Friday, February 17, 2012

Ethical issues on Background checks

Ethical Issues on Background checks
            In the next couple of months we are all going to be going through back ground checks to provide information to our future employers, but does our past offer more information than is necessary to determine whether or not we can become valued workers? The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) seeks to ensure equality throughout hiring practices in regards to race, sex, religion, national origin, and color under title 7 of the civil rights act. Even though there are organizations such as the EEOC that keep employers from discriminating against such people, there are still employers that discriminate based on credit scores or employment status. ‘This practice has an unlawful discriminatory impact because of race, national origin, and sex, and is neither job-related nor justified by business necessity," the commission said in its statement.”         There are also cases were people are not hired because of arrests that never lead to convictions. In one account Daniels was asked “During the last 10 years, have you been convicted, been imprisoned, been on probation or been on parole?”  He answered “No,” But a search by the Census Bureau found an FBI record because she was arrested in 2009 following the demonstration against Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan because she blocked a doorway and was charged with disorderly conduct. She spent a few hours in jail, was released on $50 bail, and eventually all the charges were dropped.” (Tahmincioglu)

            Other issues have come up about companies that use the internet to gather information about an individual. Since there is great popularity with these social networking sites employers may find it very useful and easy to research using these tools. Researching potential employees does not involve legal issues because these websites are open to the public. “Even though this information is technically public, it’s also likely to contain tidbits that an organization is not allowed to ask about – such as an impending or current pregnancy (Landers).”  What if your employment was never gained because of the result of the search? Perhaps the search results showed someone with the same name who looked similar to you. Since the employer may not have a good sense of what you look like an identity is likely to be mistaken for another. Amegy Bank of Texas has created guidelines to “navigate the legal landmines” to fill its 45 positions that open up every month.

            On the other side of the argument social networking sites may help provide employers to decide between the people who are seriously searching for employment and those who prefer to spend their casual time partaking in other activities. We can learn a lot about someone simply through their Facebook, because in a lot of ways our friend’s posts reflect what they think of us. Back ground checks provide good information about the past, but how much of the past is actually relevant to people today. If someone commits an offence as a 17 or 18 year old should they continue to be punished as a 30 or 40 year old?


  1. This issue is definitely relevant to all of us because we are going to be applying for jobs in the near future. Personally, I think it’s pretty unethical to use credit scores and social networking sights to gather information about future employees. I understand that getting a job is becoming extremely competitive and we need to make ourselves looks almost flawless to get one. For example, if someone had bad credit because of student loans they took out to receive an education, I don’t think they deserve to be punished or looked down upon. Special circumstances may apply if someone had bad credit besides the assumption that they are not responsible with money. With social networking sites the argument can be made the since you put it online you should expect people to see it. However, many people utilize these sites to connect with friends and have their settings on private so random people cannot access their personal information. I know that some companies have the ability to see your profile anyway. I just feel like that is really a violation of privacy and something that shouldn’t be used against you when trying to get a job.

  2. WE are all human, and we make mistakes. I do feel that background checks shouldn't be a factor in employment unless it is in regards to sexual offenses or drug offenses. A person's education, work experience, resume etc. is what should matter because that is what the company is going to see at first and should go by that anyway.

  3. This is a touchy topic to talk about. The reason for that is because I believe if employees are going to be working with children or encounter children should have a background check. However some of the background requirements are unnecessary such as credit score. But I feel the criminal background should be on the list of requirements. Also I think that social networking should not have affect on the person to see if he/she is able for the job.