Looking at a potential consulting client, I have no qualms about running a quick Google search, and checking my local county court records for arrests and lawsuits. The other day, I Googled someone, simply looking for the correct name of someone’s business. I found the company – and I also stumbled upon her plea in a tax fraud and tax evasion scheme in which she was an active participant. I didn’t see this in her personality at all, so it threw me. One never knows.
Many companies have started to run a credit report on potential employees. Personally, I questions whether most would know what to do with the information, but I digress. More importantly, any employer that does this has to abide by the federal Fair Credit Reporting Act. Your own state may also have its own rules about using outside agencies to compile information on a potential employee. Using your own employees may exempt you from certain notice provisions in the law – that is, you have to provide the employee with a clear form stating that you are going to request such reports, and the candidate has to consent to this.
A good summary article on this come from Matt Gomes of the Nelson Mullins law firm in Atlanta. His article in the firm’s newsletter can be found here. A worthwhile read – and yes, it’s readable to the layperson.