Rhode Island Background Checks laws & HR compliance analysis

Rhode Island 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 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. 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). Failure to comply with FCRA may result in the imposition of both civil liability and criminal penalties. In Rhode Island, employers must comply with laws concerning consumer reports, criminal background checks, and driver's record information.
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In addition to FCRA, Rhode Island state law prohibits any person or business from requesting a consumer report for employment purposes unless the applicant or employee is first informed that a credit report may be requested in connection with the application. Employers must advise applicants if employment is denied because of the information contained in a credit report and provide the name and address of the credit bureau used to obtain that information (RI Stat. Sec. 6-13.1-21).
With limited exception, state law prohibits employers from asking on a job application about prior ...

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