What is Covered in a Background Check?

A background check doesn’t just show past criminal history. The process delves much deeper and covers not only criminal records, but also education, employment history, and even civil suits. This process assists employers in the hiring process by helping them narrow down the best candidate fit for the job. However, this does not mean that an employer can run all your information. Remember that there are limits to how much an employer can use to make their final hiring decision.

How Much the Job Makes Matters

Depending on the salary of the job, certain information cannot be reported under the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) guidelines. According to the FCRA, if the job being offered makes a salary less than $75,000 annually, the following cannot be reported:

  • Bankruptcies after 10 years.
  • Tax liens seven years after payment.
  • Accounts in collection after seven years.
  • Civil suits after seven years.
  • Civil judgments after seven years.

In the state of California, criminal history seven years or older cannot be reported. As such, if an employer uses older criminal history that breaks the seven-year rule, they are doing so illegally.

Get Permission to Run Background Check

Employers are required by the FCRA to obtain permission from potential candidates to run a background check. Employers may ask for permission in writing and candidates will be required to sign an authorization and disclosure form. Information required to run a background check include the full name of the candidate, their full date of birth, and a Social Security number. Some employers may choose to run the background check themselves while others may choose to use an FCRA-approved company. Also known as consumer reporting agencies, these companies follow the same guidelines set by the FCRA to run background checks. Employers can then make hiring decisions based on the information gathered from the background check. If the employer chooses to not hire the candidate based on the background check, the employer is required to share the results and notify the candidate of their decision.

If you suspect an employer ran an illegal background check on you or were not hired based on your background check but were not informed, reach out to the experienced lawyers at CounselOne. At CounselOne, our experience and expertise in employment law and consumer class actions ensure that your case will always be in good hands.

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