Background Checks: An Effective Tool, If Used Properly

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employment background checksThis past Tuesday, I did a presentation on “Background Checks: An Effective Tool, If Used Properly” at High Profile Staffing, as part of their monthly series of employment-related talks.

The most important aspect of employment background checks today is that government agencies such as the Equal Opportunity Commission are ramping up efforts to stamp out barriers to hiring. This includes the inappropriate use of background checks that lead to discrimination.

Criminal background checks are a case in point. The EEOC last year filed lawsuits against both BMW and Dollar General for discrimination against African Americans because they allege that the companies inappropriately excluded employing individuals based solely on criminal record checks. So it is important to know how to use criminal background checks appropriately.

Social media checks need to be used carefully by employers as well. This is because the National Labor Relations Board’s general counsel has already issued several memorandums discussing an employer’s chilling impact on employee use of social media to discuss the terms and conditions of employment with other employees. The NLRB has already taken action against employers regarding enforcement of overly broad social media policies.

Lastly, credit checks and their use by employers need to fall within the boundaries of the Fair Credit Reporting Act as enforced by the Bureau of Consumer Financial Protection. This statute imposes restrictions on an employer’s use of consumer reports when making employment decisions. The good news here is that the Bureau is still getting its feet wet with the legislation and hasn’t done very much so far since it only took over enforcement of the FCRA in January 2013.

The bottom line is that government agencies are getting tougher in their enforcement of inappropriate employer background checks. It behooves every employer to know where the lines are drawn and what checks are legal and what checks aren’t. It could cost big time if its done wrong,

Here is my Powerpoint presentation you can download – Background Checks

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