9 Facts About Employment Background Checks

Does your employer require a background check during the hiring process or when deciding whether or not to renew employee contracts? If so, know your rights and nine facts about employment background checks. 

1. Employers can request a variety of information. Your employment history, criminal record, education, financial history or social media usage is all fair game during employment interviews. Refusing to answer questions could prevent you from being hired.

2. Potential employers cannot request medical information during interviews. They may ask certain questions about your medical history after they hire you, though. 

3. Most employers cannot request genetic information, including your family medical history. This information is private except in limited circumstances.

4. Employers may not discriminate against you based on your background, which includes your nationality, race, gender, religion, age, disability or medical history. Additionally, employers may not ask you different interview questions or fire you based on these factors. 

5. Employers can hire someone to do background checks for them. In these cases, they must get your permission in writing first and must give you a copy of the report if information in it prevents them from hiring or retaining you. 

6. You can contact a background reporting agency to correct mistakes and forward a corrected report to the employer. 

7. You can refute negative information in a background report. For example, you can provide documentation to a potential employer that shows you can do a job despite a disability or criminal record. 

8. The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) enforces background reports that are required for employment. Contact them at www.ftc.gov or 1-877-382-4357 if an employer obtains your background report but does not get your permission first. 

9. The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) regulates employment discrimination. Contact this agency at www.eeoc.gov or 800-669-4000 if your employer asks unauthorized questions or does not hire or retain you because of your age, gender, nationality, race, disability or medical history. 

Now that you know 9 facts about background checks, you're prepared for your next job interview or employment review. Use the information to protect yourself from unlawful background checks. 

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