Labor: Gun violence and background checks

Understanding employer rights and obligations under the Fair Credit Reporting Act

With the recent proliferation in gun violence and the national debate surrounding it, employers are growing even more cognizant of the potentially severe ramifications of hiring or retaining an employee with a questionable background. When undesirable employees slip through the cracks of the pre-employment vetting process, they can saddle a company with enormous liability and pose a risk to customers and the workplace. Employers can use background checks on job applicants and current employees to prevent potential problems. However, most background checks are highly regulated by federal and state law, which dictate:

  • What types of information may be obtained on a job applicant
  • The proper procedures for requesting and using background check information
  • Whether and when it may be appropriate to conduct re-screens on current employees

Establishing and maintaining well-written and strictly enforced employment policies governing background checks, in conjunction with informing job applicants and employees of any such investigations, are crucial to ensure legal compliance and provide adequate security for the workplace. The rest of this article outlines some key considerations for employees who conduct background checks:

Contributing Author

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Judith Kong

Judith Kong practices in Neal, Gerber & Eisenberg’s Labor & Employment Practice Group. She focuses her practice on unemployment insurance,...

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Contributing Author

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Jason C. Kim

Jason C. Kim is a partner in the nationally recognized Labor and Employment Practice Group at Neal, Gerber & Eisenberg LLP (Chicago). He counsels companies...

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