What are employee background check?
From a simple employee background check to a full blown due diligence investigation the contents and type of check can vary widely. Most checks consist of at least the following elements:
Criminal records search
The above elements will most likely be seen in your typical employee background check process. In a due diligence investigation many elements could be added from multi-jurisdictional civil searches to interviews with friends, family and neighbors, whereas the average consumer may just be interested in one or two of these elements. Later we will discuss certain types of employee background check such as pre-employment screening or hiring a nanny for your children.
Why conduct them?
There are as many reasons to conduct employee background check. Some companies conduct background checks on potential employees to determine whether or not the employee has a criminal record. This is especially important if the employee is going to be handling money or working closely with customers. Imagine hiring a person who has a history of violence and then putting them in a customer service position. You could be looking at a negligent hiring suit and subjecting your company to a great deal of liability.
What about other types of employee background check reports? Many companies run a credit check on potential employees. How does this relate to a persons ability to work? In some instances it does not relate but may give a good indication if the person is reliable and can be counted on. In other cases it directly relates to the position the person applied for. For instance you may not want to hire a tax consultant who is in debt and on the verge of bankruptcy. It is just common sense. Most companies take something as subjective as a credit report on a case by case basis.
There are a plethora of other reasons to conduct a employee background check on someone. Your creepy neighbor, a new nanny for the kids, your kids little league coach. You may be going into business with someone and want to know what type of dealings they have had in the past. These are all very compelling reasons.
What are the requirements?
When conducting employee background check for employment purposes there are a great many laws and guidelines that must be followed. After all when you are dealing with someone's livelihood you want to make sure you have all the facts correct before you deny them employment. One of the most important set of laws deals with the FCRA or The Fair Credit Reporting Act. The FCRA is a set of standards that was developed by the federal government to ensure that accurate and updated information is used when credit reporting decisions are made. This includes using background checks for employment purposes. The specifics of the FCRA that deal with employment screening can be found here.
Another important set of federal laws that was recently enacted is the DPPA or the Drivers Privacy Protection Act. The Driver's Privacy Protection Act (DPPA) is a federal law that regulates how information from DMV records can be released and shared. The DPPA regulates how motor vehicle departments release driver records and vehicle records. The DPPA also regulates how a recipient of DMV records can share information with another person. You can find out more on the DPPA by going here.
The Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act is yet another set of federal regulations that apply to employment screening. The GLBA was developed to keep information private that is maintained by financial institutions. The information a potential employer may gather and use is also regulated by the GLBA. To learn more on the GLBA go here.
State laws and guidelines are another thing to consider when conducting employee background check reports. We are going to provide a list of links to states that have specific laws in place with concern to employment screening and background investigations.