New to HR? Templates, tools and development to make you a seasoned pro in no time.
Shawn Premer shows how doing the right thing for employees leads to positive business results.
Is your employee handbook keeping up with the changing world of work? With SHRM's Employee Handbook Builder get peace of mind that your handbook is up-to-date.
Build competencies, establish credibility and advance your career—while earning PDCs—at SHRM Seminars in 12 cities across the U.S. this spring.
#SHRM18 will expand your perspective – on your organization, on your career, and on the way you approach HR. Join us in Chicago June 17-20, 2018
Members may download one copy of our sample forms and templates for your personal use within your organization. Please note that all such forms and policies should be reviewed by your legal counsel for compliance with applicable law, and should be modified to suit your organization’s culture, industry, and practices. Neither members nor non-members may reproduce such samples in any other way (e.g., to republish in a book or use for a commercial purpose) without SHRM’s permission. To request permission for specific items, click on the “reuse permissions” button on the page where you find the item.
BOSTON—HR professionals need to familiarize themselves with the background check laws of each state and locality in which their company operates, said Ellen Dunkin, senior vice president and general counsel with Amalgamated Life Insurance Company, speaking Oct. 19, 2015, at the Association of Corporate Counsel’s Annual Meeting. Based in White Plains, N.Y., Amalgamated offers collectively bargained insurance and pension benefits to union participants.
Dunkin said background checks are required for:
The lawfulness of background checks for other workers typically depends on the type of background check and state in which it is being conducted, Dunkin said.
She noted that driving records may be checked with written consent in seven states: Alaska, Arizona, Indiana, Nebraska, Utah, Washington and Wyoming. She said the records are usually checked to verify identification information and addresses.
California, Colorado, Connecticut, Illinois, Kansas, Nevada and Vermont prohibit background checks for credit information. An exception typically is made for financial institutions.
In Hawaii, credit checks are allowed to be used to refuse to hire if the credit information relates to a bona fide occupational qualification. In addition, in Hawaii the credit inquiry can be made only after a conditional offer of employment.
In Maryland, background credit checks are allowed after employment for bona fide purposes. Oregon and Rhode Island allow background credit checks as well.
Some state laws permit genetic testing. But the Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act generally prohibits the acquisition of genetic information.
Other state laws prohibit genetic testing as well. For example, California, Connecticut, Hawaii, Massachusetts, Michigan, Rhode Island, South Dakota, Washington and Wisconsin all prohibit genetic testing, she noted. New York prohibits it, except if an applicant has a higher risk of contracting a disease from working in a particular job.
The Americans with Disabilities Act prohibits medical inquiries before a conditional job offer. But some state laws are stricter. Hawaii prohibits medical inquiries. California, Massachusetts, Texas, Washington and Wisconsin specifically prohibit HIV testing.
These state laws are in addition to state ban-the-box laws and local ordinances that prohibit inquiries about criminal convictions on job applications, Dunkin said.
And new laws continue to be enacted, she said, noting that New York City recently has prohibited the use of criminal background checks prior to job offers.
Allen Smith, J.D., is the manager of workplace law content for SHRM. Follow him @SHRMlegaleditor.
You have successfully saved this page as a bookmark.
Please confirm that you want to proceed with deleting bookmark.
You have successfully removed bookmark.
Please log in as a SHRM member before saving bookmarks.
Please sign in as a SHRM member before saving bookmarks.
Please purchase a SHRM membership before saving bookmarks.
An error has occurred
Recommended for you
Talent Attraction Study: What Matters to the Modern Candidate
Choose from dozens of free webcasts on the most timely HR topics.
SHRM’s HR Vendor Directory contains over 3,200 companies