An employee background check may be required for many different job positions. This is where the employer researches an employment candidate’s background to ensure that there won’t be any legal issues upon hiring the person, such as negligent hiring or negligent supervision. Usually, the employee is checking for information such as:

  • Whether the person has a criminal record
  • If the person does have a criminal record, when the charges occurred and what the nature of the crime was
  • Whether the person is authorized to work in the U.S.
  • Credit and other financial information
  • Information regarding previous military service
  • Other issues, such as immigration information or other employment documents

When Are Background Checks Illegal?

Employee background checks are generally legal so long as the potential employee gives their consent to such a background check. Even then, the background check cannot violate employment laws and needs to follow various guidelines.

For instance, regardless of what type of information the employer is searching for, the information needs to be job-related. Researching unrelated information is likely to result in an illegal background check violation, which can result in various legal penalties. Also, the background check can’t violate any discrimination laws.

What If I Have a Problem or a Legal Issue with a Background Check?

Illegal background checks can lead to various legal penalties for the employer. For instance, they may have to pay damages to the plaintiff if their background check caused the person damages. This can happen in cases where the employer wrongfully releases private information to non-authorized parties.

Illegal background checks have also been linked to cases of employment-related defamation of character. This type of claim can result if the employer uses information about the person’s criminal background in an improper way or for the wrong purposes.

Do I Need a Lawyer for Help with Background Checks?

Employment background checks are useful and can be a standard part of the hiring process. However, they must be performed in the proper way according to state and federal standards. You may need to hire an employment lawyer if you need help with any employment matters such as background checks. Your attorney can help make sure that your rights are being protected. Also, your lawyer can represent your claim if you need to file a lawsuit.