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The Legal Issues Regarding Background Checks

For prospective employers, the idea of a background check sounds good as it provides employers the confidence that they are going to hire the best employee  for a vacant position in the company. However, there are now several states in the US that restrict employers to do so. This is what they call the “ban the box” movement. The movement was created by the civil rights group and is an international campaign. The people behind this movement are ex-offenders advocate, and all they persuade the employers to do is to remove the check box that states if a potential candidate has a criminal offense in the past.

As of this time, there are 10 states that have this rule namely, Connecticut, Hawaii, Illinois, California, Massachusetts, New Jersey, Minnesota, Rhode Island, Oregon and Vermont. These states mandated the history of conviction questions from job applications for private companies or employers. Perhaps they want to make a statement that those who have been forgiven of crime have the chance for a new start in life.

Even with this mandate by the government, there are some companies who are still determined to do background checks in order to make sure they are on track with making their businesses flourish by hiring the right people. It can still be done with such boundaries. That being said, here are some Do’s and Don’ts for doing a background check:

1. Written consent

By law, if your company let’s other companies handle background checks, make sure that they obtain written consent first in a separate form. The applicant must also be notified of this move and also they must authorize you to do so in writing.  Companies who are doing their own background checks for the same reason should also follow the same rules.

2. When permitted, do it!

It’s understandably important to conduct a background check in order to verify the person who is applying for the job. It can also help employers when they decide to give a promotion or reassignment. Background checks are also extremely important especially when the vacant position to be filled involved, handling financial data and other personal office matters.  So do it at any chance it is permitted for you to do so.

3. No to discrimination

Make sure the background checks are to be run for everyone and everyone means it is not because of sex, color, ethnicity or race involved in the procedure. If a particular career or criminal history would disqualify an applicant, make sure it applies to everyone. This is a touchy subject but a very important thing to note. Do not discriminate with your use of information when performing background checks.

4. Limit background checks only to what is permitted by the law

Respect begets respect, so this rule is one good move. If you live in a state where “ban the box” is applied, then make yourself informed as to what you can and cannot do. As an employer, you may ask for criminal history that will be within limits and just that. Some employer will make a conditional job offer in order to be able to conduct the rest of the background check, if that’s what it takes then you have to abide by it, for the sake of your company’s protection and progress as well.

5. Notify the applicants of any decisions based on background checks

The applicants will need to know and be provided by their own copy of the report. They will have to be given ample time to explain themselves, to make corrections if there is any.  They will also have to be provided information about the company who did the report for their knowledge.

6. Comply with the law regarding retention and disposal

Once background checks have been done, do maintain to keep the records for at least one year. After doing this, an employer must dispose of the of those records in a manner wherein they are not to be read or seen anymore. This way, employers can avoid claims from rejected applicants if they have done their background checking depending on the law.

There you have it. After reading this article and making some careful consideration, you can try to know more details but typing “where I can get a background check near me” on the internet search bar for a more detailed information on companies that could provides background checks as a service to their clients. You can even put in the specific place for a more narrowed down search.

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