Do you know the background check rules in your state?


Do you know the background check rules in your state?

You’ve probably noticed by now.

Not all background checks are created equal. Background check laws vary widely, too.

Yes, federal laws govern hiring and background checks. But plenty of states add their own take. State rules can include well-known laws like “Ban the Box,” or salary history bans. But often states have other unique variations. These laws tackle transgender rights, genetic discrimination, and plenty of other matters.

Here are a few examples from around the country.

Screening for drug use? In Maine, if your company plans to use any type of drug screening, you’ll need a drug screening policy. Not surprising, right? But according to their state laws, companies must also get their drug screening policy reviewed by the state’s Department of Labor first before any testing can happen.

Screening for criminal convictions? Under Section 605 of the federal Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA), a consumer reporting agency (CRA) can report records of arrest and charges for a period of seven years and conviction records indefinitely. But in more than one state, the reporting of criminal convictions has been limited to seven years as well. And in New York state? Criminal convictions can only be reported by a CRA for a period of seven years unless the position sought has a compensation higher than the specific statutory threshold, in which case the seven-year limitation does not apply. Another collection of states have developed laws that are in line with the EEOC Guidance on the Consideration of Arrest and Conviction Records in Employment Decisions Under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, as amended, 42 U.S.C. § 2000e et seq. that require employers to show impact when considering criminal convictions. How does their conviction relate to a particular job? If it doesn’t impact their ability to perform the job duties, employers aren’t allowed to consider it.

Considering a credit check? Give your state laws a double-check. At least 11 different states have passed laws limiting the use of credit checks in hiring. Experts predict more states will restrict the use of credit checks. At the federal level, the House Committee on Financial Services on July 11 passed legislation that would prohibit employers from using credit reports for employment decisions, except when required by law or for a national security clearance. The bill would also prohibit hiring managers from asking questions about candidates’ financial past during job interviews or including questions about credit history on job applications. The bottom line: know exactly what information you need for the job and exactly what information your state allows.

Screening on social media? Vermont OK’d a social media rule saying employees or candidates can’t be forced to share their social media stats. And they’re not the only state with these type of rules. Social media screening can be tough. That’s why ClearStar offers an FCRA-compliant option for social media screening.

Don’t go it alone! Get a professional partner in screening. Contact ClearStar today.


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