The EEOC and FTC Team up on Background Screening Guidance

Last week the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) and the U.S. Federal Trade Commission (FTC) co-published guidance for both employers and employees related to use of background checks in employment.  According to one study conducted by the Hay Group in 2012, the turnover rate for part-time retail store employees is as high as 67% and for full time employees, the turnover rate was 24%.  Given these high turnover rates, retail employers are screening potential hires constantly.  Part of this screening process often, if not always, includes some level of background screening.  From the EEOC’s standpoint, employers must ensure everyone screened is treated equally.  No employment decision may be made based on race, national origin, color, sex, religion, disability, genetic informatio or age (if over 40).  The FTC added applicants must receive written notice they are going to be subject to a background screening.  This should be a standalone notice, not part of the general employment application.  When using information gained through a background or credit check, be sure the same standards are applied to all potential employees and take special care when basing employment decisions on problems that are more common amoung people of a certain race, national origin, age, etc.  Also, be mindful of problems that arose in an individual’s background because of a particular disability.  Such a person should be given the opportunity to demonstrate whether he or she can now perform the requirements of the job safely and effectively.  If you do choose to make a hiring decision based on background screening results, provide the potential employee with a copy of the report you are relying upon; the name, address and phone number of the company that provided the report; and that he or she may dispute the report and get an additional copy from the reporting company within 60 days.

For a complete copy of the recent guidance visit:

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