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So what is on your PAST employment files and DO YOU REALLY KNOW in North America!

So you left or quit your last job in Canada it is fairly straight forward on what is on your HR files including your job appraisals but in the USA it is a little difference including laws on banning the box. You know that little square box where you click or tick and say YES check me out!

In Canada we are governed by our privacy laws and commissioners in life and when you talking about medical leave, all medical information must be in a sealed envelope. The only information on the personnel file is relating to dates, fitness for duty and modified duties.


And when speaking to when an employee leaves the company. The reason they left the company ie. quit, terminated, retired and are the eligible for re-hire. If there were threats made against the company or any member of the company that will stay on the file as well. this information should be removed from the permanent file after three years.

But in the United State they add a few more thing in the mixture

Potential employers may not conduct a background check on you without your written consent. And they typically won’t do one unless you’re a top candidate for the job.

Legally, they have to get your consent first. But once they start digging, they can find out everything from whether you have a penchant for drinking and driving to whether you have a hard time paying your bills on time.

Termination of employment is common. As a result, prospective employers are used to seeing gaps on résumés. They generally do not reflect badly on the employee, especially if the employee can explain the gap in a tight, non-emotional way. “My position was affected during restructuring” or “Changes in leadership resulted in the fit no longer being there for me” are common reasons to give. They are fact based, direct and generally do not warrant further questions. When emotion is rolled in, questions arise, so keep emotion out of it.

Generally, the only time prospective employers call previous employers is when a red flag is raised in an interview (they suspect you are being dishonest, for example), or they are fact checking. And even if they do call, one job termination is likely not going to affect your chances of further employment.

Liars, thieves, bad-news-bear execs, drug addicts, you name it – employers really don’t want to hire trouble.

Background checks that includes a section devoted to Continuous Screening – employers need to consider these factors:

·        False sense of security, especially if databases are used instead of checking primary sources which can lead to errors.

·        Consent Issues – Does the employee know he or she will be re-screened and the program is in compliance with the federal Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) and state law?

·        Policies and procedure to follow if a record is found.

·        Compliance with the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) rules on the fair and proper use of criminal records to ensure the screening program is not discriminatory under Title XII, and Impact on Workforce.

·        Numerous additional tools beyond background checks that are needed to combat insider threats, such as an environment of control since background checks by themselves are not going to prevent post-hire problems.

·        Issues associated with employee morale and corporate culture.

Advocates of ongoing Continuous Screening suggest it is a way to continue to demonstrate due diligence, protect the workplace, and combat insider threats and workplace violence. There is little in the way of empirical evidence that shows Continuous Screening results in any advantage to employers, says P bar Y Safety. There are no studies to suggest, on a cost-benefit basis, such checks produce results. If such checks are done, the next issue is how. If databases are used, then there is the possibility of both false positives and false negatives since databases available to private employers are not always complete, accurate, or up to date. In large states like California, New York, and Texas, such database searches have very limited value.

If an employee withdraws consent, the question arises if the employee can be terminated for refusal to consent. It is clear that employers have much more discretion in requiring pre-employment testing, based on the fact that they do not have experience with the applicant. For that reason, courts have granted wider latitude pre-hire. However, once someone is employed, the necessity argument is less convincing since the employer now has a history with the worker.

In addition, P bar Y Safety explains that a firm needs a well laid out policy in an employee manual as to how they will deal with a new criminal record that may be uncovered during a periodic check.

Although pre-employment background checks are often cited as an essential element of an insider threat prevention program, they are just one part of an overall strategy. The identification and prevention of insider threats requires an inter-disciplinary approach that can include mental health assessments, psychological testing, physical security, internal controls, continuous evaluation of personnel, supervisor and co-worker training to recognize danger signals, identification of risk factors, sharing and analyzing information between responsible parties, and a culture of safety, reporting, and integrity. Most critically, an organization needs to have a commitment to prevent these threats, and a leadership team and professionals who are able to formulate and implement an overall strategy.

And some items in a background check are very job-specific. For instance, if you’re applying to be a truck driver or a traveling salesman, they may check your driving record to see if you’ve had any serious violations, such as DUIs, or if your license has ever been revoked.

Want to work for the financial services industry? They may run your credit report. While credit report requests have been on the decline — and some states now prohibit employers from using them altogether — federal guidelines allow employers to access credit reports as long as they have a “compelling business rationale.”

Employers may also check to see that you don’t appear on any terrorist watch lists. While publicly available, some private companies have compiled them in one place, kept them updated and made them searchable.

So what happens if a prospective employer finds something bad in your background check?

The Fair Credit Reporting Act, which governs the treatment of consumer reports, doesn’t specify but typically the minimum is 5 days, unless an individual state requires longer, according to NAPBS.

In reality, though, that’s probably not enough time to correct any disputed information in your report. And the employer may still decide it’s ultimately easier to move on to another candidate.

If it does, it must send you another letter – called an “adverse action” letter – indicating that the decision not to hire you was based on something in your background check, and it must furnish you with contact information for the firm that generated the report.

Want to get an idea of what employers might see about you? Stephen recommends requesting your own Lexis/Nexis Accurint Person Report, which is free.

There are other ways, of course, for an employer to get a beat on you: for instance, scanning social media. But employers are learning they can’t necessarily rely on that information since they can’t verify it.

But then some states, such as Arkansas and New Mexico, prohibited the practice and other states have proposed legislation to do so, although it is not prohibited at the federal level.

Putting a face with a name is how some people say they associate characteristics and attributes of people they encounter. In HR practices, however, putting a face with a name can be a dangerous practice, which is why many employers don’t maintain employee photographs in their personnel files. The legality of keeping employees’ photographs in personnel files is somewhat hazy.

Employers maintain personnel files for easy reference to employee qualifications, assignments and performance. The contents of a personnel file include signed acknowledgements for workplace policies and the employee handbook; discipline and corrective action forms; performance appraisals; commendations; and informal notes on supervisor feedback. Health and medical information, protected under the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA), is kept in separate files accessible only by the employer’s privacy officer. There exists no federal law that strictly prohibits storing employees’ photographs in their personnel files. However, there are certainly reasons why employers should either keep photographs separate from personnel information or not keep them at all.

I-9 Employment Eligibility Form

The Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1986 mandates the use of an I-9 form to verify an employee’s eligibility to work for U.S. employers. This form requires that positive identification such as a passport, work visa, birth certificate or driver’s license be kept with the form as supporting documentation.

Most HR practitioners have probably heard the familiar refrain that the main difference between modern human resources management (HRM) practices and old school personnel management is that HRM focuses on aligning an organization’s people strategy with its overall business strategy, while personnel was confined to “transactional” activities such as “hiring, firing and recordkeeping.”

Employment files need not be kept in old fashioned hard copy format – and indeed employee information is much more usable and can most easily be “sliced and diced” when it’s in electronic format. While hard copies of certain documents such as employment contracts, performance appraisals, disciplinary letters and release agreements should probably be kept, even many of those types of documents can be scanned, digitized or moved online and into a human resources information system (HRIS).

Privacy legislation is important, particularly in jurisdictions where the employment relationship is covered by private sector privacy legislation. As well as preventing disclosure of private and confidential information, privacy legislation also limits the amount of information kept on file with respect to personal employee information, requires consent in many cases for collecting information, ensures that information is accurate and appropriate for the purposes in question, allows individuals to access their own information and requires that employers have appropriate safeguards in place around personal employee information.

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