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What Does an Employment Background Check Entail?

May 20

Are you curious about what an employee background check entails and when employers do them? Many employers run background checks on potential employees. Some employers do background checks after hiring a new employee.


What is a background check on an employee?


A commercial, criminal, employment, and/or financial background check examines a person's commercial, criminal, employment, and/or financial records. The Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) limits what and how employers can investigate someone's background when they use a third party to do it. 


The Fair Credit Data Act (FCRA) is a federal law that establishes guidelines for how consumer reporting is utilized in many contexts, including employment. Take note that Learning your rights is the greatest way to prepare for an employment background check.


Find out what a background check allows employers to look into when they must notify you, and what they must discuss with you.

The Background Investigation Process


Before performing a background check on you, an employer must notify you in writing and receive your written consent.

If the employer is conducting their own investigation (rather than receiving a report from another agency), they are not required to obtain your consent. For example, they don't require your permission to call your former employment. They only have to notify you if they use a third-party employment screening company.


A copy of the consumer report is given, as well as an explanation of your rights. They must then give you an "adverse action notice" explaining why you were not hired and providing contact information for the employment screening company they used. You'll also learn about your right to appeal the report.


Note: An employer must present you with a "pre-adverse action disclosure" if they decline to hire you or retract a job offer because of a consumer report.


Employers Can Look At


A background check could include anything from a simple check of your social security number to a detailed investigation of your past. An employer may look into a person's job history, credit, driving records, criminal records, car registration, court records, compensation, bankruptcy, health records, references, private ownership, drug test results, military records, and information about sex offenders, among other things.

Note: Employers may also do a background check, which may include interviewing personal acquaintances such as friends and neighbors.


The information people seek is frequently related to their work. It is appropriate for an employer to question your history of embezzlement or theft if you are hired to work in a bank, for example.


A background check's scope is governed by the employer, organization, and position. If you apply for a federal job that requires a high level of security clearance, for example, you will almost definitely face a thorough background check.


What Employers Aren't Able to Check


What information cannot be found in a background check? There are some things that can't be revealed under any circumstances. Bankruptcies after 10 years, civil suits and civil judgments after 7 years, arrest records after 7 years, settled tax liens after 7 years, and accounts filed for collection after 7 years are all included in this data. If the salary is $75,000 or more, however, these restrictions do not apply.

Records from school and the military


Employers can only look into particular records if you give them permission. School records, for example, are confidential and cannot be shared without the student's agreement. Military service records are also private and can only be disclosed in certain circumstances. The military, on the other hand, can release your identity, rank, income, assignments, and awards without your permission.




You cannot be fired because you filed for bankruptcy; nevertheless, because bankruptcies are public records, employers can easily access this information.


Criminal Records


Depending on the state, some background checks are also subject to different rules. For example, some jurisdictions make it illegal to ask about arrests or convictions that occurred more than a certain length of time ago. Others just take criminal records into account for particular employment.


Medical Files


Medical records are also confidential in many places. Employers, on the other hand, may not make employment decisions based on a candidate's disability. They may merely want to know if you're capable of doing a specific task.


Here at Whitesell Investigative Services, we know how to conduct a comprehensive background check that will give you the information you require to make an informed decision. Give us a call today to learn more about our services!