California Background Checks laws & HR compliance analysis

California Background Checks: What you need to know

There are a number of ways for employers to gather information on the background of an applicant for employment. Employers may simply call an applicant's former employer to confirm the applicant's dates of employment and title and to try to obtain a more detailed reference from a supervisor. However, more and more frequently, employers are hiring third parties to conduct background checks on applicants who have been offered employment. In addition, depending on the nature of the position, employers are requesting reports about an applicant's driving and criminal record. There are often legal limits on employers’ obtaining and using this type of information. When employers hire a third party to conduct a background check or to obtain reports from outside agencies, such reports are subject to the federal Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) and state laws. In California, employers must comply with laws concerning consumer reports, criminal background checks, and driver's record information.
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In addition to the FCRA, California employers must also comply with the state's Investigative Consumer Reporting Agencies Act (ICRAA)CA Civ. Code Sec. 1786.1et seq.). Under both the FCRA and the ICRAA, before procuring a consumer report, an employer must get the employee's signed authorization in writing and provide the employee with a clear and conspicuous written disclosure informing the employee that a consumer report may be obtained for employment purposes. The disclosure must be in a document that consists solely of the disclosures required under the FCRA and the ICRAA and may also include the employee's written authorization. Before taking any adverse action based in whole or in part on ...

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