In recent years, the scope of the typical background check has been expanded considerably. Among the main reasons for this are the greater focus on risk reduction in every sphere of life and especially business and employment and the easier access to public records via the web. One of the major concerns which people have is whether a check can include details about the private life of the person. Let’s find out.
Under law, employers do not have the right to make recruitment decisions based on personal factors such as marital status, family size, ethnicity, religion and many more. They are required to hire specially approved background check companies that do not cover these details in their searches. Additionally, they cannot ask you questions regarding the factors described above. This is all done for the purpose of preventing discrimination. However, you have to keep in mind that personal information can pop up during the process of verifying the person’s identity and address. Even if this happens, it must not be taken into consideration when the employment decision is made.
When the check is performed for or by a private person, all personal information which is publically available can be checked. Birth records provide details on the date and place of birth and on the parents. Marriage records contain information on the time and place of the event and on the addresses of the spouses at the time. The divorce records are typically the most thorough of all. They have information not only on the spouses, but on their children as well.
All medical records are strictly confidential. They cannot be accessed by anyone else apart from you and your doctor. The only way in which an employer can obtain this sensitive information as part of a background check or for other purposes is with your written permission.
There are some exceptions to the general rule that you need to be aware of. Certain disabilities can be disclosed directly if they will have an impact on the performance of specific job duties. Similarly, if the recruitment process involves a medical check and you agree to go through it, the results will be made available directly to the potential employer.
Even though a formal background check cannot cover matters from your personal life, such information can appear during the search. It can come from public records and directly from online personal profiles which can be viewed by the public. It cannot be used for making an employment decision, however.