What is Required for a Background Check of a Potential Employee?
Checks should be made fairly and without bias and should comply with the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA). They should concern only issues relating to performance of the specific job. An employer that unnecessarily pries into private information or uses unreasonable methods to get data could be sued for invasion of privacy. A check may be conducted without a conditional offer of employment.
There are certain pieces of information that an employer may not seek out concerning a potential applicant or an employee. An employer may not conduct a credit or background check of an employee or a prospective employee unless the employer notifies the employee or applicant in writing that it intends to do so and receives authorization to do so.
A background check can only be considered discriminatory if the reports were used to cover up retaliation on the employee because of disclosure irregularities in the company to the authorities and/or participation in protected activities. The report, if used wrongfully and not objectively can also become a cause of discrimination.
Once an employer conducts background checks for a position, it should screen all potential candidates who are being considered for that position and evaluate them using the same criteria. An employer that engages in selective background checks may be liable for discriminatory conduct.