Illegal Background Checks- Guidelines for Employers

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What are Some General Employer Guidelines for Avoiding Illegal Background Checks?

Illegal background checks can lead to many negative consequences for employers.  In general, it’s ok to conduct a background check for a job applicant, so long as it’s done according to the laws in your area.  Some basic guidelines for avoiding illegal background checks include:

Also, you should understand that background checks may be required by law for certain job positions, such as federal jobs or other governmental positions.  If you are in a position to hire such applicants, failing to conduct the background check as required by law could get you into legal trouble.

What are Some Guidelines When it Comes to Searching the Applicant’s Records?

A background check might also be considered illegal if you search the applicant’s records in the wrong way.  Some guidelines regarding the search of records are:

Again, the safest thing for an employer to do is to inform the applicant that they will be conducting a background check, and then obtain their consent in writing to access their records.  You may wish to do some basic research of the laws in your jurisdiction, particularly with regards to the rules on criminal records.  If you are unsure, don’t perform a background search until you have consulted with a lawyer for advice.

Do I Need a Lawyer for Assistance with Background Checks?

If you are an employer seeking to hire new workers, be sure that you follow the guidelines regarding background checks.  An illegal background check can be very costly to business.  You may wish to hire a lawyer for assistance when formulating your background check policies, or if you have any specific concerns or questions.  Your lawyer can also help defend you if legal action is filed against you or your company.

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Last Modified: 04-12-2012 02:45 PM PDT

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