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
This Quick Reference Chart reflects the states with laws preempting municipalities from adopting ordinances or regulations on a specific area of the law or issue, such as compensation or benefits.
Updated to reflect amendment eliminating the state employment verification affirmation requirement, effective August 10, 2016.
Updated to reflect law prohibiting the use of a cellular tracking device, effective August 1, 2016.
Updated to reflect forthcoming amendments to Right to Privacy in the Workplace Act.
Updated to reflect new hire requirements in the forthcoming Chicago paid sick leave law.
Updated to incorporate pregnancy accommodation requirements, effective August 10, 2016.
Updated to reflect a forthcoming New Orleans credit check ban for city contractors.
Updated to reflect the forthcoming state medical marijuana law.
Updated to reflect new Ohio medical marijuana law.
HR Guidance concerning federal and state legal requirements on the screening and testing of job applicants.