After you have been offered a job, you may be asked to undergo a background check, which is an investigation to learn about your experience, qualifications, and history. Many companies run basic background checks to verify your identity and the information on your application or resume. This usually includes calling references. Some potential employers go further to include checking credit history, criminal records, social media and blogs.
Whether an employer needs your consent depends on what information the employer wants and who will gather it. An employer must give you a stand-alone written disclosure notice and receive your stand-alone written authorization to check your credit report. Written consent is also required if an employer will have an outside agency conduct a check. Your written consent may be required before an employer can access other information like school transcripts or detailed military service information.
It is a good practice for employers to always ask applicants for permission before conducting a background check. This can help prevent claims that the employer violated an applicant’s privacy. It also gives an applicant the opportunity to identify and discuss any issues that may arise during a background check.
You do not have to consent to a background check, but the employer does not have to offer you a job if they have a legitimate reason for conducting the check and you do not consent.
If a potential employer is not going to hire an a applicant based upon a consumer credit check, the Fair Credit Reporting Act places strict requirements upon the employer, including allowing the applicant an opportunity to respond and dispute the report.
If you have questions about background checks, consult with an experienced employment law attorney.