Aviation Airlines Background Checks

A recent article in Aviation Week focused on airlines and background checks quotes employment Screening Resources on the importance of screening for the aviation and airline industry.   Â

The article is, “The Art of Background Checks,” by George C. Larson and can be found at: http://www.aviationweek.com/aw/generic/story_generic.jsp?channel=bca&id=news/bca1009p3.xml&headline=The%20Art%20of%20Background%20ChecksÂ

The article cites information provided by ESR:Â

Les Rosen, president and CEO of Employment Screening Resources, a number-one-rated firm in one survey of the field, says, “Basically, background screening in all industries underwent a dramatic increase after 9/11.” Rosen also notes an increase in media attention to child molestation and a growth since the 1970s in verdicts that find negligent hiring practices and subsequent liability.

“If you hire a person who is unsafe, unfit, unqualified or dishonest, you may be found negligent,” he says. Further, any employers filling high-risk occupations have a “duty of care in hiring to prevent foreseeable harm the higher the risk, the higher the duty. We consider aviation high-risk.”

As for the cost of background screening, it varies with the company doing it and the depth of investigation required by the employer. Rosen applies this rule of thumb: “An average background check is less than you pay an employee by 2 p.m. of their first day on the job.” Some aviation jobs may run higher, to about $150 to $200 to conduct a background screening for a pilot applicant.

Rosen questions whether operators would use the Internet to hire a babysitter and finds the idea of using it for blind searches equally preposterous, and the comparisons don’t stop there: “Searching on the Internet is like going to a junkyard to buy an airplane. The databases are not complete or up-to-date . . . . Databases are a lead generator, not a check.”

By contrast, he says ESR starts with a Social Security trace, which, together with work history, can lead them to relevant criminal records, of which there are roughly 300 counties keeping such records. Rural areas and smaller communities are less likely to have them.

“The privacy pendulum has swung in favor of applicants,” he says. “The basic reason for such a search is to seek to learn how people conducted themselves in public life. All the results are matters of public record. Nothing secret, nothing undercover. If a check comes out negative, applicants have the right to review the report if they think there’s a mistake. If so, we must reinvestigate. But the real issue for employers is if the background check is bad [ly performed], they can be sitting ducks for litigation. Juries ask, ‘Did the employer exercise due diligence?’ “

ESR performs aviation record searches under the FAA criteria described in PRIA, including an FAA records check covering medical certificate issue date, class and limitations, airman certificate level, category, class and type, and finally, any closed FAA enforcement actions resulting in a violation that was not overturned. They include five years’ worth of employer records, including drug and alcohol issues if applicable and professional performance as a pilot. The National Driver Registry provides data on revocation, suspension and DUI information. Some carriers under 121, 125 and 135 ask for criminal checks, credit reports and 10-year employment histories. Screeners are alert for gaps in both residential address histories and employment. Credit reports may be requested of more aviation employees because many are likely to exercise purchasing authority and use company credit cards.

Organizations that work to rehabilitate people with criminal convictions naturally defend the right of members of their communities to a second chance, and LeBlanc, Rosen and Nadell are sensitive to those issues. They’re careful to point out that they never advise an employer not to hire someone but simply present the results of their background screening and leave it up to the employer to decide.

In addition, identity theft has created a pool of victims that draws flags, yet the people are completely innocent of wrongdoing.

Rosen points to ConcernedCRAs.com as an affiliation of about 120 member companies who pledge to adhere to best practices. No sensitive personal information is ever sent offshore. So-called “national” criminal records databases without safeguards for accuracy must be employed responsibly.Â

ESR has substantial experience in aviation and airlines employment screening background checks as well as pilot checks.  See:  http://www.esrcheck.com/pria_aviation_airlines.php