On February 7, 2019, Nassau County New York Minority Leader Kevan Abrams proposed legislation that would require hotels and motels to conduct criminal background checks for certain employees. Nassau County could be the first in the nation to mandate criminal background checks.

Hotels are an extension of our home when we travel. We should feel just as safe and comfortable in a hotel room as we are when sitting on our own couch. This is not always the case. When we leave our hotel rooms, we leave our lives vulnerable to hotel staff and other guests.

Today, hackers have the upper hand. They can break into hotel rooms with a universal key or by propping the door open, taking anything of value while you are out enjoying your vacation. However, theft is not the only concern in the hospitality business. Cases are surfacing of women reportedly being attacked and/or raped after someone was given a room key or even cases in which the front desk clerks or managers are registered sex offenders.

So how does this pertain to you if you do not run a hotel? Responsibility. Business owners have a responsibility to protect both employees and clients. However, when it comes to small and medium size businesses we tend to think “this cannot happen to us” or “we know the applicant”. Hiring new employees is not the time to take chances. There are stories for days that could have been prevented if a criminal background check was done prior to the hiring process.

Criminal searches cannot always catch the bad guys, but they can help build a better picture of the applicant you are considering.