An employment attorney knows that many companies perform background checks on employees or potential employees for various reasons. However, the federal government has rules in place that prohibit an employer from using those checks to discriminate against employees. If you feel you have been a victim of workplace discrimination, contact an attorney to discuss your situation.
Are Background Checks Legal?
As an employment lawyer in El Paso, TX, from a firm like Davie & Valdez, P.C. can explain, both the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) oversee different types of background checks that a company may conduct on someone. The FTC ensures that all employers adhere to the Fair Credit Reporting Act when conducting background checks and the EEOC ensures that employers adhere to all anti-discrimination laws.
A company may conduct background checks when they are considering hiring a person. Background checks may also be performed in consideration of promotions or layoffs. According to both federal and state laws, it is perfectly legal for an employer to check into a person’s education, work history, whether or not they have a criminal background, and their credit history when considering them for a position. It is also perfectly legal for an employer to check a person’s social media sites.
What is important for an employer to remember is that the background checks they conduct must be the same across the board for every employee or prospective employee. According to the law, a background check cannot be done on someone based only on their “race, color, national origin, sex, or religion; disability; genetic information (including family medical history); and age (40 or older).” If this happens, then the federal government considers it discrimination and the employer faces all kinds of penalties.
There are many questions an employer is not allowed to ask you when they are considering hiring or promoting you. For example, a company is not allowed to ask for your medical history until they have actually hired you. And even once hired, they cannot request any genetic information, such as family medical history.
It is also important to know that an employer cannot do a background check on you – such as obtaining your credit history or checking for any criminal record – unless you have given them written permission to do so.
Contact an Employment Discrimination Attorney for Assistance
There are many ways an employer can discriminate against someone – age, disability, gender, national origin, pregnancy, race, sexual orientation, and religion. If you feel your employer has discriminated against you, a lawyer may be able to help. If you were discriminated against by your employer, the right attorney can help prepare a formal complaint to file with the company. They can also help prepare a complaint to be filed with the appropriate federal agency and represent you at every step of the complaint process.
Employees or potential employees who are discriminated against may also be entitled to financial compensation under the law. Speak with an attorney to find out more about your legal rights.