Virginia Background Checks laws & HR compliance analysis

Virginia 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 Virginia, employers must comply with laws relating to criminal background checks and driver's record information.
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In Virginia, employers are prohibited from requiring an applicant for employment to disclose information concerning any arrest or criminal charge against him or her that has been expunged. Applicants do not have to answer any question concerning arrests or criminal charges that have not resulted in conviction. Employers that violate this law are guilty of a misdemeanor. Questions on employment applications related to criminal history should be limited to situations where the applicant was found guilty of a crime or entered a plea of nolo contendere (VA Code Sec. 19.2-392.4).
In addition to the state law that limits the gathering and use of information regarding arrests, the ...

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