I just read an interesting article in the online version of “The Tennessean,” written by Reid Estes. (As one might surmise, Mr. Estes is a labor and employment law attorney). The title of the article is “Background checks plant legal minefield for employers.” It seems to me that I read a similar headline about background checks and minefields nearly 30 years ago.
Here’s a dab more of what he wrote: “Official background checks are commonplace in employers’ hiring processes, but they’re also the foundation of a growing wave of class action lawsuits. Kmart, Domino’s Pizza, and Home Depot are among many household-name companies that recently resolved lawsuits related to background screenings with others, like Dollar Tree Stores, Inc., and Hertz, currently facing class action cases.
“While it may be valid or necessary for an employer to consider a person’s past, companies must always adhere to the requirements of the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA). Although most employers have probably never thought about the FCRA, as some are now learning the hard way, failure to comply with the FCRA can often result in hefty class action awards or settlements.”
I suspect that far more employers than Mr. Estes suggests are fully aware of the need to follow the rules set out in the Fair Credit Reporting Act. Nevertheless, Mr. Estes suggests that being transparent with prospective employees about their background checking policies is a good approach to take. Really? Maybe I’ve been in the pre-employment business too long, but it seems obvious to me that following the rules in the Fair Credit Reporting Act is the thing for every employer to do. Why not be transparent about it? There’s nothing secret about doing a thorough background and reference check on candidates for employment. Frankly, most job-seekers expect it!
On the off chance that a new visitor to our website doesn’t know that there are rules to be followed when conducting a background check on a job applicant, consider giving us a call – we know exactly how it’s done.