Headquartered in California, USA, and operating in 48 states, Harbor Freight Tools is a private company with a retail chain for tools and equipment at discounted prices. Ecommerce, technology, and merchandising are the key areas in which the company dedicatedly works with 20000 employees, satisfying more than 20 million customers!
The culture and the environment of the company are healthy for its people to work and grow, but often there is this question raised- Does Harbor Freight conduct a drug test?
Does Harbor Freight Drug Test Employees?
First of all, every company has certain requirements when they hire new employees. Harbor Freight is a huge company with thousands of employees. So obviously, getting into the company won’t be that easy. There must be some strict requirements by the company, and these requirements are based on
- Location of the employee
- Position of the employee
There are certain state rules and regulations, and they need to ensure that the employees abide by that. So usually that is the first thing every company makes sure of.
Why are drug tests conducted?
Drug tests are usually conducted because of the following reasons:
- To discourage new or existing employees from abusing drugs.
- Identify the use of drugs by new applicants, report it, and prevent hiring such people.
The drug test is usually conducted through urine, blood, saliva, or hair samples. The drug test is not justifiable unless there is some safety-sensitive workplace. So usually, the requirement is assessed on a case-by-case basis. According to statistics, about 40% of US applicants are subjected to drug tests!
As far as the checks by Harbor and Freight are concerned, the drug test is not separately conducted at the time of the interview. It may be conducted if there is an accident or injury, and the test is required. A background test of the employee is usually conducted at the time of hiring.
The background test is usually conducted for the below-mentioned concerns;
- To avoid any disrupting activity like violence or abuse at the workplace.
- To avoid any costs or time involved in frauds or lawsuits.
- To ensure that the hired employee will contribute its best efforts to achieve the vision and mission of the company.
According to statistics, 80% of HR professionals prefer to conduct pre-employment screening. Studies also reveal that;
- 10% of job applicants have criminal records
- 40% of applicants lie on their resume! These lies may be about their education, qualification, or employment history. So background screenings have become essential. The companies usually outsource background check services from third-party service providers who have access to databases. That company should, however, be FCRA compliant. Background screening costs may vary from company to company and person to person depending upon the extent of checks required.
Harbor Freight is an equal opportunity employer, and there is an Application form for Employment. Anyone interested in working in the company can fill the form. Here are the details of the form:
- Firstly, the applicant needs to provide personal details. Name, contact details, position applied for, education and employment history, etc. are usually covered in this section.
- Next in the Application Form is a Supplement to Application for Employment. Again, detailed employment history is covered in this section. The applicant can take as many forms as required.
- The last section of the form is –Authorisation for Background Investigation. When the applicant signs the form, he/she authorizes A-Check America Inc. to conduct an independent investigation of his/her background. This includes:
- The applicant’s character- For the safety and security of the company’s existing employees, the prospect who joins the organization must be fit for the company’s overall environment. So background checks are concerned about the character of the person.
- His/her general reputation– Again, the employee’s general reputation is checked because that will directly or indirectly affect the company’s reputation.
- Personal Characteristics– It’s the overall personality of the employee that will add value to the organization. So personal characteristics are checked.
- Mode of living– It is confirmed whether the applicant lives alone, with some roommates or family. This may affect the decision of store allocation since Harbor Freight operates in more than 1000 locations.
In this section, apart from your name, present address, and contact details, your social security number and driving license number is asked for verification purposes. They have also clarified in the form that for any other information, A-Check America may contact the applicant.
The scope of the report includes the following:
- Driving record
The driving record is checked for any violations, offenses, disqualifications, etc. by the company. It’s sad, but bad driving records can also disqualify a person from background checks.
- Civil and Criminal Court records
Some reports suggest that one out of three Americans has some criminal history. So the company needs to know if there are any civil or criminal court records of the applicant like any embezzlement, felony convictions, etc. This affects the hiring decision. As per California law, in case of expungement, the employer cannot deny the job. This is because expunged records should not be shown in background checks.
- Credit History
Next, the credit history of the applicant is verified in case of any credit fraud. Credit history means any unpaid loans, mortgages, bankruptcy, etc. You may ask why this is necessary. Well, it’s essential to understand if the applicant is under some financial pressure. His instability can lead him to leave the city and will affect the work at the job place. Moreover, there can be frauds with the employer in such cases.
- Workers compensation record
The Workers Compensation Records are under the jurisdiction of each state. These are not available directly to the general public. However, the HR department of the company requires this record.
The educational verification is done to check whether the applicant’s qualifications are true or not and whether he/she is the right fit for the position open at the company.
Again, this is related to the verification of degrees and diplomas for occupational qualification. Good credentials restore the company’s faith in you and improve your chances of getting hired.
- Past addresses
A list of your past addresses in 5-10 years is usually considered in background checks. The applicant can submit it, or the social security number brings forth this information. Address checks may reveal important information related to background checks. Addresses also help them understand the state or federal jurisdiction under which the background check will fall.
- Social security number
Social Security number is a nine-digit number which is issued by the US government to all its citizens. All your records are identified through your social security number because it is necessary for several purposes like opening a bank account, buying a car, obtaining government benefits, etc. It also verifies if you are a US citizen or not.
- Previous Employment
It’s essential to check the employment history of the applicant. This gives the company an idea about his previous job positions, compensation, achievements, and performance. Feedback from previous employers and ex-colleagues may also help in understanding the character of the applicant.
- Personal references
Usually, three reference contacts are enough for the applicant. These references can again be previous employers and colleagues. These people are contacted to verify if the information provided by the applicant is correct or not.
The last page of the form also enlightens the applicant about his rights under the Fair Credit Reporting Act. He/She should know what to do if there is any misuse of information against him/her or in case of any violations.
Be aware that background checks are subject to the following rules and regulations:
- Fair Credit Reporting Act ensures the privacy of the applicant.
- Equal Employment Opportunity commission disallows any kind of discrimination based on color, creed, sex, etc.
- Federal Trade Commission requires companies to explain what information will be looked for in the background checks.
- I9 Compliance requires identity and employment authorization by filling form I9.
The applicant is also entitled to a copy of the report free of cost if the company denies the application. The applicant can dispute the background check report findings if those are not true to his knowledge.
The applicant is also entitled to compensation in case he/she does not clear the background check.
So that’s about the process of verification. You don’t need to worry about the drug test unless there is an accident or injury that requires the test’s conduct. Also, as far as background checks are concerned, it’s not only Harbor Freight Tools, but many companies require these checks. It is entirely normal, and the applicant need not be worried unless there is a reason to be!