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Background Checks: What you need to know

Background checks are useful tools for employers in hiring and promoting the most qualified people. They can help identify and screen out those candidates who have given inaccurate information on employment applications or who might present a risk of violence or theft in the workplace. Employers conducting background checks are generally seeking information that will provide insight into an employee's general character and suitability for a particular position. The types of information that may be obtained through background checks include:
• Verification of Social Security number (SSN) and past addresses
• Criminal and civil records
• Driving records
• Credit history
• Verification of education and past employment
• Verification of professional licenses
• Reference checks
• Bankruptcy and workers' compensation records
• Military service records
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Background checks, however, are costly, and various state and federal laws regulate an employer's ability to collect and use certain types of information in employment decisions. These laws are discussed in more detail below. In addition, regardless of the type of information the employer plans to gather, following are certain basic rules employers should follow:
• During the hiring process, background checks should be limited to only those applicants who have received a conditional offer of employment (conditioned on successful completion of the background check and any other preemployment screening).
• Information sought in a background check should be job-related (i.e., the employer does not need a driving record for an employee who will be working as a customer service representative and who is not expected to operate a company ...

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State Requirements

Alabama | Alaska | Arizona | Arkansas | California | Colorado | Connecticut | Delaware | District of Columbia | Florida | Georgia | Hawaii | Idaho | Illinois | Indiana | Iowa | Kansas | Kentucky | Louisiana | Maine | Maryland | Massachusetts | Michigan | Minnesota | Mississippi | Missouri | Montana | Nebraska | Nevada | New Hampshire | New Jersey | New Mexico | New York | North Carolina | North Dakota | Ohio | Oklahoma | Oregon | Pennsylvania | Rhode Island | South Carolina | South Dakota | Tennessee | Texas | Utah | Vermont | Virginia | Washington | West Virginia | Wisconsin | Wyoming |

Background Checks Resources

Background Checks Products

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Record retention is complex and time consuming. However, in addition to complying with various federal and state laws, keeping good, well-organized records can be very helpful in documenting and supporting an organization’s employment actions.
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This special report will discuss how you can ensure your records are in good order, and establish a record-retention policy.

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