The background screening industry is highly regulated by federal, state and local laws. According to FCRA guidelines , employers cannot look at information that is older than seven years for civil judgments, arrest records, collection records, and paid tax liens and ten years for bankruptcies.
Why Criminal Background Checks Are Necessary
One requirement of the FCRA is that a company must notify the candidate that they will be performing a background check. The notice will explain that the results of the background check will be used for hiring, promotion or retention. After explaining the intent of performing a background check, employers must receive consent either on paper or online from a job candidate to run a criminal record check and that the results will be used in making hiring decisions. It is important to be informed about the process and what information you need to provide for the background check.
Remember to read the consent form carefully before you sign it. Providing the correct information at the time of consent will help to speed up the background check process. Items that you will can be asked for to complete a criminal record check include:. Once you provide the information to the HR manager and sign the consent form, an internal HR team member or an employment screening service will conduct the background checks. What happens when a candidate is disqualified for a position based on what is found in their background check?
Background check - Wikipedia
Below is some information about the process:. Multiple background check products exist to fill specific needs.
The background type an employer chooses depends on the position being filled. In many cases, employers simply wish to verify statements on the job application. This background check for employment would verify previous employers, addresses, and educational credentials. For jobs with fiduciary responsibilities, employers often need a credit check.
The FCRA requires employers to obtain signed permission from the applicant to pull the credit report. If the employer relies on information in the credit report to turn down the applicant, it must provide a copy of the report. Applicants have the right to challenge errors on the credit report such as disputed bills or gaps in employment.
The credit report may also reveal information from public sources such as arrests or criminal convictions. Make sure the service you use to conduct background checks understands the law in your jurisdiction. Arrests are not convictions. A person is not guilty of a crime until convicted.
For example, West Virginia recently passed a law allowing criminal charges to be expunged sooner under certain circumstances. The expungement period is reduced if the applicant completes a substance abuse treatment program or a job-readiness training course.
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While individuals have always been able to petition courts for expungement, the new laws make that easier. Sometimes, expungement is automatic. Applicants are not asked about any criminal history on the job application or until they are deemed qualified for the position based on education or experience.
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In this way, the process is similar to handling disabled applicants under the Americans With Disabilities Act ADA and similar state anti-discrimination laws. When determining whether to use criminal history in the hiring decision, employers should consider the following:. Background checks can also open other cans of worms.
Any investigation that reveals a family medical history or other genetic information cannot be used in the hiring decision. Employers must treat all applicants the same. Employers should determine what background information is necessary for each open position. The same information is then obtained for all applicants for that position. When deciding on the appropriate background search for each position, consider any federal, state or local requirements for the position.
Gauge the exposure for each job. For example, a position with no fiduciary responsibilities and little interaction with the public poses a low risk.
Protecting Yourself When Using Criminal Background Checks
A position with fiduciary responsibilities and engagement with vulnerable populations would represent high employer exposure. Once established, the employer could then explore costs for conducting the appropriate background check for each position. Many vendors offer discounted rates for high volume users. Federal law requires criminal background screenings for many positions. Most law enforcement positions including prison guards are exempted. Additionally, teachers or other jobs working with vulnerable populations will still require criminal background checks.
Vulnerable populations usually include children, the elderly and the disabled. In one, researchers sent out 15, fictitious resumes to employers in New York and New Jersey. Each set of resumes contained last names common among whites and those common among blacks.
Related employers should check criminal background records
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