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What belongs in a job applicant’s background check?

Before you hire a new employee to work for your Florida business, you have probably prepared by putting a process in place that helps you identify the best person for the job. For many employers, this includes a background check. According to the Small Business Administration, there are some guidelines that you will want to follow when determining what information you should request in order to avoid a misstep that could lead to business litigation.

Some information may make it difficult to prevent discrimination, even though you may not intend to form a bias. So, the Americans with Disabilities Act forbids you from asking to review an applicant’s medical records. However, since you need to know if the job duties can be fulfilled, you are allowed to ask whether the potential employee is able to perform them. A workers’ compensation appeal that keeps a person from being able to accomplish job duties may also be considered in the hiring process.

If the applicant gives written permission, you may review his or her credit report. A copy of this report must be provided to the potential employee if the information you learn from it is a determining influence in refusing to hire that person. The Fair Credit Reporting Act stipulates that if the information on the report is relevant, you must tell the applicant that he or she can dispute it.

Privacy issues may deter you from steps such as administering lie detector tests, viewing criminal records and accessing school or military records. In addition to federal restrictions, state laws may also apply, depending on your situation. This information about background checks is general in nature and is provided for educational purposes only. It should not be interpreted as legal advice.

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