Conducting Pre-Employment Background Checks

Pre-employment background checks can be an effective way for employers to minimize their risks when they hire a new employee. The accessibility of information on the internet makes it easy for employers to track down such items as credit reports, driving records and criminal records to learn what kind of a person an applicant is. If you are interested in conducting a pre-employment background check to help your company save time and money in its hiring practices, a Monmouth County business lawyer can provide guidance as to legal requirements.

Benefits of Pre-Employment Background Checks

By researching people interested in working for their company, employers benefit from the information they learn in several ways:

  • Employers learn about the integrity of their applicants. Estimates range from a fourth to three-fourths of job applicants include misleading information on their resume or job application.
  • Employers protect themselves legally. For positions involving children or the disabled, for example, there are laws that govern the type of people who can work in these positions. Additionally, employers using pre-employment background checks can avoid hiring people with a poor safety record that may pose a liability down the line for the employer.
  • Employers avoid wasting money. Training new employees and letting them take part in a business are costly ventures. Employers that can eliminate applicants who would be poor fit for the company save a lot of the company’s time and money.

Conducting Pre-Employment Background Checks

An employer must obtain consent from an applicant before beginning a pre-employment background check, and the type of consent depends on what information the employer is seeking.

To obtain an applicant’s credit report, under the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA), the employer must receive written consent from the candidate. If the employer decides not to hire the applicant based on information in the credit report, the employer must provide a copy of the report to the applicant and tell him or her how to challenge the report under the FCRA.

For medical records, the Americans with Disabilities Act permits an employer only to inquire about an applicant’s ability to perform job specific duties. An employer cannot make a decision based on an employee’s disability provided that the employee can perform the work either without any accommodation or with reasonable accommodation.

State and federal laws govern the other types of records that employers can obtain and what employers can do with the records. Bankruptcies, for example, are in the public record, but the Bankruptcy Act prohibits employers from refusing to hire an applicant because he or she filed for bankruptcy. Also, school records are confidential, and the student is the sole person who can grant a school permission to release them.

Contact a Monmouth County business attorney at Garland & Mason L.L.C. for more information on what employers can and cannot do in conducting pre-employment background checks.