Employer Background Checks

Ever since 9-11, and a growing phenomenon of workplace violence, demand for criminal background checks and security checks in the workplace is greater than ever. Companies are hiring investigation firms in record numbers for employers background checks and security checks on job seekers and employees. This is also the case for job positions where such a high level of security never used to be all that important. A growing number of employers are requiring security clearances for many high-tech jobs that have nothing to do with national defense such as computer programmers. employers background checks are required by Federal or State law for jobs working with children, security, law enforcement, public utilities, the nuclear industry, and US dept of defense contractors just to name a few.

Employers who do require security clearances will usually run a criminal background check on the job applicant’s wife or husband. This is customary in security clearances. They will often unfortunately reject hiring somebody simply due to the fact the spouse has a felony conviction, no matter how squeaky clean the job seeker’s record may be. This latest phenomenon can effect people seeking work that has nothing to do with the US Dept of Defense or defense contractors. Indeed your choice of spouse you decide to marry can determine your employability. In one real life example in Florida, a 55-year old out-of-work computer programmer married somebody who was under indictment and later convicted of Threatening to hoax a weapons of mass destruction (a 2nd Degree Felony), allegedly sending fake Anthrax powder (foot powder) through the US Mail to her local water dept. She served some time in jail. He has since been declined for one programming job after another. A dishonorable discharge from the US Military will always kill any chances of getting a security clearance anywhere, or Federal employment, and besides that will likely make it next to impossible to get a decent job.

In employers background checks, the following are offlimits:

  • Lawsuits
  • Judgments beyond 7 years.
  • paid tax liens or collections after 7 years.
  • bankruptcies older than 10 years.
  • All other information except for criminal convictions over 7 years ago.

Employers are prohibited by law from requiring their job applicants to produce copies of their own criminal records, but they can legally acquire it from other sources such as private detective agencies or the same public records that are open to anyone off the street. Contrary to popular opinion, criminal rap sheets are not open to the public as public records in all states, notably California. There it is open only to special employers where background checks are required by law such as jobs working with children, public utilities, law enforcement, and Dept of Defense contractors.

Driving records

A growing number of employers are checking people’s driving records, primarily for DUIs. A drunk driving conviction will most likely have disasterous consequences.

Credit checks

More and more employers are including credit checks on job seekers under the employers background check “umbrella,” including jobs that have nothing to do with finance. Many companies regard a person’s credit to a good judge of character. Somebody with a history of non-payment of bills, collections, bank repossessions, or deliquencies may not be a responsible employee, especially if the job involves handling money or accounting. Employers must adhire to strict laws regarding what they can and cannot check. The employee’s or applicant’s written consent is required under the Fair Credit Reporting Act, FCRA (15 U.S.C. §1681). A the standard credit check we are all familar with comes from the 3 credit bureaus: Equifax, Experion, and Transunion, and only shows somebody’s credit worthiness, credit habits, and credit capacity. An “investigative consumer report” is far more intrusive and goes into a person’s character, mode of living, reputation, etc. Here they will usually contact associates, even neighbors or friends to inquire as to their character. Immediately following a decision to not hire based on credit report, a copy of the credit report must be given to the employee, or job seeker. While a current employee cannot be disciplined or fired for filing bankruptcy, they can refuse to hire somebody because of one.

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