Background Check Policy
Background Check Policy Preparation Form – We recommend that you gather the information in this form prior to accessing the online questionnaire. Doing so will help you efficiently create your custom Background Check Policy.
Employers may incorporate this Background Check Policy into an employee handbook or use it as a stand-alone policy document. Employers that use background check information should implement and maintain a Background Check Policy in order to educate their employees. Additionally, employers should train managers and individuals responsible for hiring on compliance with federal, state, and local law. Because state or local laws may impose additional or different requirements on employers, they should be referenced with this Policy.
Federal law generally does not require employers to conduct background checks for most positions in the private sector. However, there are industry-specific laws that require background checks for employees in sensitive or dangerous positions.
Even when not legally required to do so, many employers use background check information on applicants and employees to:
- Evaluate the accuracy of an applicant or employee’s credentials;
- Minimize the risk of employee theft and other crimes, such as fraud;
- Minimize the risk of workplace violence;
- Reduce exposure to litigation, such as negligent hiring claims; and
- Reduce the risk of noncompliance with immigration law.
The Fair Credit Reporting Act
Employers that use a consumer reporting agency in order to obtain background information on applicants or employees must comply with Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) requirements. As such, employers are required to use the FCRA’s Summary of Your Rights Under the Fair Credit Reporting Act form to inform applicants and employees of their rights under the FCRA for purposes of investigative reports and in advance of an adverse action taken as a result of information obtained in either an investigative or non-investigative consumer report.
Additionally, employers must comply with disclosure and authorization requirements, both in conjunction with obtaining consumer reports and taking adverse employment actions because of information in those reports. (Model documents that comply with the FCRA requirements are included, for your convenience.)
EEOC Guidance on Criminal History Records
Employers that use criminal background information should be familiar with guidance from the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). In 2014, the EEOC and the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) joined together to publish two resources advising how the agencies’ laws regulate employment background checks:
- Background Checks: What Employers Need to Know.
- Background Checks: What Job Applicants and Employees Should Know.
State Law Considerations
This policy does not address state or local laws. Thus, employers should consider adding state or local laws, as they may impose additional or different requirements on employers.
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