Legal Issues: Employee Verification

Background checks help ensure the safety and financial well-being of your medical practice.
Employee Verification

Because employees of medical practices and medspas have easy access to patient information, employers must conscientiously verify information provided by applicants. One way to decrease the risk of hiring staff members who may jeopardize patient or practice safety is to perform reference and background checks. Some of the key areas medical practices are wise to review include: past employment history, educational experience and credentials, credit history, and civil and criminal records.

Although background checks for employment are legal in all states, there are some qualifications. For example, in Illinois, employers cannot base hiring decisions on credit histories. Therefore, we recommend confirming your state’s regulations prior to implementing background checks.

Questionable Degrees

When an applicant provides a resume outlining his or her educational background and training, most employers take that information at face value. Unfortunately, this is one area where applicants feel comfortable exaggerating or expressly lying in order to meet the stated employment requirements. Following are just some of the misrepresentations we have uncovered when confirming the facts of employment candidates:

  • An administrator hired by a plastic surgery group had fabricated both an undergraduate degree and a master’s degree. When confronted, he said, “Well, I always meant to do it.”
  • A woman in her 50s told me that, “No plastic surgery group I’ve ever worked for checked my educational background.” She was indignant that we were going to do so. It turned out she didn’t have a college degree, just three lackluster semesters at a top university. She’d successfully faked her educational background for close to 30 years.
  • An applicant for a managerial position was two courses short of his master’s degree. Rather than state on his resume, “Degree expected after completion of two courses,” he graduated himself.
  • One young esthetician had a series of last names—seven to be exact—and she was only 29 years old.
  • An LPN who listed certifications for two pieces of aesthetic equipment, in fact, did not have any training or certification in those devices.

Applicants are often selective about which jobs they include on their resumes. In a worst-case scenario, they may fabricate jobs or credentials they have never held. The question for practice owners is, “How can I trust someone with my financial and patient records when they’ve lied to me on their application?” The answer is, you can’t and you shouldn’t.

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