The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) recently issued a joint publication titled “Background Checks – What Employers Need to Know” (click here) that explains to employers how to comply with the federal nondiscrimination laws and the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) when obtaining and using background information in making personnel decisions, such as hiring, retention, promoting, and reassignment. Although it is not illegal for an employer to inquire about a person’s background or to require a background check (except for certain restrictions related to medical and genetic information) when making personnel decisions, the employer must comply with federal laws that protect against discrimination and comply with the FCRA when running background checks through a company that compiles background information. The publication is divided into four sections: Before You Get Background Information. This section gives warnings and information necessary before an employer obtains background information: • It is illegal to check the background of applicants and employees based on a person’s race, national origin, color, sex, religion, disability, genetic information (including family medical history), or age (40 or older).

Complete Memorandum