Pre-Offer Background Checks? Employer Beware

While an employer usually conducts background checks only after making a conditional offer of employment, what about conducting a check before making an offer?

Pre-employment background checks can be problematic for a number of reasons, and should not be considered best practice.

If your policy or practice is to conduct post- offer background checks, deviating from policy or practice can open you up to litigation. Applicants not hired can suggest they were discriminated against, while others did not undergo the same checks under policy.

Another reason to be cautious is background checks can provide too much information , i.e. race, religion, etc. An applicant could allege they were not hired due to discriminatory reasons.

Cost should also be considered. Consider whether it’s really necessary to run background checks on each applicant.

Bottom line, BEWARE!!

Published by permission of Mark D. Jeffries, Esq.  Steptoe- Johnson, PLLC  Originally appeared in National Law Review, June 19, 2018

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