Pre Employment Screening and Employment Background Checks Explained
In today’s legal environment employers simply have to protect themselves from negligent hiring lawsuits by conducting a pre employment screening background check on applicants.
This is perhaps an employers best and sometimes only defense against being sued for the actions of an employee that harms the public or another employee.
Moreover, pre employment screening saves the time and money wasted in drug testing, recruiting, hiring and training undesirable job applicants.
To some applicants the idea of having a pre employment screening background check done may make them feel a bit uneasy.
However, to most people this is an assurance that the employer is making an effort to hire people that will provide and appreciate a safe workplace and a business environment that enjoys a good reputation with the public.
In the past eight or ten years almost all employers do some pre employment screening on all applicants and records of criminal activity that might gone “Under the Radar” prior to that are now readily available to any employer.
Pre employment screening background checks focus primarily on employment history, educational verification, driving record and criminal background checks and sometimes credit history depending on the position.
Employment and educational background checks verify information that employees have provided on their applications. It is best to be honest on your resume and when filling out a job application.
It usually pays to disclose
The retrieval of criminal records has become very sophisticated.
Most states and counties have seriously upgraded the automation of their criminal records repositories and employment screening companies who act on behalf of businesses and other organizations have also enhanced their ability to access these records.
The chances of an arrest record not being discovered is very slim. Much more slim than it used to be. Many companies have a policy of not hiring someone who lied or failed to disclose an arrest or other criminal record. Many times an applicant would have gotten the job but for the attempt to deceive the employer.
You can verify your own record by getting the information on file from the county in which the incident occurred. That same information is likely to be discovered by a company doing employment screening.
The laws governing the conduct of a pre employment screening investigation are somewhat different depending on whether the employer actually conducts their own pre employment search of public records or hires an outside firm to do the search as most employers do.
Third party employment screening companies are companies known as consumer reporting agencies.
The Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA), requires an employers that uses an outside employment screening company to conduct pre employment screening on behalf of the employer the following rules apply.
1 The applicant must sign a release authorizing the employment screening company/employer to conduct the background check.
2. The employer must clearly disclose to the applicant in a separate document that a report is being prepared. The disclosure must not include the employment screening release as part of an overall employment application.
3. The applicant is entitled to receive a “Summary Of Rights” in accordance with the FCRA.
4. If, based on information contained in the report an employer intends to deny employment, the applicant is entitled to a copy of the report, a “Preliminary Notice Of Adverse Action” and a “Notice of Adverse Action” explaining the applicants right to dispute incorrect information but also pointing out that the employment screening company did not make the decision not to hire the applicant.
5. If an applicant believes the information is wrong, the applicant can dispute the information.
The screening company which must re-verify or remove or correct inaccurate or unverified information, usually within 30 days. If the source of the information (usually a court or department of corrections data base ) confirms the information the applicant can contact the reporting authority directly to dispute the incorrect information being provided.
Some states have employment screening laws that are even more restrictive than the Federal laws governing employment screening.
A reference to many of these laws is included elsewhere in this web site (Site Map)
These restrictions only apply to companies that hire a (CRA) consumer reporting agency to do the pre employment background check. If a company does its’ own pre employment background check in house, it is exempt from the provisions of the FCRA.
When applying for a job honesty is always the best policy.
Adverse information if explained and honestly disclosed in writing or during an interview is to be preferred.
If you know you have adverse information that will show up try to point out factors that may be in your favor such as time that has passed since the infraction and also perhaps including a copy of the police report may actually be in your favor since many times the charges are much more severe than may be reasonably justified.
Remember, a lack of honesty or lying on an employment application is often sufficient reason for not hiring someone.