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
In this engaging 60-minute webinar, New Jersey employment attorney Steven Luckner, of Ogletree Deakins, will address a host of key issues involving background checks.
Updated to reflect New Orleans credit check law, effective December 23, 2016.
Updated to reflect forthcoming requirements under Philadelphia's wage equity ordinance.
On this podcast, New Jersey employment attorney Steven Luckner explores why employers must be discerning when it comes to seeking criminal history information since background checks are ripe for technical violations.
Updated to reflect Los Angeles and Connecticut 'ban the box' laws.
Updated to reflect limitations on criminal history questions under the Los Angeles ban the box ordinance, effective January 22, 2017.
Updated to reflect recreational marijuana law, effective January 1, 2017.
Updated to include the medical marijuana law, effective January 3, 2017.
Updated to reflect new 'ban the box' law, effective January 1, 2017.
Legal considerations for HR concerning employee background checks of job applicants and employees. Support on properly conducting background checks.