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Employers can conduct background checks on your employment, conviction, and credit histories. In some occupations, they are required by law to conduct background checks. Employers should only use this information when it relates to the duties of the job. As a Job Seeker, you should know your rights and what to expect regarding background checks.
Information and advice
The Privacy Rights Clearinghouse has several free publications that discuss the legalities of employment checks and list links to other resources. Their Job Seekers Guide tells you what can be covered in a background report, your rights under the Fair Credit Reporting Act, and what you can do to prepare yourself.
NOLO.com has an informative articles on background checks and other topics such as testing employees and privacy in the workplace. These are directed at employers but provide valuable information to employees as well. NOLO.com provides online, do-it-yourself legal solutions for consumers and small businesses.
The Federal Trade Commission is involved with employment background checks. Consumer credit laws also regulate using credit checks for employment purposes. See Using Consumer Reports: What Employers Need to Know and the FTC web page on consumer credit.
The Department of Workforce Development, Equal Rights Division provides information on Wisconsin Fair Employment and discrimination on arrest and conviction records. The hiring process, including use of background checks, should avoid illegal discrimination. All information used to screen applicants for jobs should relate to the duties of the jobs.
Help with background problems
If you have background problems, you can take action to improve your situation. Go to Personal Finances to learn about managing your money and getting out of debt.
The Privacy Rights Clearinghouse has a publication to help with overcoming criminal records issues. See Criminal Records and Getting Back into the Workforce: Six Critical Steps for Ex-offenders Trying to Get Back into the Workforce.