Background Check Laws and Policy

Background Checks is a process wherein information about a particular individual is verified or authenticated by a higher authority. This is usually done on prospective employees vying for a position in a company. The company or organization conducts a criminal record search to be assured that whatever information the employee presents is the truth, and not an exaggerated or falsified version of it.

While this is helpful for many companies to determine the suitability of a person for a particular position, critics have said that criminal searches may also erode a person’s privacy. A check may cover a person’s history, from his criminal records, to his previous employment, to his financial and even medical records. It also checks for names, addresses, telephone numbers of family, friends and neighbors. A background search may yield very personal, private details of a person’s life which may or may not reflect on his current disposition. For example, a person may have committed some indiscretions in his youth but has already served time for it. Such records may tarnish an otherwise good reputation.

That is the reason why there are laws which can help protect the individual. Although there are many policies, there are really no one, all-encompassing Federal laws. The closest that comes to it are the provisions in the Fair Credit Reporting Act which have established standards of accuracy and privacy for credit checks which are an important part of a background search. The Federal Bankruptcy Act also provides certain guidelines that may take the place of Federal background check laws.

The Federal Bankruptcy Act provides protection for employees because it states that it is illegal for employers to be biased against prospective employees because of bad financial status or bankruptcy. Other federal laws also state that employers can’t discriminate against minorities such as immigrants or disabled persons because of bad credit.