There are lots of articles geared toward job applicants that discuss how a person fails a background check, but there are not nearly enough articles directed toward employers that outline why a candidate shouldn’t pass a background check.

It’s an interesting question if you think about it:

“As an employer, what criteria do we want to set that would eliminate someone from working here or volunteering with us?”

In some industries, this question is pretty much answered for you. Public schools, law enforcement, and even the financial sector often have federal or state laws that regulate who can be brought on board depending on a person’s screening results.

The picture is a little murkier with most private employers. Some youth sports organizations are struggling with this question, too.

The Ansonia Case

One town in Connecticut is going through this exact situation. Earlier this month, the Ansonia Board of Alderman there wanted to vote on a resolution that would prohibit people convicted of certain crimes from volunteering for recreation programs that use city property.

Many people voiced their concerns about the proposal, stating that youth sports leagues rely heavily on volunteers and that banning certain people from volunteering would hurt the leagues and reduce the number of people who’d be willing to coach and volunteer.

At a later meeting though, a former youth league president pleaded with the Board to create clear set a guidelines that would outline who to eliminate when a background check report comes in. He said:

“A report comes back and lets us know if there has been a crime against a minor, sexual or otherwise. It is then the responsibility of the volunteer to push the accept button. That’s where my problem lies. As a volunteer, why should I or anyone else have to take on that responsibility?”

Who Should Fail?

And that brings us back to the million dollar question. What are the three biggest red flags that should automatically eliminate an applicant or volunteer from participating in your youth sports league?

Here’s what we tell our clients at Protect Youth Sports.

Crime against a child

This is a no brainer. Anyone convicted of any crime against a child should be automatically disqualified from contention. It could be anything from abuse to neglect. But remember, the industry standard for a criminal conviction search extends back seven years.

Protect Youth Sports will work with you to ensure that all types of criminal records are searched and that all applicable state and federal laws like the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) are followed. This means that you’re getting the most comprehensive background check available conducted on job and volunteer applicants.

Caught in a lie

Plenty of people lie on their resumes. Sad but true. But there is a difference between an innocent mistake and a flat out fib. Most importantly, you can tell a lot about a person’s integrity by how she/he responds to the lie. If a candidate gets caught lying on an application, resume or in an interview, allow the person a chance to clear the air and tell the truth. Sometimes, it was a simple error, like the wrong graduation year. But if someone lies about being convicted of a crime, that’s a huge warning sign. Something’s not right, there.

Poor credit history

This may not seem like a big deal at first glance, but think about this – Do you want someone handling the cash that comes into your youth sports league to have poor credit? In some cases, bad credit can be explained away with life changes like death and divorce. But sometimes it means a person isn’t equipped to properly handle money. If you still like them, maybe move them into a non-financial position with your league?

Final Say

To recap:

  • Your youth sports league should have some pre-determined criteria that would eliminate candidates with certain red flags on their background check results
  • Organizations may worry that stricter criteria would discourage volunteers from participating. There is no data to support this hypothesis at this time.
  • Anyone convicted of a crime against a child should be automatically eliminated from contention.
  • People who are caught in a lie should have the opportunity to explain themselves, but proceed with caution.
  • Make sure anyone convicted of a financial crime doesn’t handle your organization’s money.

Protect Youth Sports understands the unique needs of youth sports organizations. You rely heavily on volunteer participation and don’t want to make things more difficult to participate in your organization and help a group of awesome kids. You also have a responsibility, however, to insulate kids from harm and to take precautions to protect your employees, staff, volunteers and create a safe workplace. Negligent hiring lawsuits do happen.

In Ansonia’s case, they’d be well-served to call Protect Youth Sports and discuss how to develop its list of hiring/volunteering criteria with our screening experts.  877.319.5587

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