EEOC & FTC: 5 Things Every Employee Needs to Know

Welcome to the final post of our 3-part series analyzing a joint effort by the EEOC and FTC to give employers and employees the scoop on background checks.

We started with a breakdown of the entire document that was co-written by the government agencies and released in early March. Then we explained what employers should take away from the guide.

Up now… what employees need to know. Since it worked so well the first time, we’re going to continue in a Q & A format. So here’s our take on the top 5 things employees might wonder about background checks.

Employee: Will every employer run a background check on me each time I apply for a job?

Active Screening: It’s up to the employer. Some industries, like law enforcement, educational institutions, and the military, routinely run background checks whereas others trust the information being provided them by an applicant. It is, however, easy to lie and there are several recent cases where employees have been busted for lying. Our recommendation is that every employee in every industry should be treated equally and background checks should become standard operating procedure. Not only does that level the playing field among all applicants, but it also helps ensure a safe workplace for everyone.

Employee: So how do I know if someone is running a check on me?

Active Screening: Well, there is a difference between an employer asking standard questions about your background in the hiring process and having them commission a screening company like us to run your background. There are restrictions to both and we’ll outline them in a sec. However, you need to know that it is perfectly legal for them to ask questions about your background or to request a background check.

An employer can ask you all sorts of things during a job interview. These include:

  • work history
  • education
  • criminal record
  • financial history
  • social media presence

Most times your medical and/or genetic information is off-limits but you may want to ask about that.

It’s important for you to know that an employer is not allowed to treat you differently from anyone else based on your answers or your gender, sex, race, religion, disability or age (usually 40 and over). These are protected by the EEOC and you can file a complaint with them if you feel you’ve been discriminated against.

Some companies hire a screening company like us to run their background checks. By law, you have to be informed that a background check is part of the hiring process. And by law, you have to sign off on it (authorize) before we can conduct the screening. We may look at things like your credit report and criminal history. You also may object but the EEOC states: “You don’t have to give your permission, but if you’re applying for a job and you don’t give your permission, the employer may reject your application.”

If you think an employer got a background check done without your permission, call the FTC.

Employee: What if I don’t get the job because of something in my background check?

Active Screening: That’s called ‘adverse action’ and this post by RJ sums it up perfectly. Don’t worry, it’s not always the end of the line in your job search. You have some protection and recourse. If an employer chooses not to hire you based on concerns from the background report, it not only has to tell you about it, but it has to provide you with a copy of the report and the contact information of the agency who performed the background check. In rare cases, a screening company may make a mistake and you have the right to challenge that information, request that it be fixed, and have an updated and correct copy sent to your employer or the personnel department of where you’re trying to get a job.

Employee: I have asthma. Can my medical condition prevent me from getting a job?

Active Screening: Depends on the job. Medical conditions are typically off limits in the hiring decision. However, if your asthma might put you, or others, in danger, or prevent you from the doing the job as well as another candidate, then it’s possible you might not get the job. Those are legitimate, and lawful, reasons why you may not get hired. However, you have the right to ask to for the chance to show you can still do the job.

Employee: Hmm… I think I may have more questions in the future. Where should I go for answers?

Active Screening: We’d be happy to help! Our resource page has lots of downloadable materials that you can read on your own time. Subscribe to our blog’s RSS Feed. We make things user-friendly so you don’t already need to be an expert to learn some cool stuff. If you still have questions, give us a shout. Here’s our phone numbers. We even have live chat available on our website. Talk to you soon!

This entry was posted in Background Screening, General, Human Resources, Industry Solutions, News by Patricia Carlson. Bookmark the permalink.

Patricia Carlson is a content writer who specializes in B2C and B2B inbound marketing. She blogs regularly for clients about the background screening and finance industries, and generates newsletters, white papers and email campaigns for a variety of businesses. Patricia also produces a heavy rotation of editorial material for home design, law enforcement, and family magazines. She’s been writing professionally for more than a dozen years, and for Active Screening for more than two of those. Check out LinkedIn for a roster of Patricia's clients and links to published works. When she’s not interviewing sources or researching trends, she’s living a fast-paced Florida life questioning the antics of her two young children, partner and mischievous cat. Patricia loves to talk tennis and TV on Twitter - give her a shout @pattycfreelance.
Active ScreeningBarbara S.
Healthcare Industry

"Here at Holland Hospital, we have been extremely pleased with Active Screening. The report results come back quickly, usually within 24 hours or less.  The staff at Active Screening is easy accessible, knowledgeable and responds to our questions promptly."

Active ScreeningLynn C. Staffing Industry

"Benton Mobley has been and remains my Main point of contact at Active Screening from the beginning; so aside from the comfort of dealing with the same person all these years, there is the most important fact of all;  customer satisfaction. Benton knows the business like the back of his hand; and that is what we need in our fast paced industry of staffing. He is the all-time BEST!  MY employer, Leslie, believes in the notion that great service deserves to be rewarded, so we are here for the duration.We get immediate and personalized attention for any and all concerns we need addressed, and in the staffing industry, this is vital."

Active ScreeningCayce R. Education Industry

"My experience working with Active Screening for our background check process has been very positive.  The reports are almost always completed in a very timely fashion. The information reported appears to be very thorough and accurate.  On the rare occasions that we have questions or problems, the customer service team is always very quick to respond and resolve the issue.  Overall, I am very pleased with the service I receive from Active Screening."

Active ScreeningCraig H. Staffing Industry

"Your customer service is excellent.  The turn around time on background checks is quite fast.  Excellent work.  I haven't had a single problem."

Active ScreeningJackie C. Education Industry

"I wanted to thank you and your staff for being so patient and working so diligently with the Human Resources staff during our recent endeavor to process all of our work study students through background screenings.  We have never had to process so many requests within such a short period of time before, but thanks to you and your staff we made it. Again thank you, we made a good choice in selecting Active Screening."

Active ScreeningLindsey W.  Financial Industry

"I wanted to share my appreciation for your wonderful service...switching background screening companies could have been a stressful task, but your company made the transition seamless. Your website was extremely easy to navigate and the turn around time has been great. I appreciate when information is missing or entered incorrectly during ordering, your company notifies me right away to ensure that my error does not hold the reports results, causing us a delay in hiring an individual...Active Screening has been great to us and I would definitely refer them to others."

Active ScreeningTerry S. Property Management

"Working with Active Screening over the last year and half has been a wonderful experience. They deliver fast and informative results at the best price. Their level of professionalism and the speed they respond to our issues is a benefit that any company can value from. I would highly recommend using Active Screening and their amazing team."

Active ScreeningYulesis D.  Staffing Industry

“Interactive Response Technologies (IRT) has more than 2,000 employees at multiple locations across the United States. IRT has been using Active Screening to conduct criminal background checks since 2006. During this time, Active Screening has consistently returned accurate reports, usually with less than 48 hours turnaround. If there are any problems or inconsistencies with the reports, their staff has called to notify us so that we can attempt to rectify the situation. The staff at Active Screening is always courteous and congenial over the phone. In our opinion, Active Screening is outstanding.”

Active ScreeningAndy N. Software Provider

 "Active Screening has helped us screen our applicants in record time for more than two years.... we are very impressed with the professionalism and speed with which their service team responds to our questions. They understand our needs and are a pleasure to work with. I highly recommend them."

Active ScreeningCassie J. Staffing Industry

"The Active Screening team is very informative; they provided a complete consultation on all the services, so I understood what I needed, and saved me hours and hours of my time learning the various services. Their reputation, as being on the cutting edge of employment screening best practices, certainly held true in this instance. The expertise they brought to the table was invaluable to our understanding of our applicants backgrounds. I highly recommend Active Screening to anyone with the task of screening large numbers of applicants and needing reliable customer support."

Active Screening

With over 20 years of law enforcement experience I can attest to the fact that the strongest predictor of future criminal behavior is a person’s criminal history. As the manager of campus safety at my church, I depend on Active Screening to provide a thorough assessment of every criminal history background check we request. For more than 3 years, Active Screening has been faithful to this task with timely, accurate and reliable service.

Active Screening

We have benefited from knowing that we are not exposing the communities we work with or ourselves to unnecessary risk. We continue to have a perfect record in that we have never had a serious incident with a trip participant causing harm or acting inappropriately with any community member or fellow team member- thank goodness!

Active Screening

I would highly recommend any association or organization who conducts background checks to use Active Screening. In addition to my involvement with WAHA, I am an officer in a corporation with over 500 employees who provide treatment, mental health, and correctional services for children and adolescents. Our company is mandated by law to do comprehensive background searches and I can say with the utmost sincerity that Active Screening product rivals that of any government or other private sector process.

Active Screening

We have used Active Screening and their solution VERITY to screen all our coaches and volunteers working with youth. The online system gives us an easy and cost-effective solution to collecting forms and payments from our applicants...and we simply login to view the results of who passed or failed. It's so easy....thank you Active Screening.