Employers: Which Records Can You Request
As a business owner, it makes good sense to vet your potential employees before you make an official hiring offer. Unfortunately, many business owners have found themselves in hot water by conducting illegal background checks. As an employer, it’s pertinent that you understand which records you can request and which records you are best to avoid.
When a person’s criminal record is sealed or expunged, it cannot be utilized for employment or non-employment. Criminal records that are a matter of public record may be considered but, then again, they may not be. In most states, a criminal past does not exclude a person from gaining employment. The exception to this rule is when the conviction is specifically related to the job description of the position for which the person is applying. For example, if you operate a business in which contact with children is made, previous convictions for violent crimes may exclude the applicant from being hired.
Medical records, under current federal law, may never be requested by a potential employer. Furthermore, you cannot refuse to hire someone based on a disability. What you can do, however, is inquire about a person’s physical capability to perform the job for which they are applying. For example, if an applicant has a back injury and the job requires them to regularly lift 50 pounds or more, you may ask for proof that that person can perform the job without risk to their health. Tread lightly when requesting medical information; information of this nature can fall into a grey area.
Before you attempt to pull an applicant’s credit report, you better make sure that you have written consent. If you choose to deny an applicant based on the information in their credit report, you need to inform that person of the facts that you based your decision on. You should also be clearly aware that you cannot refuse to hire someone because they have a bankruptcy in their past. The bulk of your opinion shouldn’t be based on an applicant’s credit score, especially in today’s economy.
As a potential employer, you are not privy to student loan or other financial information. You are also not permitted to access academic transcripts. If, however, you require this information, and receive the consent of your applicant, the applicant can request that the information be sent directly to them. They, in turn, can release the information to you if they so choose.
The most basic information about a soldier is considered public information. You can obtain rank, award information, duties and salaries without your applicant’s consent. If you want to delve deeper, you’ll need written consent from your applicant. Written consent will grant you access to misconduct on the part of the applicant, and any disciplinary actions that were taken.
Background checks are an important tool for every business owner. Before you decide to conduct a check, however, you must consult the laws of your state. While one state may allow for certain information to be released legally, another may not. No matter what information you seek, be sure to get the written consent of your applicant before you start digging.
Author John Acker is an avid blogger. Want to check out your employee’s background? You can get a background check. If you find yourself interested in solving other mysteries, check out the best criminal justice schools for info on degree possibilities.
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