The Federal Trade Commission and the EEOC recently co-published two guidance documents concerning the use of background checks for employment purposes. One document is for employers, and the other is for job applicants and employees. The EEOC examines background checks in the context of employment discrimination claims, while the FTC enforces the Fair Credit Reporting Act which governs the use of background checks performed for employment purposes. These documents review and reiterate previous guidance from these agencies, but also provide “best practices”
guidelines that employers should heed. One example of an important practice reminder is the rule that an employer who requests a background check for a job applicant must give the applicant notice in writing that the background information might be used for decisions about the employment. This notice must be in writing and in a stand-alone format, rather than as part of a job application.