Wisconsin Background Checks laws & HR compliance analysis

Wisconsin 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. Wisconsin has laws concerning criminal background checks, and driver's record information.
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There is no state law prohibiting the use of conviction records in employment decisions. In fact, criminal background checks are required by federal and/or state law for certain types of jobs. However, the Wisconsin Fair Employment Act (WFEA) prohibits employers, except those filling bonded positions, from asking job applicants about arrests not resulting in convictions, unless the charges are currently pending. Furthermore, employers may not discharge or deny employment solely because of an arrest record. According to the Equal Rights Division of the Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development, if an applicant or employee has a pending arrest that is substantially related to the job, the ...

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