HR Management & Compliance

Sample Employee Background Checks Policy

To ensure that individuals who join [Company Name] are well qualified and have a strong potential to be productive and successful employees, it is [Company Name]’s policy to investigate the backgrounds and employment references of applicants. In addition, [Company Name] may conduct background investigations when employees are being considered for promotions or transfers, or in furtherance of an internal investigation of alleged misconduct. Background investigations will be conducted at [Company Name]’s discretion and in accordance with federal and state law.

[Company Name] relies on the accuracy of information contained in employment applications, as well as the accuracy of other data presented throughout the hiring process and during employment. Any misrepresentations, falsifications, or material omissions in any of this information or these data may result in an applicant being excluded from further consideration for employment or, if an individual has already been hired, termination of employment.


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Applicants for Employment. All applicants who are offered employment with [Company Name] will be subject to a background investigation. Offers of employment are contingent on the successful completion of a background investigation and drug test conducted in accordance with [Company Name] policy and state law.

Current Employees. Current employees who are being considered for promotion or transfer may be subject to a background investigation. Background investigations may also be conducted as part of an internal investigation of alleged employee misconduct.


Every offer of employment with [Company Name] will be made contingent on a background investigation. The nature and extent of the investigation will depend on the job duties of the position for which an offer is made. The following chart sets forth the types of background investigations that may be conducted:

Type of Investigation



Criminal History Check

[Company Name] will request criminal records related to felony and misdemeanor convictions in the past 7 years. Crimes of particular concern include crimes against persons, crimes involving weapons, crimes involving theft or fraud, and crimes involving drugs or alcohol.

All Positions

Reference checks; verification of past employment, education, military record, driving record, professional certifications, and other information provided by an applicant

[Company Name] will request references from past employers and verify previous employment, education, military service, and professional certifications. [Company Name] will also verify any other information provided by an applicant that it determines is job related.

All Positions

Credit History Report

[Company Name] will obtain a credit report in situations where there is a business necessity for such information, e.g., security-sensitive positions.

Security-sensitive positions include positions in [Applicable Departments]. These positions involve access to significant levels of cash or negotiable securities, responsibility for the execution or approval of financial transactions, responsibility for accounting related to accounts receivables, responsibility for inventory receipt and control, and access to sensitive data such as [Company Name]’s computer systems, customer credit cards, and personal information.


Information obtained from a background investigation will be considered for employment purposes as permitted by federal and state law and in accordance with [Company Name]’s Equal Employment Opportunity Policy. Information will be reviewed to determine:

  • Whether false statements or material omissions were made by an individual on an application for employment or during an interview;
  • Whether an applicant or employee, based on the job duties of the position in question, poses a threat to security and/or employee safety in the workplace; and
  • The likelihood of an applicant or employee being successful and productive on the job.

Tips and Considerations

  • More and more frequently, employers are hiring third parties to conduct background checks on applicants who have been offered employment. When employers hire a third party to conduct a background check, or obtain reports from outside agencies, such background checks and reports are subject to the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA). Under the FCRA, credit reporting and other investigative agencies may provide background financial and personal information to an employer about an employee or applicant for a permissible employment purpose. A permissible “employment purpose” is defined as for the evaluation of an individual for employment, promotion reassignment, or retention.
  • The FCRA distinguishes between two forms of reports: consumer reports and investigative consumer reports. Consumer reports such as credit checks provide general financial and personal data about an individual’s payment history, overall indebtedness, addresses of record, etc. Investigative consumer reports provide in-depth information about an individual’s character, general reputation, personal characteristics, mode of living, etc., that may be obtained through searches of public records and/or interviews with neighbors, friends, professional associates, and other acquaintances. Due to the more “intrusive” nature of investigative consumer reports, the FCRA requires employers that request this type of report to comply with additional notice and disclosure requirements. When an employer seeks employment references, driving records, and criminal background information, they are requesting an investigative consumer report.
  • Before obtaining any type of consumer report, an employer must:
    • Make a clear and conspicuous disclaimer to an individual, in writing, in a document consisting solely of the disclosure (i.e., as a stand-alone document, not as part of the body of an employment application), that a consumer report may be obtained for employment purposes.
    • Obtain the individual’s signed authorization to obtain the report.
  • In addition to the requirements listed above, before obtaining an investigative consumer report, an employer must clearly and accurately disclose to an individual that the report may include in-depth information about his or her character; general reputation; personal characteristics; mode of living; criminal, driving, and work history, etc. This disclosure must:
    • Be in writing,
    • Be mailed or otherwise delivered to the individual no later than 3 days after the report was first requested, and
    • Include a statement informing the individual of his or her right to request additional disclosures and to receive a written summary of legal rights.

    If an individual does request additional information about the nature and scope of the investigation, an employer must mail or otherwise provide the information within 5 days of receipt of the written request, or the request date of the report, whichever is later.

  • The notice and authorization signed by an applicant or newly hired employee authorizing the employer to obtain a consumer or investigative consumer report should inform the employee that such reports may be obtained at any time during employment. In this way, if the employer wants to obtain a report in conjunction with considering an employee for promotion or termination, the authorization will already be on file. In addition, it is a good practice to provide applicants with the summary of legal rights at the time they sign the authorization and disclosure. This way the employer will be in compliance with the notice requirements for an investigative consumer report.

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