HR Support on Employee Background Checks

Editor's Note: Background checks can be a valued resource, but compliance cannot be overlooked.

David B. WeisenfeldOverview: 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

Latest items in Background Checks

  • Ohio, Oregon Adopt Ban the Box Policies: Employment Law Manual and Quick Reference Chart Updated

    Date:
    06 July 2015
    Type:
    Editor's Choice

    Ohio and Oregon have each taken steps to prohibit criminal history questions on initial job applications. Ohio has adopted a state policy to remove criminal history inquiries from state job applications. Meanwhile, Oregon has enacted a law that also will ban criminal history questions from job applications, and will apply to private and public employers subject to limited exceptions.

  • Ban the Box Laws by State and Municipality

    Type:
    Quick Reference

    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.

  • Interviewing and Selecting Job Candidates: Oregon

    Type:
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    In-depth review of the spectrum of Oregon employment law requirements HR must follow with respect to interviewing and selecting job candidates.

  • Oregon, NYC Criminal History Laws Would Affect Most Employers

    Date:
    24 June 2015
    Type:
    News

    Oregon could soon become the 18th state with a "ban the box" law if Governor Kate Brown signs the legislation as expected. The bill would prohibit most employers from asking criminal history questions on job applications. New York City also recently passed a "ban the box" law affecting private employers.

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    Type:
    Employment Law Manual

    In-depth review of the spectrum of Ohio employment law requirements HR must follow with respect to preemployment screening and testing.

  • Preemployment Screening and Testing: Texas

    Type:
    Employment Law Manual

    In-depth review of the spectrum of Texas employment law requirements HR must follow with respect to preemployment screening and testing.

  • Interviewing and Selecting Job Candidates: Ohio

    Type:
    Employment Law Manual

    In-depth review of the spectrum of Ohio employment law requirements HR must follow with respect to interviewing and selecting job candidates.

  • Preemployment Screening and Testing: District of Columbia

    Type:
    Employment Law Manual

    In-depth review of the spectrum of District of Columbia employment law requirements HR must follow with respect to preemployment screening and testing.

  • Preemployment Screening and Testing: Indiana

    Type:
    Employment Law Manual

    In-depth review of the spectrum of Indiana employment law requirements HR must follow with respect to preemployment screening and testing.

  • Ohio Will Remove Criminal History Box From State Job Applications

    Date:
    18 May 2015
    Type:
    News

    Effective June 1, Ohio will remove criminal history questions from state job applications that prospective employees are asked to check off if they have ever been convicted of a crime. In doing so, Ohio becomes the 17th state with at least some form of a "ban the box" policy.

About this topic

Legal considerations for HR concerning employee background checks of job applicants and employees. Support on properly conducting background checks.