Understanding Your Rights For Employment Screening Services
Employers may perform background checks on potential employees for many reasons. The type of information they may seek will depend on the employer and the position you are applying for. Below are just a few reasons why employers perform a background check for employment.
- Liability protection. Negligent hiring lawsuits are on the rise. If an employee hurts one of their co-workers, the employer may be held liable. This gives employers a reason to be wary of anyone they hire. Performing a background check can wind up saving the company a lot of money in the long run and prevent a hiring official’s career from going under.
- State and Federal laws. There are certain positions that require a background check by law. Those who work with children, the disabled or the elderly must be screened before being hired.
- Security. Potential employees may be screened for security purposes.
- Verify information. In some cases, an employee may be screened to verify the information they submit on their resume. This safeguards the employer from hiring an incompetent or unethical employee.
How the Process Works
Employers must first get your permission (in writing) to perform the background check or credit check before they can proceed. If you do not comply, they may reject your application. If the employer decides not to hire because of the background check, they do have some legal obligations.
- First, they must show you the report.
- Second, they must provide you with information on how to get a copy of the report. The good news is that the report is free if you request it within 60 days.
The employer must also inform you that they may use the information to make their hiring decision. This document will be separate from your application or other documents the company may give you.
Before an employer can take an adverse action, like reject your application, they must give you a copy of the report. Along with the report, they must also give you a copy of A Summary of Your Rights Under the Fair Credit Reporting Act. Take the time to read through the document and dispute any information that is inaccurate or incomplete. This can be done by contacting the company who issued the report.
What Information Is Released?
What exactly can potential employers learn about you from your background check? This will all depend on the type of report the employer requests. It can be a simple verification of your Social Security number, or it can be a detailed account of your employment history. Below are some bits of information that may be included in your screening.
- Credit history
- Court records
- Education records
- Driving records
- Criminal record
- Character references
- Military records
- Neighbor interviews
- Drug test records
- Employment history
There is also some information that cannot be divulged. Nearly all negative information, aside from criminal convictions, after seven years will not be released. Bankruptcies after 10 years will also not be shared. Keep in mind, however, that these rules do not apply to those applying for a job with an annual salary of $75,000 or more per year.
There are some positions that do require a background and criminal record check. This includes positions where the employee will be working with children, the disabled or the elderly.
Tips for Job Seekers
The number of employers requiring a background check for employment is on the rise, but there are several things you can do to protect yourself and increase your chances of being hired.
- Get a copy of your credit report. Go over your credit report with a fine tooth comb and dispute any errors. Cleaning up your report can increase your chances of being hired.
- Read the application carefully. By reading through the application carefully, you’ll know exactly what will be checked.
- Know what your rights are. Find out what the state and Federal laws are and find out what employers can and cannot view.
- Be honest and only disclose what you have to. Only provide the employer with the information they need. If there are issues with your background check, explain the situation and what the circumstances are/were. The employer will appreciate your honesty and will be happy to learn about the incident from your own mouth rather than through the background check results.