Background checks are a helpful addition to any company’s hiring process. It’s always a good idea to verify identity and credentials while keeping an eye out for potential threats or risks in new job candidates. However, it’s also important to maintain a fair and legal screening process for all potential employees. There are certain laws every business has to follow, and many of the rules change depending on specific circumstances such as your business’s location. Read on to find out what’s legal in an employee background check.
A general background check, including criminal records and verification of past employment and education, requires employers to follow a few rules. The employee or potential employee in question must consent in writing to the background check, and the employer must provide written disclosure that the background check is underway. Additionally, if a background check is a condition of employment, the employer must inform the candidate as well as include this procedure in the company’s written policies. Employers must also follow the adverse action process dictated by the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA), and outlined by the Federal Trade Commission. The adverse action process allows applicants to review the data returned in their background investigation and confirm any inaccuracies by having the background screening company conduct a re-investigation.
Social media and any other publicly available online information are fair game for a company. However, employers must respect an employee’s privacy settings. For example, if a job candidate has a private account, it’s off-limits for employers. When it comes to what’s legal in an employee background check, companies must stick with the information that is public or easily found within a search engine.
Like with general background checks, most employers can look into credit history as long as they have the employee’s written consent. Employers must follow the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA), which requires they inform workers if they’re going to use their credit report against them. This gives job candidates a chance to refute wrong information found in the background check.
While background checks are incredibly useful, they can also bring a company a lot of legal trouble if done incorrectly. PSI Background Screening can help ensure your business reaps the benefits of background checks without any of the risks.