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 ruling blocking the implementation of the immigration plan for certain undocumented workers.
Updated to reflect forthcoming new hire requirements for seasonal employers.
Updated to reflect information on a court ruling regarding reasonable accommodations.
Updated to reflect the forthcoming medical marijuana law.
Connecticut has become the ninth state to pass a law banning private employers from asking criminal history questions on job applications. Effective January 1, 2017, Connecticut employers will not be able to ask prospective employees about prior arrests, criminal charges or convictions on an initial application.
Updated to include forthcoming law permitting medical marijuana use.
Updated to reflect forthcoming amendment eliminating the state employment verification affirmation requirement.
Updated to reflect forthcoming pregnancy accommodation requirements.
Updated to reflect new regulations prohibiting discrimination against an individual because of his or her association with an individual with a disability.
Updated policy in light of ongoing scrutiny at the state and federal level of employer's background checks policies and procedures.
HR Guidance concerning federal and state legal requirements on the screening and testing of job applicants.