Employment background checks is a term that makes grown men shiver. Simply defined an employment background check refers to an investigation by a potential employer on an individual’s past social and economic life. Background checks will typically attempt to paint a portrait of the individual who is being considered for a particular job. Background checks are conducted by background checks companies that may range from the mundane private investigator to the most sophisticated internet gurus who might have been unleashed to get the low down on your web history.

Although it may look intrusive there are a number of valid reasons that an employer is obliged to conduct a background test of sorts: An employer for one, needs to protect his interests against a possible negligent hiring suit that may be occasioned by the shoddy workmanship of an employee who was not properly vetted. Secondly, an employer – more so those who are in the security sector – has to take cognizance of the world that we live in at present that has a myriad of security challenges and thus every individual is thus vetted as with a fine tooth comb. Lastly, some populations such as children and the elderly need an individual who has character and consequently vetting of folk who work here is of the essence, this are but a few examples of why vetting is important.

Employment background checks do not have a Carte Blanche to sweep through an individuals life unfettered. Typically the law sets limits on the extent to which these background checks can go, these boundaries limit the background checks to the following areas: Incarceration records, bankruptcy records, sex offenders records, prison records and that sort of thing. As the discerning reader will deduce this is information is in the public domain. However not all this information can be obtained at the request of an investigator; military records for instance, are typically classified and may only be obtained by invoking the Freedom of Information Act. Academic records from school also require that the school only release the requested information after the consent of the now adult student or a guardian if it is a child that is involved.

Keeping the same train of thought it also follows that there are certain issues that cannot be listed in employment background checks. This will typically include: bankruptcies, civil suits, tax arrears, and any other negative information of a legal nature that has been passed with the statutes of limitation. For instance in the state of California, the Federal Consumer Reporting Agency has a 10 year statute of limitation meaning that once an individual filed for bankruptcy some 10 years earlier then this information may not be pre judicially held against them in an employment background check report.

Employment background reports are a necessary evil in the complicated world that we live in; you should remember that you have rights even when under probe and one of this rights is your right to be fully informed that a background check is being conducted on your past. Welcome to the 21st century.

Legal Disclaimer: “Readers should consult with their own legal counsel to determine their legal responsibilities for the proper use of background checks within their own state.”