Bringing on a new hire is an important final step in the recruiting process. For many employers, that process involves conducting a background check. However, it’s important to note that an employer should only conduct this type of screening when the information being requested directly relates to the job for which the candidate is applying. Background checks must also be done consistently to maintain their legality.
A background check could include details about the criminal and/or financial history of an applicant. It might be important to conduct a criminal background check if the position involves working with children, the elderly, disabled individuals, or other protected members of the population. A financial background check could be a crucial step if the position handles company finances.
In order to ensure that any background checks performed on applicants are legal, it’s important to provide clear and conspicuous written disclosure to each individual on whom this type of assessment may be performed. In the state of California, an applicant must acknowledge and authorize the background check before it is performed by the potential employer.
If the results of the background check could remove an applicant from consideration, state regulations also stipulate that the employer must complete the preliminary adverse action process (also known as the applicant dispute process) before making the decision to remove an applicant. This process allows the applicant to dispute any negative information that may be contained within the background check report.
In order to comply, an employer must provide the applicant at least five (5) business days to dispute the information. Whether the applicant chooses to dispute the information is up to them, and once the five business days have passed, the employer can determine whether to hire that individual. If the employer decides not to hire the applicant based on the results of the background check, they must provide an adverse action notification.
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