What does the law say about employment history checks?

Can my former employer disclose why I left my job or can they only disclose start and end dates? I also omitted 2 former employers from my resume because I was only there for less than a month. Can new employers somehow find about these former employers if I omit them from my resume? If so, how? Through public records? My social security number? Do new employers have to inform me in writing if they will be doing an employment history check?

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3 Responses to “What does the law say about employment history checks?”

  1. Monkey Spanka Says:

    Can new employers somehow find about these former employers if I omit them from my resume? If so, how?

    Yes unfortunatly they can, and one place I am applying for now uses theworknumber.com and they show your past ten years of employment history, and there are MANY agencies that do the same thing as well.

  2. Beneficentia Says:

    They do have to let you know if they will be doing one, but they probably DID let you know, when you gave them the information that you gave them. Your former employer can disclose what they want, but most corporations have policies of just confirming dates and whether or not you left voluntarily, because they fear lawsuits. An employment agency or any background checking specialist will nonetheless usually get to ask some more probing questions- this is why they ask for your supervisor’s contact info rather than the company’s HR department number. Your supervisor will probably not answer too many questions, but they will ask, "If you had your own [lawn-mowing or whatever] company, would you hire [Joe]?" If your old boss says no, you are screwed. If you are concerned that you will get negative references, get your nerves together and contact your old supervisor, explain that you are having trouble with your job search, and that you need their help. If they fired you, they probably feel bad and want you to be employed, just so they don’t have the guilt, so apologize sincerely for whatever you did, and ask if they will say that you resigned, or that you were laid off in a non-punitive manner. I do not THINK they could find out about jobs you do not tell them about. If you are applying for a high-level position or a position which requires a security clearance, different rules apply, of course, but if not I doubt they would pay for that level of background check. What they will do is ask you about the suspicious gaps in your resume, and you will have to explain what you were doing. If you lie, and they EVER catch you in it, you are in big trouble. Put as positive a spin on it as you can, but never, ever, lie to a prospective employer.

  3. wizbangs Says:

    They can disclose anything that is factual, but usually only disclose start and end dates because most HR people don’t want to risk saying anything else.

    There’s no way for them to trace those other 2 employers unless they find out from a third person. (I found out that some one had omitted 2 jobs when a friend of hers who worked at my company let it slip).

    They don’t have to notify you in writing they are doing an employment history check. But, the only way it can be done is by you giving them the names and addresses of your prior employers. They don’t have access to some Top Secret database (like the IRS) to uncover all this stuff. So, no worries there.

    The only thing they need your approval for (and can get in depth information on) is for criminal background checks and credit checks. Neither of those touch on prior employers.