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New Background Check Guidance

EEOC AND FTC OFFER TIPS ON EMPLOYER BACKGROUND CHECKS:

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) has asserted it has jurisdiction over background checks because inquiries about criminal and credit history allegedly can have a disparate impact on persons in minority groups. The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has jurisdiction over this issue due to the Fair Credit Reporting Act. The two agencies with authority over employer background checks recently issued a new joint guidance for employers on how to legally conduct such background checks. The EEOC’s press release announcing the new guidance noted, “The agencies emphasize that employers need written permission from job applicants before getting background reports about them from companies in the business of compiling background information. Furthermore, they reaffirm that it is illegal to discriminate based on a person’s race, color, national origin, sex, religion, age (40 or older), disability, or genetic information, including family medical history, when requesting or using background information for employment, regardless of where the information was obtained. At the same time, the agencies want job applicants to know that it is not illegal for potential employers to ask about their background, as long as the employer does not unlawfully discriminate. However, when people are turned down for a job or denied a promotion based on information in their background reports, they have the right to review the reports for accuracy.” In other documents, the EEOC has emphasized that the background information to be obtained must plainly and clearly be relevant to the job at issue. For example, a DUI may be relevant for someone who drives a van as part of his job, but not for someone who is a custodian and not required to drive. You can read the full press release and find a link to the two new guidances here: http://www.eeoc.gov/eeoc/newsroom/release/3-10-14.cfm.

 

Disclosure: These updates are merely updates and are not intended to be legal advice. Receipt of this information does not create an attorney-client relationship.


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