble about something they do on my time, right? Right?”

Ann (swallows large mouthful of what could take the tar off a barn): “You know, Winston Churchill said, ‘The price of greatness is responsibility.’”

Customer: “Cheese and crackers. Here we go.”

I’m sure everyone reading this KNOWS where I’m going.

You expect me to preach (PREACH IT, SISTER!) that:

    1. People can cause liability no matter their job status.
      • This applies not just to contractors, but I recently talked with a company that doesn’t screen their entry-level employees. Evidently, they have been determined to not be a threat when it comes to workplace violence or asset management. O_o
    2. You (your company) can and will be the deep pocket if that person punches a customer in the face or steals from a co-worker and lawsuit is involved.

But here’s a surprising thought or two:

    1. Beware of discrimination bias claims. If you don’t screen your contractors but hold your employees and candidates for employment to a different standard, this could easily spell trouble.
    2. Comply with federal, state and local laws.

As a best practice, employers who choose to conduct background checks should apply their policies consistently to their employees, candidates for employment, independent contractors, consultants and other contingent workers to prevent potential claims of discrimination and to ensure compliance with all federal, state and local laws.

If you need more information on how to engage the best contractors and hire the best employees, contact us – 714-587-9166.