Pre-Employment Screening – Some Practices Are Not Allowed

There are numerous background checks that can be performed on potential new hires, including criminal backgrounds, resume facts, employment verification, drug testing and reference checks. However, there are other sources of information available to those willing to look. The problem is, you might not be within the law if you attempt to use that information in your hiring decision. The following are some of the background checks and information that you can’t subject your potential new hires to when considering them for employment.

Medical Records

While employers are permitted to inquire about a potential employee’s ability to perform certain job functions, refusing to hire them based on any mental or physical impairments is considered discrimination. Further, the Americans with Disabilities Act also prevents requests for medical records as well.

School Records

While some employers may be interested in a potential hire’s educational performance, there are restrictions on those as well. Employers can’t request transcript information, financial information or recommendations from educational facilities without the student’s consent. This information is considered confidential and can’t be shared.

Military Service

Military records can only be released in very limited circumstances, and even then full consent is required. The most information an employer may receive without consent is name and rank, assignments, duty status and awards.


While bankruptcies are public record, employers can’t use that information in their hiring decision. Using this information as a part of the hiring process is prohibited under the Federal Bankruptcy Act, which considers the use of this information to be discriminatory.

Lie Detector or Polygraph Tests

In most cases, employers are prohibited from using lie detector testing as a part of their pre-employment screening. Additionally, they can’t refuse to hire someone due to his or her unwillingness to agree to take a test. There are some cases in which lie detector tests are permitted, such as pharmaceutical manufacturers, dispensers and distributors, and security service firms. However, there are restrictions on their use in these situations as well.

Making sure you are in compliance with all laws relating to the use of personal information during pre-employment background checks is an important way of protecting your company from legal action. You should always check the laws in your state to ensure you understand them prior to completing background checks.

Information &
Customer Care
call us toll free: 1-855-SCAN-MY5
Customer Care Line:
Monday to Friday