Did you know that according to the Society for Human Resources Management (SHRM), over 95% of HR professionals admit to performing background checks on new and potential hires? As a job seeker, it is imperative to have at least a basic understanding of your rights as they pertain to these checks. In this blog post we introduce the legalities associated with employee background checks. This includes what potential employers can and cannot ask, as well as how to prepare for background checks of your own.
Permission: First and foremost, it is important to keep in mind that in order for a potential employer to perform a background check of any kind, they must have your permission. Employers are legally required to disclose any intention of performing a background check.
Notification: If an employer has performed various background checks and decides to pass on hiring an applicant because of a discovery within the results, they are required to notify that applicant of the decision they have made and why. Keep in mind, there is a loophole within this law that does not require companies that perform their own background checks to disclose their decisions.
Report access: Whether you are a job seeker or current employee, legally you have the right to access any background check results or reports free of charge from the preparing company.
What will it include? Background checks can include anything from criminal history, driving records, personal references and credit checks. Credit checks must be in line with the Fair Credit Reporting Act (PDF).
What kinds of things can employers NOT access during background checks?
- Decade old bankruptcies
- Civil suits, judgments and records of arrest after seven years have passed
- Seven year old tax liens that have been paid
- With the exception of criminal convictions, any negative disclosures that are over 7 years old cannot be accessed during an employment-based background check.
How to prepare?
While it is often times unexpected, it is not uncommon for incorrect and negative records to pop up on background checks without any warning. The best way to avoid surprises is to do your own research. Consider performing a personal background check and using the results to keep you ahead of the game and well prepared for any possible questions that could result from the final report.
According to the Fair Credit Report Act, access to a free credit report from each of the three nationwide reporting agencies is guaranteed one time annually. For a more in depth background check, www.mybackgroundcheck.com serves as a quality and affordable resource for job seekers.
Background checks are nerve racking, but understanding your rights and other appropriate procedures is the first step in putting your mind at ease. Keep these tips in mind when applying for your next position.
About Josephine’s Professional Staffing
Founded in 1988, Josephine’s Professional Staffing has nearly 25 years of business success and is continuously committed to providing superior quality staffing solutions to companies in the Bay Area. We proactively and consistently search for avenues to provide staffing solutions in the field of administrative, accounting, healthcare, light industrial, technical and professional services while taking pride in each of our employees. Josephine’s Professional Staffing is a Certified Small Business Enterprise (SBE), Underutilized Disadvantaged Business Enterprise (UDBE), and Minority Woman-Owned Business Enterprise (MWOBE). We can be reached at email@example.com or 4008.943.0111 and are located at 2158 Ringwood Avenue, San Jose, CA 95131.
Photo Credit: BrettNeilsen