What should people know about employment background checks?

Learn what is legal when it comes to employment background checks. Find out how a background check could be discrimination.

When a person applies for a job in Texas, it is very likely one of the conditions of employment is undergoing a background check. Employers may conduct many types of investigations during a background check. The most common is checking into a person's criminal history. Regardless of what information the employer looks at, there are some strict laws about how the employer can conduct and use information from an employment check.

The basics

In general, an employer will use a background check to look into a potential employee's past. Most commonly, according to the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, employers look at that person's education, work history and criminal history. Some employers may also look at financial history and check social media accounts.

An employer can practically check into any aspect of a person's history with a couple of exceptions. Discrimination laws make it illegal to look into genetic or medical information during the course of an employment background check.

More about discrimination

Employment background checks are often breeding grounds for discrimination. There are additional laws and rules about what can and cannot happen during such a background check. The main rule is a background check cannot be used to discriminate. If an employer conducts a check on one potential employee, then it must do the same for every potential employee. All employees or potential employees require equal treatment to avoid discrimination.

A background check also cannot lead to decisions that affect only protected classes. An employer cannot have a blanket policy. For example, according to the Federal Trade Commission, an employer cannot say it will not hire anyone convicted of a felony or tell applicants not to apply if they have a criminal record as it could create an unfair situation for certain protected classes. Every case must be determined on its own merit.

Employers must also make exceptions from time to time. If something in a person's background occurred due to a disability, the employer should be willing to get the details and give the benefit of the doubt about the situation.

It is important to note that the FTC and EEOC will assist anyone who feels discrimination occurred during an employment background check. Every person has the right to know what information was in the investigation and get a report of the information if it negatively affected the employer's decision. If you are having an issue regarding an employment background check, considering contacting an attorney, such as the Devadoss Law Firm, P.L.L.C.