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Are Background Checks An Invasion Of Privacy?

Background checks are indispensable to employers today, but job applicants still have concerns about them. More specifically, some people feel they’re nothing more than an invasion of privacy. Companies, on the other hand, are responsible for verifying information provided by the applicant. What’s more, they’re legally obligated to ensure the workplace is safe for everyone. 

By partnering with a reputable screening service like check people, you can strike a balance between compliance and responsibility. After all, the past isn’t always the past. It shapes a candidate’s character irrespective of whether it includes a criminal record. It’s hardly a surprise that an employer will be reluctant to hire a candidate with one. Employers face legal consequences for poor hiring decisions.

Background Checks and the Law 

Background checks affect one’s privacy by their very definition. Delving into someone’s past always affects private matters. However, background checks do not actually violate privacy. Employers are obligated by law to provide full disclosure that your past will be investigated. They have to ask you to sign a release form permitting the check. 

By law, the disclosure statement and the release form must be fully separate from the application form. This will make sure the candidate is completely aware of what they’re being asked to do, which is waiving their right to privacy with respect to the screening. 

Companies cannot reject applicants over things like political and religious beliefs. They have to observe the provisions of the FCRA for pre-employment screening. They must take specific measures to inform an applicant if the results of the check lead to rejection or another employment decision that isn’t in their favor. 

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Companies that follow the FCRA in its entirety will not face legal ramifications for rejecting someone based on background check results. Since the FCRA is a complex law, it may be necessary to consult an attorney or another legal expert. 

When Does a Candidate put the Company at Risk? 

In some cases, people with a criminal history can pose a certain threat. An obvious example is someone with drug issues applying for a position that involves access to prescription medication. A person with a history of financial crimes would not be suitable for a job in finance. Recruiters need to know about people’s past in these and other situations. 

It’s also true that a criminal history should not disqualify a candidate automatically. Many people who have committed a crime deserve a second chance. After all, they need a job to survive. It is of paramount importance to weigh the crime against the person’s ability to carry out their tasks in a safe and satisfactory manner.

Background checks typically go beyond identity verification and criminal history. They are often requested to verify an applicant’s employment and education history. It is crucial to know whether the information someone has listed in their cover letter or resume is accurate. An employer also needs to know whether the skills someone has listed are valid, be they part of training or a formal degree. It is unfair and potentially risky to hire someone with an exaggerated or outright made-up set of skills.

Are Background Checks Ever Illegal? 

Background checks that don’t comply with the FCRA are illegal, but not only those. Social media screening is something of a grey area. Much of what people post on social networks is private, which is why the idea of social media screening is challenged so forcefully. Likewise, certain legislative movements have limited companies’ rights to run background checks. For example, ban the box legislation has affected statutes in many counties, districts, and states. These laws are expected to start applying to federal employees in the near future. 

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