When applying for employment, you might be subjected to a background check. There are federal regulations regarding background checks to ensure that all applicants are treated similarly. Your state or city may also have laws, so you should be aware of those laws or know an attorney who can tell you if an employer violated the rules regarding background checks.
While you’re being interviewed, you may be asked for information about your background, such as the following.
• Your level of education
• Your work history
• Your criminal record
• Your financial history
• Your medical history
You may also be asked if you use social media, including Facebook, Twitter and such. An employer cannot ask about your medical history unless you have been offered a job. Then, they can also request a drug screening to satisfy their insurance company. In certain situations, they may ask for your genetic information, but that is rare.
These background questions must be the same for all applicants. They cannot be slanted one way or another due to your national origin, race, color, gender, religion or age, if you’re over 40 years old. You may not be scrutinized more intensely than an able-bodied applicant if you’re disabled. If you feel that you have suffered discrimination based on one of those factors, you can report the company to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC).
Background reports and your rights
In some situations, your potential employer might pay a company to conduct a background report on you. If you’ll be handling money and will need to be bonded, they might ask for a criminal background report or a credit check. However, they can only do that if you give them written permission. If you refuse to permit a background check, you may be rejected for the job. If the employer obtains a background report without your permission, you can report it to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC).
You should be prepared to explain any negative information on a criminal or medical report and why it wouldn’t affect your ability to perform your job. If you are not offered a position due to something in a background report, the company must give you a copy of the report and tell you how to contact the company that generated it. Report any errors to the employer. Then, have the reporting company fix it and resubmit the corrected report. To avoid problems, you should get a free copy of your credit report every year. Several websites offer this service.
Background checks are legal, but there are laws regarding their use. If you feel that you were treated unfairly due to the results of a background check, contact an attorney or the EEOC.