If you are like many employers, you want to make sure that you are hiring the best employees possible and you probably are opting to perform background checks on any potential employees. Though that is certainly a wonderful idea, it may be in your best interest to make sure you are doing them correctly as to protect yourself from any legal action. Though performing background checks is an excellent idea, if you do them wrong, you could actually be violating the law. Here are five things that you should be aware of before doing a background check.
Make Sure You Have Permission
Though this may seem like a no brainer, making sure you have the candidate’s permission to run a background check is crucial. Not only could you get in big trouble if you don’t have permission, it is just irresponsible to do a background check on someone when they don’t know you are doing it. Most companies find that a supplement with the application is sufficient enough for this and many applications also have an area that will explain the need for this permission as well. When in doubt, talk with an employment lawyer.
Don’t Have Blanket Policies
One of the most common mistakes that employers have is to have a blanket policy when it comes to those who have criminal convictions. This could even be illegal depending on where you live. Blanket policies in any capacity can be detrimental to your company anyway, so if you do have them in place, it may be time to re-evaluate their usefulness.
Be Cautious with Financial Background Checks
In many states, it can also be illegal to check a candidate’s credit report or financial background. Depending on the situation, you may be able to check a financial background, but in many cases, more and more states are pulling this type of check from their law books. Generally only those in the financial trade or those in management positions would be required to go through a financial background check.
Mobile Apps are the Same as Traditional Background Checks
Some employers have opted to use mobile apps to run background checks on individuals. It doesn’t matter if you are using a mobile app or not, the same rules still apply so make sure you are keeping that in mind. If something is illegal in your state during a traditional background check, it will be illegal in a mobile background check as well
The EEOC is Watching
If your company is doing background checks, you can be guaranteed that the EEOC is interested in making sure you are doing them correctly. There has been a move by the agency to make sure employers are following rules and regulations when it comes to background checks and they are quite serious about compliance. Your best bet is to make sure you understand the laws and legislation out there and follow the rules. As mentioned above, if you are in doubt, seek the advice of an attorney who is familiar with employment law.