If you decide to run a pre-employment background check on job applicants, you should do so with caution. Gathering certain information about prospective employees is illegal. There is a fine line between information gleaned from a background check that is legally permissible and that which is forbidden by law.
Employee background verification: What can a small business owner legally check?
Employers are permitted to perform pre-employment background checks to find out information regarding a job applicant’s job history regarding where and when he worked. Employers can also delve into an applicant’s educational background regarding where he attended school, the time frame of his studies and his academic performance. Perhaps most important is the criminal background check. Most employers do not want to hire an individual with an extensive rap sheet. Employers are within their legal rights to search for information regarding the applicant’s criminal record regarding felonies and misdemeanors as well as when and where these transgressions occurred. The criminal history search can be conducted in a county, state, and national level. It is also legal to perform a background check to determine if there is an outstanding arrest warrant issued for the candidate. Employers can also search to find out if an applicant is listed on a fugitive/most wanted list. Furthermore, employers have every right to know if the applicant is a registered sex offender. Such data can be uncovered through a sex offender registry check.
Background checks can be performed to find out if the candidate holds a license that he claims to have obtained. The existence of the license can be verified as well as the type of license, its current status, and any restrictions. Though it might seem obvious, employers are permitted to contact a job candidate’s references to determine if he is capable of performing to the standards required of the open position.
Employers are encouraged to run a background check to determine if an applicant’s social security number is legitimate. They can also check to ensure that the address listed on the background check report matches that provided by the job seeker. Furthermore, employers can check to determine if the social security number is used by others and whether the job seeker is making use of more than one social security number or an alias.
Employee background verification: Instances When Digging Deeper is Necessary and Legal
If an employer is hiring for a position that requires the use of a vehicle, it is legal to obtain a motor vehicle report. This report is a critical tool in constructing a defense against claims of negligent hiring. Such a statement provides evidence that the candidate’s driving record either qualifies or disqualifies him for the position. Information that can be legally checked includes license type, the status of the license, restrictions, and incidents of irresponsible behavior while operating a vehicle.
Employers are also empowered to run a background check on an applicant to uncover details about workers’ compensation claims. Such information is helpful in determining the honesty of the job seeker and whether he is capable of meeting the open position’s required functions. However, a workers’ compensation history background check can only be ordered after a conditional job offer has been extended to the applicant.
What Can’t be Checked
It is illegal for an employer to conduct a pre-employment background check to find out about an applicant’s medical history. However, an employer can legally ask an applicant if he can perform the job’s required duties. An employer can also require everyone who completes the functions of the open position or similar situations to undergo medical exams, thereby making it a requirement to hold the job.
A job candidate’s military records can also be checked to a limited extent. Employers are severely restricted when it comes to researching anything beyond the applicant’s military rank, duties, awards, and salary. However, it is illegal for an employer to turn down an applicant for a job only because of the potential that he might be summoned for active duty.
Though bankruptcy information is available to the public, it is not legal to penalize a job applicant for having a bankruptcy on his record. In some states, employers are allowed to run credit checks on job applicants to determine if they are worth trusting with money. A credit report that turns up indications of poor financial management or significant financial pressure might empower the hiring company to exclude the candidate from consideration. However, credit report checks are primarily performed for positions that require the handling of money. It is important to note that certain states have made it illegal for employers to run credit checks during a pre-employment background check. A total of 18 states have passed idiosyncratic laws that limit the information that can be searched for during pre-employment background checks. Always check your local laws before conducting any pre-employment background check.
As a small business owner, what areas do you check as a part of employee background verification?
Disclaimer: VentureHow.com employee background verification types is an informational article. While we strive to provide quality information, we cannot guarantee the accuracy of the data. Please consult an attorney for what is right for your business in using the data from pre-employment background checks.