WASHINGTON — The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) have co-published two short guides on employment background checks that explain the rights and responsibilities of the employer and the job applicant during the application process, the FTC reports.
“The FTC is pleased to work with the EEOC to help ensure that employers and potential employees have a solid understanding of their rights and responsibilities,” says Jessica Rich, director of the FTC’s Bureau of Consumer Protection.
The organizations stress that employers need written permission from job applicants before getting background reports about them from background check companies, and that it is illegal to discriminate based on a person’s race, national origin, sex, religion, disability or age (40 or older) when requesting or using background information for employment.
The FTC and EEOC also stress to job applicants that it is not illegal for a potential employer to request a background check, so long as the employer does not unlawfully discriminate, and that job applicants have the right to review the background check report for accuracy in the event that they were turned down for a job or denied promotion based on information detailed in the report.
The FTC enforces the Fair Credit Reporting Act, which protects the privacy and accuracy of the information in credit reports. The EEOC enforces laws against employment discrimination.
Guidelines for employers can be found at www.business.ftc.gov/documents/0487-background-checks-what-employers-need-know.
Guidelines for job applicants and employees can be found at http://www.consumer.ftc.gov/articles/0488-background-checks-what-job-applicants-and-employees-should-know.