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Background Checks
National Summary
With an increase in negligent hiring, retention, and defamation lawsuits; spiraling recruitment and training costs; and an upsurge in workplace violence and theft, employers are under pressure to conduct comprehensive background checks and investigations to find out as much as they can about potential employees. Job applicants have been known to exaggerate or even lie on a job application or résumé, or in a job interview, which further highlights the need for employers to investigate the backgrounds of potential employees and confirm application data. In an effort to appropriately balance an employer's “need to know” with an employee's privacy and equal employment opportunity rights, many federal and state laws regulate the type and amount of information employers may obtain about a job applicant or employee. Before conducting background investigations, employers must be fully aware of each law's requirements and tailor their employment practices accordingly or face the consequences, including the risk of stiff financial penalties and class action litigation.
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