The EEOC and FTC: Tips on Use of Employment Background Checks

What is included in the two documents co-published by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) and the U.S. Federal Trade Commission (FTC), offers assistance to employers, job applicants and employees.

For Employers

The document titled Background Checks: What Employers Need to Know is available on the EEOC website. The document addresses what to do prior to getting background information, using background information, disposing of background information, and resources for additional information.

Employers need written permission from a job applicant prior to getting background reports, including from companies who are in the business of compiling background information. When requesting background information it is illegal to discriminate based on a person's race, color, national origin, sex, religion, age, disability or genetic information.

For Job Applicants and Employees

The document titled Background Checks: What Job Applicants and Employees Should Know. This document is also available on the EEOC website. The document offers recommendations for answering questions that may be asked about an employee's or applicant's background, what is included on a background report, what to do if an employer finds something negative in the background report, and where to go for help.

As long as employers don't unlawfully discriminate, job applicants need to know that it is not illegal for potential employers to ask about their background. If a prospective applicant is turned down for a job or denied a promotion based on a background report, they have the right to review the report for accuracy.

Additional questions

It is important for health care and business professionals alike to be familiar with both documents. Both documents offer important information that can be accessed by visiting the EEOC website:

If you have any additional questions, or need assistance with background checks, please do not hesitate to contact one of our professional consultants.