Answer: Yes, if the background check is conducted by a third-party agency on behalf of the employer. The employer must obtain your consent in writing before the background check is performed.
Explore This IssueJuly 2013
Q: Can an employer check your credit as a condition of employment?
A: Yes, but the credit report won’t include a credit score. It will include information about credit payment history and other credit habits. It should be noted that many human resources professionals are reluctant to do credit reports unless it is relevant to the job. Some states have restrictions.
Q: Will background checks include old criminal convictions or arrest records?
A: Criminal convictions can be reported indefinitely under federal law. The state you live in might offer more protection. The Fair Credit Reporting Act does not allow screening agencies to report an arrest that happened more than seven years ago. However, the rule doesn’t apply to jobs paying $75,000 or more.
Q: Can a background check include medical information?
A: Medical information requires your written consent and must be relevant to employment.
Q: Are you entitled to a copy of your background check?
A: Yes. When an employer informs you that a background check will be done, ask for the name of the screening agency. Contact the company and request a free copy of the report.
Q: What can you do if the information in the background check is erroneous?
A: Submit a written dispute with the company that conducted the screening. The company must investigate your claim and provide you with written results of what they find. Also, take steps to fix the inaccuracy at the source (i.e., court or credit issuer) so the same incorrect information doesn’t surface if another agency conducts a check.
Sources: Fair Credit Reporting Act, Privacy Rights Clearinghouse, Employment Screening Resources, Cogent Healthcare