Background Check


A background check is the process that an individual or company employs to ensure that a person is who the person claims they are. it is a chance to confirm and verify the legitimacy of an individual's criminal record, educational background, employment history, as well as other past activities. The frequency, reason for and validity of background checks vary between nations, industries as well as individuals. A work background check typically takes place when an applicant applies for a job. However, it may also be conducted anytime the employer believes it is important. Many methods are employed to carry out these checks. They include a comprehensive searches of databases as well as personal references.

The Purpose

Screening for employment

Background checks are typically requested by employers when they are looking for candidates to screen applicants for employment particularly for those who are looking for a job that requires an extremely high level of security or that requires trust, for instance at a courthouse, school or hospital and financial institution, as well as airport, and even government. Background checks are typically conducted by a government agency and cost very little cost, but they may also be conducted by private firms. [1] The results of background checks background check typically include past employment verification, credit history and criminal background. The goal for background screening is to assure the security and safety of employees working for the business. [2]

Background checks are commonly employed in the workplace as a way of assessing a potential employee's past behavior, mistakes, and fitness, as well as to detect potential hiring risk for security and safety reasons. Background checks are also utilized to conduct thorough investigations of prospective government employees to determine whether they are eligible to obtain an authorization to work in security. [1] But, they are sometimes employed for illegal reasons for example, discrimination that is unlawful (or discrimination in the workplace) or identity theft and privacy violations. [3]

The majority of checks are carried out to verify information that is found in an application for employment or curriculum vitae or resume. One study revealed that half of the references screened on prospective employees were different from what the candidate provided and what the source stated. [4] They can also be conducted to help distinguish potential employees and select which one an employer believes is most suitable for the job. Employers are required to ensure their workplace environment is secure for all employees and prevents other issues at work. [5]

Purchases of firearms

The United States, the Brady Bill mandates criminal checks for people who want to purchase firearms from licensed dealers. Restricted firearms (like machine guns) and explosives, suppressors, massive quantities of chemical precursors, as well as concealed weapons permits require checks by a criminal. [6] Checks are also required for people who work in areas that have special security issues, like ports of entry for trucks and airports (including airlines). [7] There are laws in place to stop people who don't pass the criminal background check from working in positions that require disabled or elderly people as well as youngsters. [8]

Screening prior to employment

The term "pre-employment screening" refers to the process of examining the background of employees who are aspiring to join and is often utilized to determine the truth of the claims made by applicants and also to uncover any criminal records that could be associated with workers' compensation claims, or sanctions imposed by the employer. [9]

United States

The employer must get the consent of the applicant to grant the approval for an approved background check. [18The background check must be approved by the applicant. The company must adhere to the Fair Credit Reporting Act. 10 Employers have to ensure that they do not discriminate against applicants.

Particularly in this regard, most notably, the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) regulates the use of consumer reports (which is defined as data obtained and reported by third-party agencies) with respect to adverse decisions, notice of the candidate, as well as destruction and the safekeeping of information. If a report on a consumer's credit history is used as a basis in a hiring decision that is not favorable applicants must be given a "pre-adverse actions disclosure" an copy of the FCRA overview of rights as well as the "notification that an adverse action has been taken." Individuals have the right to learn the sources of any information utilized against them, which includes the credit report company. The individual must also give their consent to allow the employer to get a credit history. [19]

Limitations and laws regarding Background Check

  • Record of convictions and arrests: Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964; Cal. Lab. Code SS 432.7; Cal. Lab. Code SS 432.8; Cal. Pen. Code SS 290.46(k)(2) 775 ILCS 5/2-103; Employment Opportunities for qualified applicants Act 820 ILCS 75/15; N.Y. Correct. Law SS 752; N.Y. Exec. Law SS 296 (15), (16); 18 Pa.C.S. SS 9125
  • Checks for financial or credit cards: Consumer Credit Reporting Agencies Act, Cal. Civ. Code SS 1785.13; Cal. Lab. Code SS 1024.5 820 ILCS 70/10 Health screenings/medical checks: Americans with Disabilities Act 42 U.S.C. SS 12101, et seq. ; Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act 42 U.S.C. SS 2000ff, et seq. ; Cal. Lab. Code SS 132a
  • Social media Cal. Lab. Code 980 820 ILCS 55/10(a)
  • Record disposal Record disposal: 16 CFR 682 Recordkeeping 29 CFR Part 160
  • Information and records obtained from consumer reporting agencies, which includes but is not limited to education records, employment records, financial and credit records, as well as Social media Fair Credit Reporting Act 15 U.S.C. SS 1681, et seq. ; Consumer Credit Reporting Agencies Act, Cal. Civ. Code SS 1785.13(a)(6); Investigative Consumer Reporting Agencies Act, Cal. Civ. Code SS 1786.18(a)(7); Cal. Civ. Code SS 1786.53
  • The political affiliation of the: D.C. Code SS 2-1402.11; Wis. Stat. Ann. SS 111.321
  • Polygraph tests Polygraph tests: Polygraph tests for employees: Polygraph Protection Act, 29 U.S.C. SSSS 2002 2005; Cal. Lab. Code SS 432.2; 223. ILCS 430/14.1; N.Y. Lab. Law SSSS 733-739 and 18 Pa.C.S. SS 721


Title XLV Section 768.095 in the Florida Statutes is an act that permits employers from the past to provide details about an employee to a prospective employer, thus safeguarding employers from liability for negligent hiring. Employers may use the information they have disclosed from previous employers when they believe that a background check does not provide sufficient information about the employee. Employers must ensure that the information they provide to them is accurate because if the information is not true, the employer could be infringing employees' civil rights. [20]

Background checks are required

There are several kinds of investigative search that are available to prospective employers. Numerous commercial websites will provide particular searches for employers at cost. These services will carry out the checks, furnish the business with adverse action notices and guarantee conformity during the entire process. It is crucial to choose carefully which company to choose for pre-employment screening. A legitimate business will have a background check policy and will provide the necessary information.

Many employers opt to search the most commonly used documents like criminal records, driving records as well as education records. Other searches like the registry of sexual offenders and credential verification, as well as skills assessment references credit reports, as well as Patriot Act searches are becoming more frequent. [21]

Larger firms tend to outsource than smaller companies and the average staff size of companies that outsource is 3,313 as opposed to 2,162 for companies that perform in-house audits. [22] Financial service companies were the most likely to have respondents who outsource their services and more than one quarter (26 percent) outsourcing, as compared to a typical of just 16% that outsource the vetting process to a third-party service. [23] The construction and property industries had the lowest percentage of outsourcing in the sample, with 89% of these firms of the sample conducting checks in-house. This makes the average. The percentage could rise over time. [24] Businesses that decide to outsource need to ensure to choose a company that is Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) certified. If they do not use an FCRA conforming company could be facing legal challenges. [25]

In general employers should not decide to take adverse action against an employee or applicant (not making them redundant or hiring them) just on the basis of information from a database search. Database searches, in contrast to search for records in source (search of actual courthouse records) are notoriously in error and contain inaccurate or out-of-date information and should be used only to provide additional security for conducting a background check. Employers who fail to adhere to FCRA guidelines could lead to severe penalty. [26]

Criminal reports

The United States, the employer can use criminal records for confirmation as long as the employer doesn't discriminate on the basis of race or religious affiliation, color sexual orientation, or national origin as assessed in discriminate treatment or influence guidelines. [27] There are various types of criminal records searches that are that employers can use, with certain of them more precise and current than others. The "third" background checkers cannot ensure they are 100% accurate in their data and, consequently, many have inaccurate or incomplete reports. The only method to ensure a reliable background check is to go directly to the state. The majority of the time, using the state you prefer is less expensive than employing an "third" agency. Numerous websites offer an "instant" background check, which searches a set of databases that contain public information at a nominal cost. These "instant" background checks are based on many sources, from state-wide records of corrections and court records to police records that generally come from local or metropolitan law enforcement agencies. There are other databases that perform criminal searches, like repository systems across the state and National crime files. One of the most popular criminal searches used for employers outsourcing their work are the local criminal database. [28]

Social media

Employers may make use of social media to conduct an background check on an applicant. Employers can check applicants' Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn accounts to determine how they behave in the outside world. U.S. employers are legally prohibited from considering any information they find about the marital status of a person and sexual orientation, religious beliefs or political beliefs in deciding to hire or deny the candidate. [29] Some companies offer Media Mentions Reports collected from open sources like Social Media public accounts.

Checks for character reference

Employers are able to conduct investigations into past employment to confirm details about the position and pay. Further thorough checks may involve interviews with anyone who knows or was previously acquainted with the applicant such as friends, teachers’ neighbors, coworkers, and family members. However, the extensive heresy say investigation in background checks could expose businesses to legal action. References to personal and employment verifications are advancing towards standardization by most companies, in order to avoid costly lawsuits. They usually range from verbal confirmations of work and timespan to more in-depth discussions on achievements, performance, and activities and relationships with other people. Past experiences and organizations that provided the information are also analyzed and checked on to identify fraudulent activities. [30]

Identification and address verification

Assertions of citizenship status or concealing the "past time". Background screening companies typically conduct the Social Security trace to determine the place where a person applying for employment has resided. The hiring of workers who are not legally documented is a growing concern for American firms since the establishment of Department of Homeland Security and its Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) division. Immigration arrests forced companies think about including legal conditions as part their screening procedures. Employers are all obliged to keep the government-issued Form I-9 records on all employees . Some states require the use of the E-Verify federal program in order to investigate the condition that is associated with Social Security numbers. As a result of increased concerns about right-to work issues, a number of outsourcing companies are popping up in the market to assist in the automation and storage of Form I-9 documents. [31]

Credit check

Credit checks are required to determine whether applicants are eligible to jobs that require financial records or require lots of cash. [32] For instance, in the US state of Illinois employers can look up a person's credit history however, just the rating is deemed good. [33] Individuals also have to give their consent for employers to obtain the credit report. Credit reports for pre-employment do not contain the credit score. The credit report for pre-employment will appear on a person's credit report as a "soft request" and will not impact the credit score of the individual. [34]


Background checks and drug tests to get a job are highly controversial procedures. As per the Privacy Rights Clearinghouse, a initiative by the Utility Consumers Action Network (UCAN): "While some people do not care about background checks, some are apprehensive of investigators looking into their personal records. A thorough search could reveal details that are irrelevant or outdated or distorted or simply inaccurate. Another concern is the possibility that the report may contain data that is unlawful to use for recruitment purposes or comes from unreliable sources."

The incident occurred in May of 2002. fraudulent post-hire checks made through Northwest Airlines were the subject of a civil suit between Northwest as well as 10,000 mechanics of the company.

In the event of an arrest that didn't result in a conviction, job checks are allowed to continue along with records of the incident for as long as seven years, according to SS 605 in the Fair Credit Reporting Act:

Except as permitted under section (b) in this subsection, no consumer report agency can issue a consumer report that includes. . . Civil lawsuits, civil judgments and arrest records which, from the when they were entered, predate reports by seven or more years, or till the applicable limitation period expires, whichever is the longer time.

Subsection (b) permits an exemption if the report is related with "the work of any person with an annual salary that is equal to, or that could reasonably be expected to be $75,000 or greater". [35]

Some ideas to minimize the potential damage to innocent applicants are:

  • The applicant should be provided with an original copy of the report prior to the time it is distributed to the employer so that any mistakes could be rectified prior to submission and
  • Permitting only records of conviction (not arrest) records to be not reported.

In Michigan check-ins for criminal checks have been in the news in a recent incident in which a shooter was capable of passing the FBI check to buy an assault weapon even though he had not passed the test for an official handgun license from the state. According to the spokesman for the department of police in the area

The Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence has expressed displeasure with the federal policy that does not recognize constitutional rights as a result of the criminal background check only when the subject is charged with committing an offense.

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  • Sex Offender Search

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  • Nationwide Criminal Search
  • Education Verification
  • Employment Verification
  • Sex Offender Search

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