Many employers order background checks before deciding to hire an applicant. While this is completely legal, there are a number of both federal and state regulations that restrict what types of information can be requested. Failing to adhere to these rules can result in civil liability, so it is important to have a thorough understanding of how to legally conduct a background check.
More and more employers require applicants to pass a thorough background check as part of the hiring process. This often includes access to a person’s driving record, criminal record, work history, education, and financial history. Except for restrictions related to medical information, it is lawful to require a background check of an applicant. However, there are limits to how this information can be obtained or used, especially if a third party is hired to conduct the background check. For instance, under state law, an employer must provide written notice to the subject of the investigation before requesting a consumer report. The notice must also allow the subject to opt-in to receiving a copy of the report.
The Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) also requires potential employers to obtain an applicant’s or employee’s written authorization before ordering a background check.
When the information on a background check leads an employer to consider rejecting an application, he or she must notify the applicant before making the decision. Once the rejection has been finalized, the employer must then send an official adverse action disclosure to the applicant.
Finally, all employment records, including applications, must be preserved for at least one year, after which they must be destroyed properly through one of the following methods:
Burning, pulverizing, or shredding;
Destroying or erasing electronic files containing consumer report information; or
Hiring a document destruction contractor to dispose of the material.
There are a number of federal and state regulations that employers must adhere to when using background checks to make employment decisions. Failing to fulfill these requirements can have dire consequences, so if you are a business owner in Oklahoma and have questions about ordering a background check, please book a consultation with our CORE financial team by calling 918-209-3441 to speak with our Tulsa office, 405-288-1207 to reach someone at our Oklahoma City office, or 580-353-2376 to speak with one of our Lawton team members.