Employment Background Checks: Proceed with Caution

caution-943376_1280Recently there have been an increased number of class action lawsuits against employers due to background screenings.  Many employers use background checks, referred to as “consumer reports,” to obtain information about an individual such as reputation, character, credit worthiness, criminal background, civil lawsuits, driving record, education verification and other information. The information obtained through these consumer reports is used to make employment related decisions such as hiring new employees or promoting existing employees.

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) reports that, in one survey, a total of 92% of responding employers stated that they subjected all or some of their job candidates to criminal background checks.  Reasons for employers to use background checks include federal, state and local laws, as well as preventing theft, fraud, and workplace violence, and reducing the likelihood of negligent hiring liability.

Excluding information regarding genetic and medical history, employers legally have the right to request additional background information regarding any applicant or employee of their company.  But be cautious, as there are federal and state regulations which employers must comply with when using consumer reports.

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