Posts By: Michael Gaul

Frequently Asked Questions about Background Checks

Both employers and employees have questions about how background checks work, and how the law regulates them. It’s not always easy to get clear answers because there are so many agencies and stakeholders involved. A good place to start in understanding background checks is to know how the Federal Trade Commission’s and Consumer Financial Protection… Read more »

EEOC and FTC Publish Guides on Using Employment Background Checks

Some time ago, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) and Federal Trade Commission (FTC) announced the publication of “joint tips” on using background checks in hiring. One of the two co-published guides is for employers, titled Background Checks: What Employers Need to Know. The other is for job applicants and employees: Background Checks: What Job… Read more »

Do Employment Credit Checks Deserve the Bad Rap?

Reason suggests that using credit history to help make better employment decisions is a worthwhile idea in some cases. You probably don’t want to hire bank tellers with significant personal financial issues or CFOs with sizable judgments against them. Yet in the aftermath of the recent deep recession, we see continuing arguments and discussion about… Read more »

The Value of a Quality Employment Background Check

Since 9/11 the number of background checks performed on job applicants and employees has ballooned, for reasons ranging from heightened security concerns to legal mandates to conduct background checks. Coinciding with this, the amount of digital information available about individuals has increased many times over, and the Internet has given us easier access to it…. Read more »

4 Key Criteria for Evaluating an Applicant’s Criminal History

applicants criminal background

EEOC policy and the various Ban the Box statutes around the country share the common characteristic of requiring employers to adopt background screening procedures that are sensitive to individual-level circumstances. For example, the EEOC Guidance, which is important because Federal law pre-empts state and local statutes regarding discrimination, recommends using a so called, individualized assessment… Read more »

How to Hire a Felon

Giving ex-offenders who have served their sentence a fair chance at re-entering the workforce is a social goal many people can support. The problem is, employers have other, often competing goals such as maintaining a competitive advantage in their marketplace, improving productivity, minimizing their human capital risk, and avoiding a negligent hiring lawsuit. The EEOC… Read more »

Which National Criminal Database are You Referring to?

Employers—and people in general—want to minimize the time and expense of doing almost anything. And that includes conducting criminal background checks on job applicants. This cost motive opens the door for some vendors to promote quick access to all types of online information, leading to presumptively comprehensive background reports. For a relatively modest fee, you… Read more »

Clean Today, But What About Tomorrow? The Case for Re-Screening

A large majority of employers today use some type of background screening to assist in making employment decisions. Perhaps too often, we talk about this in the context of hiring. But the complete picture of ‘employment’ decisions includes the ones you make about your current employees, even if you don’t think of them in the… Read more »

The Employer’s Dilemma: Job Applicants with Criminal Records [Infographic]

According to National Employment Law Project (NELP), more than 1 in 4 U.S. adults have a criminal record. As an employer, this means you have a very high chance of encountering applicants and employees whose past you may need to consider in making an employment-related decision. The dilemma is significant: On one hand, the EEOC… Read more »

FTC to Employers: The FCRA Covers Employment Screening

Two recent settlements announced by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) drive home the point and serve as an important reminder that employment background screening is subject to the federal Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA). You, as an employer, should understand how the FCRA relates to your employment screening program and ensure that your consumer reporting… Read more »