Overview: Proactive employers often turn to employee background checks in an effort to ferret out high-risk job candidates. This can include a check of criminal history records, as well as an applicant's credit history and references.
However, there are several steps an employer must take to ensure such measures comply with the law. In particular, it must follow the federal Fair Credit Reporting Act's notice and consent requirements before conducting a background check. In addition, HR should be aware that some states prohibit employers from asking about arrest records and limit or prohibit consideration of convictions that have occurred long ago.
An employer that decides to conduct employee background checks of prospective employees should do so consistently to avoid the risk of a discrimination claim. Statistics have shown that such checks tend to have a greater impact on minority applicants.
Trends: Several states, including California, Illinois and Connecticut, have enacted laws in the last couple of years limiting the use of credit checks to certain types of jobs such as those involving financial data or sensitive information. A host of similar measures have been introduced elsewhere, so this is a trend that bears watching.
Author: David B. Weisenfeld, JD, Legal Editor
Buffalo and Seattle are joining the growing Ban the Box movement as both cities have passed legislation banning the use of criminal history questions on job applications. Making these measures significant is that they apply to public and private employers.
The introduction of federal "Ban the Box" legislation follows that of a host of big cities and some states which already have enacted laws prohibiting employers from asking applicants if they have been convicted of a felony on initial application forms.
The North Carolina Preemployment Screening and Testing and Negligent Hiring sections of the Employment Law Manual have been updated to reflect a new law that will soon prohibit employers from asking job candidates about criminal records that have been expunged (i.e., eliminated). The law takes effect December 1, 2013.
In-depth review of the spectrum of North Carolina employment law requirements HR must follow with respect to preemployment screening and testing.
In-depth review of the spectrum of Idaho employment law requirements HR must follow with respect to interviewing and selecting job candidates.
A new North Carolina law will soon bar employers from asking applicants on a job application or during an interview about criminal convictions, charges or arrests that have been expunged (eliminated completely). Indiana also recently enacted a similar law.
It is critical that financial services industry employers understand the consequences of noncompliance with the many laws that apply to this highly regulated industry. This Legal Insight highlights some of the more notable legal requirements to help HR spot potential issues. By becoming more familiar with the growing number of rules applicable to the financial services industry, employers can and should take proactive steps to ensure compliance and thereby lessen any risk of civil and/or criminal liability.
In-depth review of the spectrum of Nevada employment law requirements HR must follow with respect to preemployment screening and testing.
In-depth review of the spectrum of Oregon employment law requirements HR must follow with respect to interviewing and selecting job candidates.
Legal considerations for HR concerning employee background checks of job applicants and employees. Support on properly conducting background checks.
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