New Jersey Criminal Background Checks Lawyers

Employers may conduct criminal background checks during the hiring process, and the report may affect whether an applicant is hired for a particular job. Existing employees, volunteers, and interns may also be asked to submit to background checks. Federal or state law may require criminal background checks for certain types of jobs. With homeland security and safety in the workplace taking center stage in the United States today, there has been a dramatic increase in the number of employment background checks conducted by businesses each year.  Employers conduct background checks to reinforce their decision to hire and to prevent injury to the business due to negligent hiring.

The federal Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) sets national standards for employment screening and applies to background checks performed by an outside company or “consumer reporting agency.” When the employer conducts background checks in-house, this law does not apply.

Under the FCRA, there are some records that cannot be reported (jobs with an annual salary of $75,000 or more a year are not subject to these reporting restrictions).  These include:

  • Bankruptcies after 10 years;
  • Civil suits;
  • Civil judgments;
  • Records of arrest, from date of entry, after seven years;
  • Paid tax liens after seven years;
  • Accounts placed for collection after seven years; and
  • Any other negative information (except criminal convictions) after seven years.  Criminal convictions are reportable indefinitely.

In New Jersey, human resources offices often perform investigative consumer reports in addition to performing traditional consumer credit reports when running background checks on job candidates. With these reports, which might include an investigation into a person’s online activity, such as a MySpace or Facebook account, employers learn about employee and applicant personal characteristics and reputation that make them suitable or not suitable for a particular job. To obtain a credit report or investigative credit report, an employer must have a legitimate business need for the report.

Given the complexities of running Background Checks in New Jersey, we advise you to contact one of our experienced employment attorneys or closely-held business lawyers at 973-627-7300 at Einhorn Harris today. We handle employment issues throughout New Jersey.