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管理员工背景调查的 5 条重要法律

作为雇主,试图驾驭管理员工背景调查的法律可能会很棘手。

大多数人可能会在招聘启事或录用信中使用类似“这个录用条件取决于成功完成就业背景调查”或“录用条件取决于成功完成药物测试”的语言。

企业出于多种原因使用就业背景调查,包括验证工作历史和证书、确保可接受的驾驶记录以及确保员工安全。但就业背景调查背后的最大驱动因素之一是限制公司及其股东的风险。

但是,对于进行这些背景调查的公司来说,它们可能代表潜在的法律和监管责任。

就业法因州而异,有时甚至因市而异。列出所有可能影响合法、非法以及可能代表员工背景调查灰色区域的所有联邦、州和地方法律将是一项冗长的工作,因此我们在此重点关注最重要的五项法律管理员工背景调查。

管理员工背景调查的 5 条法律

这些是企业绝对必须意识到的“大石头”。

公平信用报告法

公平信用报告法 (FCRA)最初于 1970 年颁布,旨在保护消费者,包括允许他们对信用报告中的不准确之处提出异议。如今,FCRA 是员工背景调查的一项重要监管义务。具体而言,FCRA 要求雇主在进行背景调查之前告知申请人和雇员并征得其同意,允许背景调查对象审查结果并在采取不利行动时纠正任何不准确之处,即拒绝就业。

FCRA 需要牢记的关键概念是,它不一定会影响是否可以进行员工背景调查;相反,它规定了 必须进行此类检查的方式。

根据 FCRA,信用报告不仅作为消费者报告的一部分,而且在 CRA 必须遵守的法案中还有其他要求。信用报告通过主要信用局在全国范围内进行搜索信用报告包括有关个人破产、税收留置权、判决、收款账户、已付或冲销的负账户以及活动账户的信息。请记住,某些州和地方对雇主将信用信息用于就业目的的能力提供了额外的限制。

州法律

除了 FCRA,还有许多州和地方的消费者报告法可能会影响雇主,其中一些最全面的法律是在加利福尼亚州。

加利福尼亚的雇主(或从加利福尼亚雇用人员的雇主)还应注意以下两项相关法律:

  • 调查性消费者报告机构法 (ICRAA)

众所周知,加利福尼亚州拥有该国一些最严格的员工关系法,它在 1975 年通过了《调查消费者报告机构法》(ICRAA),超出了 FCRA 的要求。ICRAA 专门针对可能包含的消费者报告进行任何调查。与 申请人的性格或声誉有关的信息。

  • 消费者信用报告机构法 (CCRAA)

加利福尼亚州还颁布了《 消费者信用报告机构法》(CCRAA),该法也与 FCRA 分开,并解决了在寻求 ICRAA 可能未涵盖的员工或申请人信用信息时的通知和同意要求。

加利福尼亚州可能有关于消费者报告的特别健全的法律,它肯定不是唯一的。在这里提供对每个州的要求的审查太长了,但足以说明雇主应该意识到,在进行背景调查时,他们需要熟悉的不仅仅是联邦法律。

禁盒法

在州和地方层面, 许多政府颁布了某种形式的“禁盒”法这些法律禁止雇主向申请人询问他们的犯罪记录或规定可以收集哪些信息以及如何使用这些信息。事实上, 据 Nolo.com 称:“过去几年,十多个州和哥伦比亚特区以及许多城市都通过了这类法律。”

例如, 加州的禁盒法禁止雇主在提供有条件的就业机会之前询问申请人的犯罪记录。一旦提出该提议,在加利福尼亚招聘的雇主可以询问犯罪记录,但他们必须对申请人的犯罪记录进行个性化评估。换句话说,他们不能制定一项全面取消任何有犯罪记录的人的资格的政策。

这些法律的出现是为了解决这样的担忧:过早询问犯罪历史可能会对某些人群产生不同的影响——以及并非所有犯罪行为都不能也不应该影响个人求职能力的理解。 事实上,许多主要雇主已经一起禁止,以提高对该问题的认识并加大自己的努力以确保某些群体不会被边缘化。

重要提示:您所在的城市或州是否有禁盒法?查看我们的交互式禁盒地图

药物筛选法

在许多雇主中,药物测试是一种相当普遍的做法,包括筛查大麻的使用。但随着越来越多的 州将娱乐和医用大麻的使用合法化,内华达州和市政当局也将筛查一些员工使用大麻或 THC 定为非法。另外三个州——伊利诺伊州、新泽西州和纽约州——禁止因员工在工作之外娱乐性使用该药物而对他们采取不利行动。

据 SHRM称:“进行药物测试的雇主通常使用包含安非他明、可卡因、大麻、阿片类药物和苯环利定 (PCP) 的五组筛查。然而,一些雇主已将大麻从小组中剔除。”

但是,某些受到严格监管的行业需要进行药物筛选,例如运输、核能和军事承包。

许多州和地方政府可能已经通过了影响雇主进行药物测试或使用某些药物测试结果的能力的法律,因此了解您雇用员工以及他们将在哪里工作的州和市的要求非常重要。由于复杂性,始终建议在实施药物检测政策之前咨询法律顾问。

美国残疾人法案 (ADA)

美国 残疾人法案 (ADA)保护员工免受基于身体或精神障碍的歧视,并适用于拥有 15 名或更多员工的雇主。ADA 禁止雇主使用医疗信息,甚至禁止雇员或申请人之前提出工人赔偿要求的事实作为歧视他们的手段。

当然,对于许多工作来说,身体能力很可能是候选人是否适合该职位的合理因素。作为一般规则,ADA 确实允许雇主询问员工执行特定工作职能的能力。ADA 还禁止要求提供就业前体检,尽管它确实允许雇主在提供或有工作机会后要求提供此类体检。

民权法案第七章

《民权法》第七章是一项联邦法律,禁止基于种族、肤色、国籍、性别或宗教等特征对员工进行歧视。该法律适用于至少有 15 名雇员的公共和私营部门雇员。

虽然大多数雇主可能认为不进行此类歧视已经足够简单,但第七章已被用来挑战对某些群体产生不成比例影响的就业政策,无论该政策是否明确针对该群体。

例如, 法院发现,严格禁止雇用任何有任何犯罪记录的人可能会对黑人申请人产生歧视性影响,如“禁止盒子”部分所述。雇主必须定期审查其筛选政策并进行个性化评估,即在做出雇用决定时考虑犯罪的事实和情况、案件的年龄以及犯罪时个人的年龄。

同样,与 ADA 一样,雇主在做出雇佣决定时需要确保他们的背景调查不会深入或考虑与第 VII 章下的任何受保护类别相关的问题。

管理员工背景调查的法律具有重要目的,旨在防止歧视以及保护申请人和员工的隐私和医疗权利。然而,对于雇主而言,这些法律可能看起来很复杂、数量众多且势不可挡。虽然列出每个地方、州和联邦法律规范员工背景调查的细微差别会非常冗长和复杂,但这篇文章中的五项法律为任何雇主提供了一个坚实的起点,让他们了解他们能做什么和不能做什么,以及在进行背景调查时询问。

Most people probably used language in either a job posting or an offer letter saying something to the effect of, “this offer is contingent upon the successful completion of an employment background check” or “offer subject to successful completion of a drug test.”

Businesses use employment background checks for a variety of reasons, including verifying job history and credentials, ensuring acceptable driving records, and keeping their workforce safe. But one of the biggest driving factors behind employment background checks is limiting risk for the company and its shareholders.

However, for the companies conducting these background checks, they can represent potential legal and regulatory liability.

Employment laws vary from state to state and even, sometimes, by municipality. It would be a lengthy exercise to list out all the myriad federal, state, and local laws that could impact what’s legal, what’s illegal, and what may represent a gray area in employee background checks, so here we focus on the top five laws that govern employee background checks.

5 Laws that Govern Employee Background Checks

These are the “big rocks” of which businesses absolutely must be aware.

Fair Credit Reporting Act

The Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) was originally enacted in 1970 to protect consumers, including allowing them to dispute inaccuracies in their credit reports. Today, the FCRA is a key regulatory obligation for employee background checks. Specifically, the FCRA requires that employers inform and get consent from applicants and employees prior to conducting background checks, that they allow the subjects of background checks to review the results and correct any inaccuracies if an adverse action is to be taken, i.e., denial of employment.

The key concept to keep in mind with the FCRA is that it doesn’t necessarily impact whether an employee background check can be conducted; rather it regulates the manner in which such checks must be conducted.

Under the FCRA , Credit reports are included, not only as a portion of a consumer report, but there are additional requirements within the act that CRA’s must adhere to.  Credit reports search nationwide through the major credit bureaus. Credit reports include information about an individual’s bankruptcies, tax liens, judgments, accounts in collection, negative accounts paid or charged off, and active accounts. Keep in mind that some states and localities provide additional restrictions on an employer’s ability to use credit information for employment purposes.

State Laws

In addition to the FCRA, there are a number of state and local consumer reporting laws that may impact employers, some of the most comprehensive being in California.

There are two related laws that employers in California (or those hiring people from California) also should be aware of:

  • Investigative Consumer Reporting Agencies Act (ICRAA)

California, often known to have some of the most restrictive employee relations laws in the country, went beyond the requirements of FCRA in passing the Investigative Consumer Reporting Agencies Act (ICRAA) in 1975. The ICRAA specifically addresses any investigation into consumer reports that might contain information related to an applicant’s character or reputation.

  • Consumer Credit Reporting Agencies Act (CCRAA)

California also enacted the Consumer Credit Reporting Agencies Act (CCRAA), which is also separate from the FCRA and addresses requirements for notice and consent when seeking either employee or applicant credit information that may not be covered by the ICRAA.

California may have particularly robust laws around consumer reporting, it is certainly not the only one. It would be too lengthy here to provide a review of each state’s requirements, but suffice it to say employers should be aware that it is not just federal laws they need to be familiar with when conducting background checks.

Ban the Box Laws

At the state and local level, many governments have enacted some form of “ban the box” law. These laws prohibit employers from asking applicants about their criminal history or regulate what information can be collected and how it can be used. In fact, according to Nolo.com: “More than a dozen states and the District of Columbia, as well as many cities, have passed these types of laws in the past few years.”

For example, California’s ban the box law prohibits employers from asking about an applicant’s criminal history prior to making a conditional offer of employment. Once that offer has been made, employers hiring in California can ask about criminal history, but they must conduct an individualized assessment of an applicant’s criminal history. In other words, they can’t have a policy that blanketly disqualifies anyone with a criminal record.

These laws have arisen to address concerns that asking about criminal history too soon may lead to disparate impact for certain populations—as well as the understanding that not all criminal behavior can nor should impact an individual’s ability to seek employment. Many major employers, in fact, have banned together in an effort to raise awareness of the issue and to ramp up their own efforts to ensure that certain groups are not marginalized.

IMPORTANT: Does your city or state have a Ban-the-Box law? Check out our interactive Ban-the-Box map.

Drug Screen Laws

Drug testing is a fairly common practice among many employers, including screening for marijuana use. But as more and more states legalize recreational and medical marijuana use, the state of Nevada and municipalities are also making it illegal to screen some employees for marijuana or THC use. Three more states – Illinois, New Jersey, and New York – prohibit adverse action against employees due to their recreational use of the drug outside of work.

According to SHRM: “Employers that drug test typically use a five-panel screen that includes amphetamines, cocaine, marijuana, opiates and phencyclidine (PCP). Some employers, however, have dropped marijuana from the panel.”

However, there are certain heavily regulated industries where drug screening is required, such as transportation, nuclear energy, and military contracting.

Many state and local governments may have passed laws that impact an employer’s ability to drug test or use certain drug test results, so it’s important to understand the requirements in the states and municipalities where you are hiring employees and where they will work. Due to the complexities, it is always recommended to consult legal counsel before implementing a drug testing policy.

Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA)

The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) protects employees from discrimination based on physical or mental impairment and applies to employers with 15 or more employees. The ADA prohibits employers from using medical information, or even the fact that an employee or applicant previously filed a workers’ compensation claim, as a means to discriminate against them.

Of course, for many jobs, physical ability may very well be a legitimate factor in a candidate’s fitness for the position. As a general rule, the ADA does allow employers to ask about an employee’s ability to perform specific job functions. The ADA also prohibits requiring a pre-employment physical, although it does allow employers to request such a physical after a contingent job offer has been made.

Title VII of the Civil Rights Act

Title VII of the Civil Rights Act is a federal law that prohibits discrimination against employees based on race, color, national origin, sex or religion, among other characteristics. The law applies to both public and private sector employees with at least 15 employees.

While most employers might think it’s straightforward enough to not engage in such discrimination, Title VII has been used to challenge employment policies that disproportionately impact certain groups, regardless of whether the policy explicitly targets that group.

For example, courts have found that a rigid prohibition on hiring anyone with any criminal record can have a discriminatory impact on black applicants as discussed under the Ban the Box section.  It is important for employers to review their screening policies regularly and include an individualized assessment, i.e. consider the facts and circumstances of the crime, the age of the case, and the age of the individual at the time of the crime when making hiring decisions.

Similarly, as with the ADA, employers need to make sure that their background checks do not delve into, or take into consideration, issues related to any of the protected categories under Title VII when making employment decisions.

Laws that govern employee background checks serve an important purpose aimed at preventing discrimination and protecting the privacy and medical rights of applicants and employees. However, for employers, these laws can seem complex, numerous, and overwhelming. While it would be extremely lengthy and complicated to lay out the nuances of every local, state, and federal law regulating employee background checks, the five laws in this post provide a solid starting point for any employer to understand what they can and cannot do and ask when conducting background checks.


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