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Are Background Checks Legal?

Posted in Frequently Asked Questions on 09/08/2009

Last month we talked about the various definitions of a background check.  This month we want to touch on the legality of background checks.  We have been asked by clients and applicants – “Are background checks legal?”  The short answer is yes.

The long answer depends on who is requesting the information and what is being done with it.  The background checks performed by BackTrack are for employment purposes only.  We do not perform background checks for tenant screening, for dating sites or for individuals wanting to know about themselves or someone else.  The background checks we perform must follow the guidelines of the federal Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA), which means employers have certain rules to follow in both ordering and using the information provided to them and gives applicants certain legal protections when a background check is ordered and used by an employer.

All employers who order background checks through BackTrack have signed an Agreement for Service which states they will use the reports provided to them for employment purposes only, and they will follow the FCRA by getting the applicant’s permission before running a background check and following the adverse action procedures if they choose not to hire someone.

Applicants should carefully read the authorization they are signing for a background check and understand that the information they provide on an application may be checked for accuracy by an outside employment screening firm such as BackTrack.

For more information on the FCRA, click here or here or contact BackTrack at 800-991-9694.

***This information contained here is intended