When you are hiring employees, you might need more information on a candidate to make an informed decision.
The following list includes the types of information that employers often consult as part of a pre-employment check, and the laws governing access and use for making hiring decisions.
Under the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA), businesses must obtain an employee's written consent before seeking an employee's credit report. If you decide not to hire or promote someone based on information in the credit report, you must provide a copy of the report and let the applicant know of his or her right to challenge the report under the FCRA. Visit the FTC’s Bureau of Consumer Protection’s website for more information.
To what extent a private employer may consider an applicant's criminal history in making hiring decisions varies from state to state. Because of this variation, you should consult with a lawyer or do further legal research on the laws of your state before exploring whether or not an applicant has a criminal past.
For Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) checks, consult these resources:
- FBI Services for Businesses
- FBI Criminal History Checks for Employment and Licensing
- FBI Checks on Employees of Banks and Related Entities
The Employee Polygraph Protection Act prohibits most private employers from using lie detector tests, either for pre-employment screening or during the course of employment. The law includes a list of exceptions that apply to businesses that provide armored car services, alarm or guard services, or those that manufacture, distribute, or dispense pharmaceuticals.
Even though there is no federal law specifically prohibiting you from using a written honesty test on job applicants, these tests frequently violate federal and state laws that protect against discrimination and violations of privacy.
Under the Americans with Disabilities Act, employers cannot discriminate based on a physical or mental impairment or request an employee's medical records. Businesses can, however, inquire about an applicant's ability to perform specific job duties. Some states also have stronger laws protecting the confidentiality of medical records.
Bankruptcies are a matter of public record and may appear on an individual's credit report. The Federal Bankruptcy Act prohibits employers from discriminating against applicants because they have filed for bankruptcy.
Military service records may be released only under limited circumstances, and consent is generally required. The military may, however, disclose name, rank, salary, duty assignments, awards and duty status without the service member's consent.
Under the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act and similar state laws, educational records such as transcripts, recommendations and financial information are confidential and will not be released by the school without a student's consent.
Workers' Compensation Records
Workers' compensation appeals are a matter of public record. Information from a workers' compensation appeal may be used in a hiring decision if the employer can show the applicant's injury might interfere with his ability perform required duties.
Pre-Nuptial Background Investigations
A relationship is much more than just emotions. A relationship should be based on honesty and integrity. If you suspect your relationship to be a little too good to be true, this might very well be the case. It may be time to get some hard facts about your boyfriend or girlfriend before you lose more than just a piece of your heart.
Pre-Marital Relationship Warning Signs
If you are in a pre-marital relationship where you are uneasy, but are not quite sure why, you might have been seeing some warning signs that your relationship, no matter how wonderful it seems, is not quite right without understanding what those signs are.
Premarital Background Check
How does your friend deal with his or her past? Is the past spoken about freely or do you feel like you are pulling teeth to get a simple answer about a mundane question such as where he or she went to school? Does your friend avoid topics about childhood experiences or the recent past? If so, your friend might be hiding something from you.
Have you met your friend’s family? If not, are there legitimate reasons for this? Do you think that the excuse that “they are embarrassing” is weak? Sometimes, people are hiding their family because of what the family knows rather than trying to protect you from embarrassing situations.
Does your friend blame everyone else for the problems in his or her life? Is it the “ex” that trashed the credit, ruined relationships between your friend and the children, or sent your friend into a financial spin? There is sometimes a line between the truth and a reluctance to take any responsibility for one’s actions that people who are hiding something are reluctant to take.
Have you spent time with your friend’s buddies or business acquaintances? Do they seem grounded? Or is your friend reluctant to introduce you to other people in his or her life? While your friend might tell you that you are too special to share with other people, your friend might also be trying to keep you away from disreputable associates.
Has your friend asked for a loan or to use your credit cards? Is your friend overly interested in your financial status? This could also be a very strong warning sign.
If your friend lives out of town, is he or she easy to contact? Do you only have office numbers or a cell phone number? Have you considered that your friend might already be married?
Are you starting to think that your friend’s behavior towards you is becoming more intrusive than you would like? Are you beginning to think that the constant wanting to know where you are and what you are doing, which initially seemed flattering, is bordering on obsessive? You need help right now.
Law Enforcement Backgrounds
The public safety pre-employment background investigations satisfies two goals:
- Assuring compliance with all applicable minimum standards for appointment
- Screening out candidates who, based on their past history or other relevant information, are found unsuitable for the positions in question.
Public safety backgrounds are among the most important investigations that a law enforcement agency will ever conduct. The manner in which a background investigation is conducted can make the difference between hiring an individual who will truly protect and serve versus someone who
may cause harm to oneself, the agency, and society.
Public Safety background investigations are among the most challenging investigations to conduct.
They must be comprehensive if they are to lead to informed hiring decisions. Past misconduct
and other signs of unsuitability must be uncovered so that dangerous or otherwise unfit
candidates are screened out. At the same time, inquiries into past performance must
stay within the tight parameters of fair employment practices. Furthermore, the areas
investigated, and the evaluation of the resulting information must be treated consistently
across all candidates so each candidate is evaluated fairly.
Public Safety background investigators must be knowledgeable about all applicable local, state,
and federal fair employment laws. They must be conversant in the legal requirements for
appointment to the positions in question. They must heed all agency policies, practices, and
operational limitations. They must base their inquiries and evaluations on candidate behaviors
that have a direct relationship to the requirements and demands of the position, and they must
do so with consistency and without bias. They must be able to articulate the information
gathered from a wide variety of sources and how it is used in determining candidate suitability.
Neal Investigations can provide this service because our staff has worked as public safety background investigators for some of the largest agencies in southern California. They are versed in the California Police Officers Standards and Training requirements for police officers and other public safety positions.