If you’ve never had a potential employer conduct a background check, then it can sound intimidating. Most people are unsure of what these checks look for or what they might uncover. Lawyers are a helpful resource for questions and usually have the most accurate answers. There are many pieces to the puzzle and can change from location to location. Denver business attorneys will have a different approach than a NYC firm would. Here’s what is included in an employee background check and when you should be concerned.
Employers can choose to conduct the check themselves or utilize a third-party service to do so. Before that happens, they have to notify you of the check in writing and receive your written permission to conduct it. Once you give permission, they begin compiling your consumer report.
The only exception is when a potential employer calls one of your former employers without the use of a third-party. They do not legally need your consent to do so. In the event that a company does not get your consent before conducting any other aspect of a background check, seek out a team of defense attorneys. Your information is legally protected, and the company violated your rights.
If your background check comes back unfavorable, the company must let you know in a pre-adverse action disclosure. It includes a copy of the report and allows you to dispute the information within. The company will also give you an adverse action notice stating why you were not hired and giving you the name of the company that conducted the background check.
What Do Employers Check For?
Background checks change in the scope of their investigations. Some simple look for your social security number and others dive deep into your history. A background check can include:
- Work history
- Credit scores
- Driving records
- Criminal records
- Vehicle registration
- Court Records
- Drug test results
- Property ownership
- Medical history
- Sex offender information
- Any references you’ve listed
- Military service
- And any compensation received in legal disputes
Some employers may also conduct a character reference check in which they speak with personal acquaintances. These can include friends, neighbors, previous coworkers, and family. Jobs with higher security clearances or those that handle money and valuable merchandise often conduct more thorough background checks.
Are There Restrictions?
There are several pieces of information that cannot be included if the job’s salary is under $75,000. Bankruptcies older than 10 years, civil suits and arrests older than 7 years, and paid tax liens older than 7 years are all excluded.
School records are entirely confidential without your consent. Military service records fall under the same provision. The military can give your name, rank, and salary without your consent, however. You also cannot be discriminated against because of bankruptcy. If you feel you were, it’s vital that you hire a discrimination lawyer immediately. The same is true for any medical disabilities found in the background check.
Several states have laws in place that decrease the amount of information a background check can yield. If you’re worried about what an employer might find, then it helps to know what the laws in your state are and when your information is protected.