Earlier, an employee in a company was hired based only on their resume, documents and references. These days, in addition to these, it is becoming increasingly important for an employer to conduct background checks upon employment of their employees.
The background checks for employment of people have become necessary due to various reasons. Some of these include:
· Since an employee will have access to a lot of confidential data that is vital for a company and the company runs the risk of the employee sharing the data with a competitor or using the data against the interests of the company, the employer would like to know the credibility of the person.
· Some companies deal with financial data about its customers. These companies would not want to hire a person with a criminal background as such a person may misuse the data against the interests of the company as well as its customers.
· The background checks for employment have been necessitated by the importance of security that has been heightened by acts of crime and terrorism in recent times.
· Any harm that is caused by an employee that hurts the company’s interests may make not only that particular employee liable to legal action it may also include action against the company.
The background checks for employment can be conducted by the employer themselves or can be undertaken through some accredited agencies that handle such jobs. If the check is conducted by the employer itself, the check is not limited by many guidelines of the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA).
There are many limitations to a background check if it is conducted by an external third party agency as per FCRA guidelines, unless the employee has signed a release allowing the agency to conduct the check. Therefore, if an employer is using an agency to conduct a background check for employment, they should ascertain that the agency is following state laws and federal laws as well as FCRA guidelines while performing the checks.
These background checks for employment utilize records, many of which are generated by governmental agencies and are public records. These may include records such as social security number, driving motor vehicle records, criminal records, court records, credit reports, sexual offender registers, etc.
The background checks may also make use of the internet and search popular social networking websites to check updates about the person and also ascertain an idea about the person’s views through the information provided by him/ her on these sites.
As per FCRA guidelines, the companies will not have access to certain information regarding the person such as education records, medical records, records regarding military service rendered, etc.