Except for certain restrictions related to medical and genetic information see below , it's not illegal for an employer to ask questions about an applicant's or employee's background, or to require a background check. However, any time you use an applicant's or employee's background information to make an employment decision, regardless of how you got the information, you must comply with federal laws that protect applicants and employees from discrimination.
That includes discrimination based on race, color, national origin, sex, or religion; disability; genetic information including family medical history ; and age 40 or older. In addition, when you run background checks through a company in the business of compiling background information, you must comply with the Fair Credit Reporting Act FCRA. This publication explains how to comply with both the federal nondiscrimination laws and the FCRA.
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It's also a good idea to review the laws of your state and municipality regarding background reports or information because some states and municipalities regulate the use of that information for employment purposes. In all cases, make sure that you're treating everyone equally. It's illegal to check the background of applicants and employees when that decision is based on a person's race, national origin, color, sex, religion, disability, genetic information including family medical history , or age 40 or older.
For example, asking only people of a certain race about their financial histories or criminal records is evidence of discrimination. Except in rare circumstances, don't try to get an applicant's or employee's genetic information, which includes family medical history. Even if you have that information, don't use it to make an employment decision.
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Don't ask any medical questions before a conditional job offer has been made. If the person has already started the job, don't ask medical questions unless you have objective evidence that he or she is unable to do the job or poses a safety risk because of a medical condition. If you get background information for example, a credit or criminal background report from a company in the business of compiling background information , there are additional procedures the FCRA requires beforehand:.
Any background information you receive from any source must not be used to discriminate in violation of federal law. This means that you should:.
When taking an adverse action for example, not hiring an applicant or firing an employee based on background information obtained through a company in the business of compiling background information, the FCRA has additional requirements:. By giving the person the notice in advance, the person has an opportunity to review the report and explain any negative information. Any personnel or employment records you make or keep including all application forms, regardless of whether the applicant was hired, and other records related to hiring must be preserved for one year after the records were made, or after a personnel action was taken, whichever comes later.
Any personnel or employment records you make or keep including all application forms, regardless of whether the applicant was hired, and other records related to hiring must be preserved for one year after the records were made, or after a personnel action was taken, whichever comes later.
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The EEOC extends this requirement to two years for educational institutions and for state and local governments. If the applicant or employee files a charge of discrimination, you must maintain the records until the case is concluded. Once you've satisfied all applicable recordkeeping requirements, you may dispose of any background reports you received.
However, the law requires that you dispose of the reports - and any information gathered from them - securely. That can include burning, pulverizing, or shredding paper documents and disposing of electronic information so that it can't be read or reconstructed.
For more information, see "Disposing of Consumer Report Information? To find out more about federal antidiscrimination laws, visit www. The EEOC is responsible for enforcing federal laws that make it illegal to discriminate against a job applicant or an employee because of the person's race, color, religion, sex including pregnancy , national origin, age 40 or older , disability, or genetic information.
The EEOC investigates, conciliates, and mediates charges of employment discrimination, and also files lawsuits in the public interest.
For specific information on:. To find out more about federal laws relating to background reports, visit www. For specific information on employment background reports, see:. The FTC works to prevent fraudulent, deceptive, and unfair business practices in the marketplace and to provide information to businesses to help them comply with the law.source
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Skip top navigation Skip to content. Background Checks What Employers Need to Know A joint publication of the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and the Federal Trade Commission When making personnel decisions - including hiring, retention, promotion, and reassignment - employers sometimes want to consider the backgrounds of applicants and employees.
FTC If you get background information for example, a credit or criminal background report from a company in the business of compiling background information , there are additional procedures the FCRA requires beforehand: Tell the applicant or employee you might use the information for decisions about his or her employment.
This notice must be in writing and in a stand-alone format.
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The notice can't be in an employment application. Joe Jr. In January, Mather told the Times she included Joe, now 42, in corporate paperwork because she listed family members as directors of her company. She stressed that Joe, released from prison last year and now a registered sex offender, was not involved with her business. Dawud Brown, 34, pleaded guilty in to two counts of felony check fraud but skipped out on his probation. He was listed as a fugitive when he became a director of Aspire Innovative Learning Inc.
Brown couldn't be reached for comment. Calls to his company's phone number during a two-week period were met with a busy signal. A company representative didn't respond to emails. We need to tighten it up," said T. Willard Fair, former chairman of the state Board of Education and an outspoken advocate for subsidized tutoring. We cannot give the impression that anything goes in this process.
After companies win state approval as tutoring contractors, there's little to stop them from ripping off school districts. Her success had nothing to do with quality tutoring, the investigators alleged in an arrest affidavit filed in Robinson has pleaded not guilty.
Her case is pending in Miami-Dade Circuit Court. Records kept by the Education Department and school districts across Florida chronicle widespread problems. But no regulator has examined those records to look for bad actors. A Times review of audits, contract documents and written complaints filed since found at least 40 cases statewide in which companies were accused of faking or altering enrollment forms or billing for tutoring that didn't happen. Only two of those cases led to criminal charges. In Broward County, employees of Touchdown Learning forged student signatures and filed invoices for students they never tutored, schools administrators charged.
In Hernando County last spring, JFK Tutoring sent its employees instructions to falsify attendance records and bill for lessons that never happened, the district said. In Miami-Dade County last year, one company faked enrollment forms that were supposed to be impossible to forge, tracking down the district's supplier of a special paper and hiring a designer to fake the district's logo, officials said.
In , in a spot check of five counties, including Hillsborough, the state Education Department flagged "invoice errors" made by 10 of 21 companies. Parents sometimes call to complain their child never was tutored, but they later change their story. Despite repeated problems, Florida school administrators say they often give tutoring companies the benefit of the doubt, treating billing errors as honest mistakes.
Districts also have struggled to police conflicts of interest. In Palm Beach County last year, an audit found that one in three teachers who tutored on the side was earning money from students in their own classrooms. That's a conflict, according to a opinion by the Florida Commission on Ethics, because it positions teachers to use a public job for private gain. In Miami-Dade County, tutoring companies have relied on teacher influence to drive enrollment, School Board member Raquel Regalado said. The businesses enlist the help of principals, who recruit their favorite teachers to work for the companies, Regalado said.
In Lafayette County, in northern Florida, it was the schools superintendent who had close ties to a tutoring company.
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While serving as the elected head of the district, Thomas Lashley ran the region's only Sylvan Learning Centers. In the opinion of Peter Butzin, head of the government accountability group Common Cause Florida, the arrangement created the appearance of a conflict of interest but probably didn't break any rules. Every year, the state Education Department misses chances to crack down on troubled tutoring firms. The agency keeps files documenting problems, including dozens of formal complaints and letters from school districts that outline serious misdeeds.
Yet regulators have done little with the information. They can't even locate written complaints gathered during the tutoring program's first six years in Florida.