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 few 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
A new Washington, DC law bans employers with more than 10 employees from seeking criminal background information about job applicants until after a conditional employment offer has been made.
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.
In-depth review of the spectrum of District of Columbia employment law requirements HR must follow with respect to preemployment screening and testing.
Washington, DC Mayor Vincent Gray has signed a broad law restricting employer criminal history inquiries during the hiring process. The new law prohibits criminal history questions or background checks until after a conditional job offer has been made. It applies to employers with more than 10 employees.
In-depth review of the spectrum of Maryland employment law requirements HR must follow with respect to preemployment screening and testing.
In-depth review of the spectrum of Maryland employment law requirements HR must follow with respect to interviewing and selecting job candidates.
The new law takes effect March 1, 2015, and will apply to employers with 15 or more employees, as well as employment agencies.
In-depth review of the spectrum of New Jersey employment law requirements HR must follow with respect to preemployment screening and testing.
In-depth review of the spectrum of New Jersey employment law requirements HR must follow with respect to minimizing risks of negligent hiring.
Legal considerations for HR concerning employee background checks of job applicants and employees. Support on properly conducting background checks.