Any personnel or employment records you make or keep including all application forms, regardless of whether the applicant was hired, and other records related to hiring must be preserved for one year after the records were made, or after a personnel action was taken, whichever comes later. The EEOC extends this requirement to two years for educational institutions and for state and local governments. If the applicant or employee files a charge of discrimination, you must maintain the records until the case is concluded.
Once you've satisfied all applicable recordkeeping requirements, you may dispose of any background reports you received. However, the law requires that you dispose of the reports - and any information gathered from them - securely. That can include burning, pulverizing, or shredding paper documents and disposing of electronic information so that it can't be read or reconstructed.
For more information, see "Disposing of Consumer Report Information? To find out more about federal antidiscrimination laws, visit www. The EEOC is responsible for enforcing federal laws that make it illegal to discriminate against a job applicant or an employee because of the person's race, color, religion, sex including pregnancy , national origin, age 40 or older , disability, or genetic information.
The EEOC investigates, conciliates, and mediates charges of employment discrimination, and also files lawsuits in the public interest. For specific information on:.
To find out more about federal laws relating to background reports, visit www. For specific information on employment background reports, see:. The FTC works to prevent fraudulent, deceptive, and unfair business practices in the marketplace and to provide information to businesses to help them comply with the law. Skip top navigation Skip to content. Background Checks What Employers Need to Know A joint publication of the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and the Federal Trade Commission When making personnel decisions - including hiring, retention, promotion, and reassignment - employers sometimes want to consider the backgrounds of applicants and employees.
FTC If you get background information for example, a credit or criminal background report from a company in the business of compiling background information , there are additional procedures the FCRA requires beforehand: Tell the applicant or employee you might use the information for decisions about his or her employment. This notice must be in writing and in a stand-alone format.
The notice can't be in an employment application. You can include some minor additional information in the notice like a brief description of the nature of consumer reports , but only if it doesn't confuse or detract from the notice. If you are asking a company to provide an "investigative report" - a report based on personal interviews concerning a person's character, general reputation, personal characteristics, and lifestyle - you must also tell the applicant or employee of his or her right to a description of the nature and scope of the investigation.
Get the applicant's or employee's written permission to do the background check.
This can be part of the document you use to notify the person that you will get the report. If you want the authorization to allow you to get background reports throughout the person's employment, make sure you say so clearly and conspicuously. Certify to the company from which you are getting the report that you: notified the applicant and got their permission to get a background report; complied with all of the FCRA requirements; and won't discriminate against the applicant or employee, or otherwise misuse the information in violation of federal or state equal opportunity laws or regulations.
Using Background Information EEOC Any background information you receive from any source must not be used to discriminate in violation of federal law.
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This means that you should: Apply the same standards to everyone, regardless of their race, national origin, color, sex, religion, disability, genetic information including family medical history , or age 40 or older. For example, if you don't reject applicants of one ethnicity with certain financial histories or criminal records, you can't reject applicants of other ethnicities because they have the same or similar financial histories or criminal records.
Take special care when basing employment decisions on background problems that may be more common among people of a certain race, color, national origin, sex, or religion; among people who have a disability; or among people age 40 or older.
What Does a Federal Employment Background Check Look Like?
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