Not-So-Unlikely Bedfellows? The FTC and the EEOC Join Forces to Issue Guidance on Employment Background Checks


For the first time, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) have worked together to publish two guidance documents about employment background checks. One document, “Background Checks: What Employers Need to Know,” reminds employers that federal laws restrict employers’ collection and use of employees’ and applicants’ background information. The other document, “Background Checks: What Job Applicants and Employees Should Know,” informs individuals about their rights under federal laws, including the right to review background reports for accuracy.

It stands to reason that the FTC and the EEOC would coordinate their efforts on this front, since both agencies are concerned with the use of employment background checks—the EEOC enforces federal laws against employment discrimination, while the FTC enforces the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA), the law that regulates the use of “consumer report” information in a number of different employment, financial, and other contexts.

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