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Background Checks

Applicant filed for bankruptcy: Can you refuse to hire him?

02/08/2011

Have you ever thought of not hiring an applicant because he or she had previously declared bankruptcy? Maybe you thought that was discriminatory. But a court last month said, “Don’t worry.” Private employers won’t violate the U.S. Bankruptcy Code if they refuse to hire. But firing based on bankruptcy status is another story …

Key EEOC lawsuit focuses on credit-check bias

02/01/2011
The EEOC made headlines recently when it filed suit against Kaplan Higher Learning, accusing it of discriminating against black applicants through the way it checks candidates’ credit histories. A handful of states, including Illinois and Washington, ban or severely limit use of credit checks in hiring.

New law limits employer use of credit reports

01/14/2011
Effective Jan. 1, Illinois employers must comply with the Illinois Employee Credit Privacy Act, which severely restricts the use of an applicant or employee’s credit history in hiring, firing or promotions. Covered employers may not use credit reports or credit information from sources other than credit reporting agencies when evaluating employees or applicants.

Hire education: Filling job positions without inviting lawsuits

01/14/2011

Employers operate in an increasingly complex legal environment, made all the more difficult by the tough economy. Hiring has emerged as a particular trouble spot. You need to hire and maintain a skilled and productive workforce, but you must watch out for legal liability that can surface in the process.

Kaplan colleges sued for screening with credit histories

01/11/2011

The EEOC has filed suit against Kaplan Higher Education Corp., alleging its use of credit histories to screen job applicants has a disparate impact on blacks. The credit histories aren’t necessary, the EEOC says, and don’t predict whether the applicant will perform the job well. Kaplan has defended the practice as a way to protect the company against potential fraud and theft.

Remind bosses: Reference check calls go to HR

12/22/2010
If your managers and supervisors respond to reference calls by offering negative information, a lawsuit is probably coming. That’s why the best practice is to refer all calls for reference checks to HR. Then, only provide the most basic information.

Is a policy still a policy if it’s not in writing?

12/15/2010

Will a court acknowledge a company “policy” that doesn’t exist on paper? One court recently did—even though the policy wasn’t written anywhere—because the policy was being followed by all managers. Still, when in doubt, it’s best to write it out.

What should we know about running credit checks on job applicants?

12/09/2010
Q. Our company is hiring a new finance director and we’re planning to do credit checks on serious job candidates. Are there any legal issues that we should be aware of?

When employer calls for a recommendation, keep it basic

12/02/2010
When it comes to recommending former employees, the simpler the better. Stick with the basics like dates of employment and job titles and you’ll rarely have trouble in court.

Bill would bar credit checks for most jobs in New Jersey

11/24/2010
State Sen. Shirley Turner has proposed a bill that would prevent employers from using credit checks during the hiring process in many cases. Citing the downturn in the economy, Turner and other bill supporters note that many people have less than perfect credit, and that shouldn’t keep them from getting jobs.