A background check is defined as one or a combination of reports collected about individuals for an employment purpose. It may include a credit history, criminal records, driving records, past employment, education, references, professional licenses, military service, social security number, substance abuse records, workers' compensation, and other records.
Other terms used to refer to background checks include reference checking and employee screening. Often a job application, resume, or interview does not tell an employer all the necessary information relevant to employment eligibility. In fact, some candidates falsify or exaggerate items on their resume or job application. That’s where background checks can be used as a revealing tool for more, and often more accurate, employment eligibility information. Also, background checks are not always an option, but a requirement for certain positions. Examples include school bus and commercial motor vehicle drivers, law enforcement and security officers, childcare workers, patient care workers, teachers, and financial institution workers.
Another reason to perform a background check is to avoid liability for negligent hiring. In some situations, employers may be liable for serious actions an employee takes at work if the employer was negligent in hiring that employee. Employers may be liable for actions an employee takes at work if it can be shown that the employer was negligent in hiring or retaining that employee. Employers should take serious threats and harassment that occur within the workplace and adequately respond to employees’ complaints and warnings about potentially dangerous employees. Background checks may reduce the likelihood of hiring violent employees and reduce the company’s exposure. A background check may help demonstrate that the employer did not act negligently if the check provided no reason for concern.
Before performing a background check, the employer will want to understand all the state and federal laws and regulations related to background checks. One very important law is the Fair Credit Reporting Act. This topic is covered in more detail in the Fair Credit Reporting Act. Basically, this act protects prospective employees, existing employees, and other individuals by requiring employers to follow certain steps, including obtaining the individual’s written consent when obtaining a consumer report from a consumer reporting agency. There are some exemptions when investigating employee misconduct.