Content Dam Diq Online Articles 2018 06 Background Check 1

Planning background checks for new employees? What dentists should know

June 12, 2018
Many dentists are implementing background checks as part of hiring new dental employees. It's important to know what your legal requirements are before conducting the checks. Here are some important guidelines.
Do you run background checks on potential new employees? Many companies, including dental practices, now make background checks on potential employees part of the hiring process.
The increased demand for background checks has shed light on the new regulations. These involve the ability of employers to gain information, and there are major penalties imposed on businesses that don’t comply. Another confusing thing is that the regulations are not universal. The guidelines vary according to federal, state, and local jurisdictions.

Some of the topics covered under the new guidelines are:

1. When can the background check be introduced to an applicant as part of the hiring process?
2. How in-depth can the investigation go?
3. When and where are credit checks allowed?
4. What release forms are needed to undertake background checks?
5. What information can be required on a current employment application? What should definitely not be on the application?
6. What questions are allowed during the interview, and which are unacceptable?
7. How far back can an applicant be checked for criminal charges? Will it affect the hiring decision?
8. What role can social media play in investigating a person?
9. Are hiring companies allowed to verify driving records, college degrees, job history (including titles, responsibilities, and compensation), and references?
10. How does a company handle negative results from a background report? What are the rights of applicants in these cases?

Many of these procedures have been practiced for many years. However, the playing field has changed dramatically recently due to two major factors: (1) recent laws are specifically designed to protect the privacy and rights of individual applicants, and (2) the emphasis is now on cyber security and the many cases and concerns of having confidential information hacked or compromised.

The goal of these changes is to make potential employers take as many steps as necessary to protect at all times the privileged information provided by a potential employee. The steps for performing a background check are not overly complicated, however, the biggest mistakes occur when companies do not understand the rules and then break them. The penalties for a violation of the laws are being levied not only at the hiring companies but also at credit reporting agencies and background companies. Companies must adhere to specific guidelines when requesting a background report.

The best way to ensure that your background checks are done legally is to meet with the background company you’re using and have their reps explain the jurisdiction guidelines for your company’s locale. You should ask them to review and explain the forms that are used so that you understand the forms and searches performed on your behalf.

Some of the forms that should be used for searches in several states include:

• Authorization acknowledgement pre-employment
• Disclosure consumer report pre-employment
• Information form pre-employment
• College or advanced degree verification form (used only when degree or attendance verification is required)
• A sample of your rights under the Fair Credit Reporting Act
• Samples of pre-adverse and adverse letters

It is recommended that you have your corporate counsel review any documents being implemented with regard to searches to ensure legal compliance. As a business owner, it’s advisable to be aware of the current regulations regarding background checks to make sure that the screenings performed on your dental practice’s behalf will result in hiring the best employees.

William Barrett is the CEO of Mandelbaum Salsburg PC in Roseland, New Jersey, and chair of the Professional Practice Transitions Group, as well as head of the dental practice team. Mr. Barrett has extensive experience in business mergers and acquisitions, startups, commercial transactions, and intellectual property matters. He has represented many dentists and dental specialists in the sale and acquisition of practices. Visit

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