Pennsylvania Background Checks laws & HR compliance analysis

Pennsylvania 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 Pennsylvania, employers must comply with laws concerning criminal background checks.
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In Pennsylvania, an employer may consider conviction information that is part of an employment applicant's criminal history record information file in making a hiring decision only to the extent to which the convictions relate to the applicant's suitability for employment in the applied-for position. The employer must notify the applicant in writing if the decision not to hire the applicant is based in whole or in part on criminal history record information (PA Code Tit. 18 Sec. 9125).
Likewise, the federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) takes the position that it is a violation of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act to base an employment decision solely on an applicant's arrest record. In ...

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