Pre-Employ Blog

Beware Criminal Kris Kringles

Posted by Pre-Employ Marketing on December 03, 2018

A volunteer Santa in Texas was later found to be a registered sex offender, but the city didn't bother to carry out a background check.The holiday season is in full swing in America. It's a time for family and joy, but no matter the festive atmosphere, employers and even volunteer organizations have to keep on guard for unsuitable job applicants by using background checks. That notion is only further entrenched after an animal shelter in Illinois found out in 2017 that their "fill in Santa" was a registered sex offender.

How can you keep your holiday party safe? Keep in mind that volunteers and employees alike can be required to complete a background check, and that you could be liable under the eyes of the law. The adage "if you could have known, you should have known" rings true here as well. Consider these best practices to make your holiday party a joyous occasion.

Best Practices in Hiring Safe Santas

If applicable, your HR team should be involved in hiring your Santa, if he or she is not already a member of your team
This way, you have someone helping you with the paperwork, and legal requirements of brining on a volunteer or temporary employee.

Have a volunteer or job application that is compliant with your state or local area's "ban the box" laws.
In some states and municipalities, you may not ask on a job application if a person has been charged or convicted with a crime, and can't even run a background check until you've made a conditional offer of employment.

Conduct a background check
Just like any employee, a good background check should match the level of access the person has. You'd want to include a criminal search, sex offender search, and possibly a motor vehicle check and whatever others your counsel suggests.

Check references
Just because someone is volunteering for a jolly man in a red suit, doesn't mean he or she is spreading cheer. Reach out to someone who's had a professional relationship with this person, just like you would a new employee. 

Consider a Professional Santa Claus
There are a number of organizations of professional Santa Clauses, some even come with Elfs! These people have typically performed the role season after season, and have been background checked, and had professional references completed. Plus, they'll probably have a really good beard!


Topics: HR Compliance, Background Checks, Volunteer Screening, Non-Profits