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Insight Employment Background Check Tips from the EEOC and FTC

The EEOC continues to give attention to the use of background checks in employment. (See here for a previous post regarding background checks and the EEOC.) On March 10, 2014, the EEOC and the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) offered “Joint Tips on Use of Employment Background Checks.” The two agencies published one document for employers and another for job applicants and employees.

The employer document reminds employers that employment background checks and the use of background information must comply with the federal antidiscrimination laws and the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA). The document also gives employers an overview of what they must do: (1) before they obtain the background information; (2) when they obtain and use the information; and (3) regarding the recordkeeping and disposal of such information.

The applicant/employee document first informs its readers that it is not illegal for an employer to ask background questions or require a background check. The document also explains to applicants/employees what their rights are with respect to background checks and then repeatedly invites—in bold font—applicants/employees to contact the EEOC or the FTC if the employer has run afoul of the antidiscrimination laws or failed to follow the FCRA.

Employers ought to review their background check procedures and forms and compare them to these recent EEOC/FTC tips.

If you have questions regarding the use of background checks in your employment, please contact a member of our employment group or call 208.344.6000.

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