Right to Check Employees’ Backgrounds

In my opinion, employers should have the right to check applicants’ backgrounds whether or not suspicion of misbehavior, security threats, credit histories, driving offenses etcetera exist. This will ensure employers or companies that they won’t have any ‘problematic employees’ in within the organization. However, even if this should be a right held by the employers, companies, organizations, etcetera, the law states that the they “do not have unlimited rights to dig into an applicant’s background and personal life” (US Small Business Administration, 2008, n. . ).
This means that there are certain ‘checks’ that these employers, companies, organizations, etcetera cannot pursue simply because it is forbidden by the law and they can be charged in court if they push through with unlimited ‘checks’ (US Small Business Administration, 2008, n. p. ). The following are the background checks that may be done including the limitations set by the law: First is with regards to “credit reports” (US Small Business Administration, 2008, n. . ). The restriction set by the law for this is known as “the Fair Credit Reporting Act” wherein employers, companies, organizations, etcetera are obliged to obtain a formal “written consent” coming from the employee/applicant before the former could see the latter’s “credit report” (US Small Business Administration, 2008, n. p. ). The second entails “criminal records” (US Small Business Administration, 2008, n. p. ).
Employers, organizations, companies, etcetera may look into an applicant’s criminal records but this should be done through their lawyer or they should consult the “Federal Bureau of Investigation” especially if they need an “employee background investigation” to be carried out or if they wanted to make sure that the applicant has not been involved in violation of the following: “antitrust laws, trade secret laws, intellectual property laws, economic sabotage, as well as, anti-terrorism laws” (US Small Business Administration, 2008, n. p. ).

The third involves “lie detector tests” (US Small Business Administration, 2008, n. . ). The use of the aforementioned may be allowed only by employers whose businesses involve: “armored car services, alarm/guard services, pharmaceutical manufacturing & distribution, etc” (US Small Business Administration, 2008, n. p. ). Employers, therefore cannot just make an employee/applicant undergo “lie detector tests” because the latter is protected by the “Employee Polygraph Protection Act” (US Small Business Administration, 2008, n. p. ). The fourth is with regards to ‘health check’ (US Small Business Administration, 2008, n. p. ).
Here, an employer, organization, company, etcetera can always ask the health expert or the health institution if an employee can carry out a certain task; however one cannot ask for the entire medical record of an employee or applicant because doing so is a violation of the “Americans with Disabilities Act” (US Small Business Administration, 2008, n. p. ). In addition to that, health institutions would not give in to such an employer’s request because “confidentiality of medical records” is a part of the “American Medical Association’s Code of Ethics”; legal issues will emerge if they violate this (US Small Business Administration, 2008, n. . ). Last but not least pertains to the school records of an applicant (US Small Business Administration, 2008, n. p. ).
Fortunately, these may be scrutinized by employers however they should be able to get the applicant’s approval before they carry that out (US Small Business Administration, 2008, n. p. ). Applicants are protected because of the “Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act” (US Small Business Administration, 2008, n. p. ). Employers then should have the right to check on applicants’ backgrounds but only to a certain extent and only those which the law allows.

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