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EEOC and FTC explain background checks to employers and job applicants

To help employers and job applicants better understand employment background checks, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) and the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) have teamed up to release two joint publications titled ‘Background Checks: What Employers Need to Know’ and ‘Background Checks: What Job Applicants and Employees Should Know.’

“The FTC is pleased to work with the EEOC to help ensure that employers and potential employees have a solid understanding of their rights and responsibilities,” Jessica Rich, director of the FTC’s Bureau of Consumer Protection, stated in a press release titled ‘Employment Background Checks: FTC, EEOC Offer Tips for Employers and Job Applicants.’

‘Background Checks: What Employers Need to Know’ explains how compliance with the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) and anti-discrimination laws intersect when employers use employment background checks. The publication is available online at

‘Background Checks: What Job Applicants and Employees Should Know’ answers questions applicants and employees may have about employment background checks including what happens if negative information is found. The publication is available at

The EEOC enforces laws against employment discrimination while the FTC enforces the FCRA, the federal law protecting the privacy and accuracy of the information contained in background check reports.

When employers conduct employment background checks through a third party background check firm when considering applicants and employees for hiring, retention, promotion, or reassignment they must comply with the FCRA and federal laws protecting people from discrimination.

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