Overview: Today's hands-off approach can be tomorrow's negligent hiring lawsuit. As a result, many employers turn to a variety of preemployment screening measures to find out ahead of time about any warning signs involving job applicants.
These measures can include employee background checks, reference checks, credit checks, drug tests, job-related aptitude tests and post-offer medical examinations. However, HR professionals should be certain to check their state employment laws as well as federal statutes to ensure that their testing efforts do not overstep.
If an employer decides to engage in any of these testing measures, it must do so across-the-board with all applicants in a consistent fashion. A failure to do so could lead to later discrimination claims.
Trends: Some states prevent employers from asking job applicants about arrests. Others have "Ban the Box" laws that prohibit employers from asking candidates to check off on an initial job application form if they have been convicted of a crime. This does not preclude such questions later in the selection process.
Employers also should be aware that several states limit the use of credit checks to certain positions where financial data, sensitive information or managerial responsibilities will be involved.
Author: David B. Weisenfeld, JD, Legal Editor
Updated to reflect Supreme Court of Kentucky ruling regarding local minimum wage ordinances.
Updated to reflect forthcoming laws expanding employer requirements regarding juvenile records and transportation network criminal background checks.
Updated to reflect forthcoming laws regarding employer requirements related to inquiries into an applicant's or employee’s history in juvenile court, and a breach of encrypted information.
Updated to reflect forthcoming new law clarifying prohibited unfair immigration-related practices.
The 11th Circuit Court of Appeals has ruled that an employer's refusal to hire an African-American job applicant because she refused to cut her dreadlocks is not illegal.
The percentage of employees testing positive for illegal drug use is at its highest level in 10 years, according to an analysis by Quest Diagnostics of nearly 11 million workforce drug test results.
Updated to reflect information regarding the forthcoming revised Form I-9 and instructions.
Updated to incorporate the new medical marijuana law, effective September 6, 2016.
Updated to incorporate the medical marijuana law, effective September 6, 2016.
HR Guidance concerning federal and state legal requirements on the screening and testing of job applicants.