Patricia Kotze, president of Diversified Risk Management Inc. (DRM), employers need to be more watchful than ever when it comes to hiring.
Kotze explained that HR departments are now at risk of encountering professional applicants, individuals who are disinterested in staying with a company long term but are rather attempting to find a loophole through which they can exploit the company.
"Professional applicants typically have a history of lawsuits against former employers, Workers Compensation claims, and/or complaints based on state or federal laws such as the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA)," Kotze said.
To detect a professional applicant before they are able to damage a company or its reputation, it is imperative to investigate their job history.
Cody Farzad, vice president of Employers Choice Screening, a background-checking service that DRM routinely uses, spoke of one applicant that had applied to 562 jobs in an 18-month period of time.
"His plan was to submit an employment application with an employer who would conduct an employment background check as part of the hiring process but violated the Fair Credit Reporting Act," Farzad said. "At that point, he would threaten a class action lawsuit and demand a settlement."
In 2016, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission processed 114 complaints and lawsuits, which totaled in $52 million in employer payouts.
A few tips to side-step the maneuvers of professional applicants are being creative in interview techniques, following both state and federal laws, documenting all complaints issued, and always consulting an employment law attorney if an issue should expose itself.