An employee background check is an employer’s review of an employee or a potential employee’s criminal, commercial, employment, and financial records. Some employers conduct background checks before the offer of employment and some make an offer then let you sweat it out while the check is being conducted.
Employers typically contract with a third party to check into someone’s affairs. Lucky for potential employees, the Fair Credit Reporting Act restricts employers from getting the information they do not need. So, no, they won’t find out about that little embarrassing thing you did a few years back. The FCRA sets the screening standards and defines a routine background check as a consumer report and they are limited in scope. Thankfully.
If an employer conducts a background check on you, you must be notified in writing that they are checking, and you must provide written authorization. Before proving written authorization, it is a good idea to inquire about the things they will be checking and how the information will be evaluated, and employment impacted.
If an employer is conducting inquiries on their own, they do not have a legal obligation to ask for your permission. For example, they do not have to get written authorization to contact a former employer. If an offer of employment is not extended because of a consumer report or if a job offer is rescinded, the company must provide you with a “pre-adverse action disclosure”. Included with the disclosure should be a copy of the report and a written explanation of your rights. You may if you feel is it worth your time, dispute the report.
What Employers Can Check
A background check may range from simple verification of your date of birth and social security number to a more thorough check into your personal history. The employer may want to check your credit history, work history, driving record, criminal records, medical records, and drug test results. Feel uncomfortable yet?
An employer can also complete what is known as a character check and contact personal acquaintances to speak about you. Typically, the information they check will be related to the job you applied for. For example, if you are hired to work at a financial institution, it would be reasonable for them to check to see if you have any banking related offenses on your record.
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