I am a California attorney and not eligible to give legal advice in your state. The following is information only, based on federal law and general legal principles. YOUR STATE MAY HAVE ITS OWN LAWS THAT PROVIDE SIMILAR OR GREATER PROTECTION. If I refer to your state's laws, that only means I did a quick Internet search and found something that appeared relevant. However, you should not rely on any comment I make regarding your state's law. You MUST check with an attorney licensed in your state.
There are different levels of background checks. Background checks can be superficial or can be detailed and intensive. It all depends on what the employer wants to pay for. Intensive background checks are more likely in certain kinds of jobs, and the areas investigated may vary with the type of job involved.
Court records are a common source of information for background checks. These records are open to the public and anyone can gain access to them. Many court records are available on the Internet and can be found easily and without charge. If you have been a party in a lawsuit (plaintiff, defendant, appellant, respondent, complainant, etc.), that information will show up in this kind of background check.
If an employer conducts a criminal background check, it will probably reveal all adult arrests and convictions for misdemeanors or felonies. Other related information will show up, too, such as diversionary programs, pre-trial intervention, conditional discharges and more. Some of this information can be removed from public records by expungement, which is a way to seal the records so they do not show up. Not all criminal records can be expunged. Expungement is something to discuss with a criminal defense attorney in your state.
Expect anything that is easily available in the public records to show up in a background check. This includes bankruptcies, residential property ownership, names of officers of corporations, and more.
Also, a lot of information can by found by a simple Google search. Try searching for yourself on Google. Put your name in the search box in italics. Do a separate search for each nickname you have. For example, if your name is Oliver Wendell Holmes, you would search for yourself as:
"Oliver Wendell Holmes"
You should also search using any of your nicknames ("Ollie Holmes").
Finally, there are a number of reasons background checks can contain incorrect information. Many employers use a service to conduct background checks; some of these services operate outside the country and may have little incentive to ensure accurate results. Also, some services arrange information in a confusing or misleading or misleading manner. Plus, there are clerical errors and other errors that interfere with accuracy. If an employer conducts a background search on you and finds this kind of information, you will probably never know and never have the opportunity to correct it. You just won’t get the job. For this reason, you may want to purchase a good-quality background check on yourself to see what is out there and what you may need to correct at the source.
*** All legal actions have time limits, called statutes of limitation. If you miss the deadline for filing your claim, you will lose the opportunity to pursue your case. Please consult with an experienced employment attorney as soon as possible to better preserve your rights. *** Marilynn Mika Spencer provides information on Avvo as a service to the public, primarily when general information may be of assistance. Avvo is not an appropriate forum for an in-depth response or a detailed analysis. These comments are for information only and should not be considered legal advice. Legal advice must pertain to specific, detailed facts. No attorney-client relationship is created based on this information exchange. *** Marilynn Mika Spencer is licensed to practice law before all state and federal courts in California, and can appear before administrative agencies throughout the country. She is eligible to represent clients in other states on a pro hac vice basis. ***