District of Columbia Background Checks laws & HR compliance analysis

District of Columbia 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 record, criminal record, and/or credit history. 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 District of Columbia, employers must comply with laws concerning arrests and convictions and mandatory background checks.
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The District of Columbia Human Rights Act prohibits employers from requesting that a job applicant supply an arrest record at his or her own expense (DC Code Sec. 2-1402.66). Under the law, arrest records can contain only listings of felony convictions that have occurred within the last 10 years. Information about such convictions cannot be used as a bar to employment unless they are substantially related to the job in question. Employers who violate this law may face a fine of up to $200, imprisonment for up to 10 days, or both.
Public employers. When considering whether to disqualify an applicant for a position that is not a covered position ("covered position" means a ...

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