What you need to know if your business background checks employees
As mentioned in Part 1, it may be necessary to seek background information on employees. However, if you decide to do this you need to comply with the rules set and enforced by the Equal Opportunity Employment Commission and Federal Trade Commission. There are many laws for how background information can be obtained and used in employment decisions. Some of the regulations and guidelines you need to know if your business background checks employees are:
- Public employers are not allowed to ask about felony charges on an employment application or during the initial screening process. However, they can ask for this information and run background checks after making a preliminary employment offer.
- Employers need to get the applicant’s or employee’s written permission to perform the background check.
- Employers should also tell the applicant or employee how the information will affect his or her employment.
- Treat everyone equally. It is against the law to only check the background of applicants and employees when that decision is based on a person’s race, national origin, color, sex, religion, disability, genetic information [including family medical history], or age.
Finally, make sure to apply the same standards to everyone and take special care when basing employment decisions on background information. Having a policy in place for the use of background information is considered the best practice and will only help employers be prepared.