Do You Use a Tenant Screening Report as an Employee Background Check?

by Joe Killinger

We occasionally hear from some management companies about how they are using their credit and background check system in lieu of an actual employment background check report. Due to the fact that this is illegal it may create a legal situation for their company. It also doesn’t give them the correct reports that are required for employment screening.  Many states have specific laws prohibiting full credit and other reports for the use of employment screening, as do the credit agencies themselves.

The credit and background reporting for tenants are a completely different set of parameters than those of an employee background check.  Typically, if allowed by the state, a credit report for employment screening will have limited information on it.  Additionally, by using an actual employment screening report, an employer will have many additional reports available to them that are not offered with tenant screening.  Many of these reports are specific towards the job description the person has applied for i.e.,:  driving records for an employee who will be driving a company vehicle.

Of larger concern for an employer is that they really must be aware of the types of reports they are allowed to run in regards to the type of job and/or job description for the individual they are vetting out.  If an employer runs a report that is not pertinent to the job and uses it to make a decision not to hire that person, they may be opening up legal liability (both civil and criminal).

Probably one of the biggest reasons to run the correct reports is that each state has different laws regarding the reporting for employment screening and for tenant screening which are usually vastly different. If you do not follow these regulations there can be significant penalties. Ultimately, it is very important to run employment screening. However, it is critical to work with a screening company that knows state regulations and specifically offers the right type of reports for employment screening to limit your liability.