According to the Society for Human Resource Management, 73% of major employers perform background checks on applicant’s criminal record. Over half of major companies perform credit checks and with 14.6 million people looking for work, credit problems are unavoidable. Bankruptcies and foreclosures continue to rise and the employment background check is another serious concern for job-seekers.
Under the Fair Credit Reporting Act, the following cannot be reported:
Bankruptcies after 10 years
Civil suits, civil judgments and records of arrest for date of entry after 7 years
Accounts placed for collection after 7 years
Any other negative information(except criminal convictions) This depends on the state.
However, this does not apply to salaries that are an annual of $75,000 or more. And this does not apply if an employer performs a background check inhouse and, therefore, does not use an outside agency. Each state has a limit for reporting criminal offenses and some may be ten years such as Hawaii. Illinois is one of the more friendly when reporting criminal activity. Though, remember you may live in Illinois and interview at an office in Illinois but the corporate headquarters is in California. You may be hired in Illinois but working under California laws.
Unfortunately for many, a “catch 22” happens when completing an application and answering yes or no to a felony or misdemeanor charge. It is a judgment call to say yes to a felony that happened 15 years ago. Getting legal advice on this is a good idea before answering the question.
Under Federal law, if the employer uses the information from the consumer report for an “adverse action” that is denying the job applicant, terminating the employee, rescinding a job offer or promotion, it must take certain steps that are governed by the Federal Trade Commission. If an employer uses a third party background check company to perform the check, they must provide a copy of this to the job applicant.
However, where the FCRA drops the ball is that if the check was performed by the employer alone, many companies will tell the applicant that due to a huge pool of applicants the hiring decision was based on a more qualified individual. In this same case, the employer is not required to give the applicant a copy of his background check results.
Many have wondered how DUI convictions play into getting a job. Recent convictions can be a problem if you have not taken the necessary steps to follow a rehabilitation plan and have paid current fines. However, the older the DUI, the better, especially after 7 years. They do not hold as much influence as they have in the past. According to statistics, one out of every four drivers currently receives a DUI. If you have one, you are not alone among the job seekers.
Many ask why credit reports are performed even though the job may have nothing to do with handling your money. Employers see this in another light than the job seeker. The credit report shows your credit paying history and those in hiring positions look at this as a way to gage how responsible one may be.
No, it is not fair if your credit is poor because you lost your job and several states are adopting strict laws for companies to only analyze past credit if the job requires working with money. Many employers will take into account the loss of employment as to why your credit is not where it could be if your are honest because, again, you do have the right to respond to the decision.
You can acquire a copy of your credit report and check various online sites to see what is reported. Make sure your My Space, Facebook, and other social networking sites are spotless when job-seeking and after you start working. Employers are known to check those sites all the time with new hires and even veteran employees.
A less than shining background can be a problem depending on the job and company. Is a background check a form of discrimination? You better believe it is! The employers are firmly planted in the driver’s seat today since they have the advantage of receiving thousands of resumes per day to choose from.
Have companies gone to far with background checks? Yes, and the EEOC has been clamping down on those companies who have shown discrimination for age, blacks and Hispanics.
Contact an employment attorney with questions about your background and the EEOC who can offer suggestions during your job search. ChicagoEmploymentLawyer.net is great place to start if you need assistance.