Boston, MA (PressExposure) April 20, 2009 -- Nowadays, with security being a concern of both employers and employees alike, a background check for employment candidates has become more the rule than the exception. Yet when does the background check cross the line from an employer covering its bases to invading privacyâor worse, engaging in discrimination?
As part of its corporate law practice, Boston-based Tarlow, Breed, Hart, & Rodgers (TBHR), P.C. (TBHR) advises clients on the subject of background checks. According to TBHR Business Litigation Attorney Lee Holland, âMost information available from a background check comes from government agencies and can typically include any of the following: driving records, Social Security numbers, credit records, criminal records, education records, court records character references, bankruptcy, incarceration records, past employers, property ownership, sex offender records, medical records, military records, personal references, neighbor interviews, character references, state licensing records, drug test records and Workerâs Compensation.â
While that list can produce a lot of information about a potential employee, there are limitations as to how much of that information can be used in making a hiring decision. Most background checks conducted by an outside party follow the guidelines set by the federal governmentâs Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA). Those guidelines dictate that the following information cannot be used in extending credit: Bankruptcies after 10 years. Civil suits, civil judgments and records of arrest, from date of entry, after seven years. Paid tax liens after seven years. Accounts placed for collection after seven years. Any other negative information (except criminal convictions) after seven years. âEmployers walk a fine line when it comes to using certain types of information as a reason for not hiring a potential employer. For example, a background check might indicate that the candidate had previously filed a Workerâs Compensation claim. If it became known that a prospective employer, worried about the candidateâs health, used that information as a reason for not hiring, the company could be sued for violating the Americans with Disabilities Act,â said Holland.
Added Holland, âObviously, a potential employer wants to know about the major red flagsâcriminal records, sex offender records, etc. But a background check can backfire if it ends up with the company on the wrong end of a discrimination suit. Thatâs why if information discovered in a candidateâs background check makes an employer question hiring them, itâs best to consult an attorney before acting in either direction.â
Tarlow, Breed, Hart & Rodgersâ areas of expertise include corporate law, employment matters, mergers and acquisitions, litigation and dispute resolution, estate planning, taxation, real estate, bankruptcy, and municipal law.
The offices of Tarlow, Breed, Hart & Rodgers, P.C. are located at 101 Huntington Avenue, Prudential Center, in Boston, MA 02199. For additional information, or to arrange for a consultation, please call 1-617-218-2000, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org, or visit http://www.tbhr-law.com.