If we made horror movies about the things that make us weak in the knees on a day-to-day basis, there would be a blockbuster called Employment Verification Call. What can you say about this former employee? What will get you sued? Can you tell the truth? If so, how much of the truth can you tell?
Answering the phone for an employment verification can be downright terrifying. Most of us have no idea what we can or cannot say, so we adhere to the myth that we can only provide dates of employment. The operative word is ‘myth.’ Legal requirements often vary from state-to-state, but you can often give much more information than merely the dates that the candidate worked with your organization.
It is imperative for a business to understand what information they can gather in an employment verification check, just as it is imperative for a business to understand what they are allowed to say about a former employee.
Employment law is the purview of the state, so all 50 of them have their unique rules. Accordingly, we urge that you familiarize yourself with the regulations set forth by the department of labor for your state. The remainder of this article will deal in generalities, so please check those rules before applying the things you are about to read. Or, should it suit your needs, seek out a reputable employment verification service that will serve the requirements of your home state without any sweat on your forehead.
No federal laws restrict what employers can and cannot say about former employees. Typically, an employer can offer information on the nature in which the employee parted ways (terminated with cause, laid off, resignation, etc.), as well as the reasoning behind a termination, when applicable. A caveat: anything you offer as a former employer must be true and verifiable to avoid welcoming a lawsuit.
For this reason, many of those protagonists in our horror movie only disclose the bare minimum. If you stop at confirming dates of employment, position, and salary, you are free and clear. In the interest of adhering to all state laws, many businesses with inter-state locations will offer a blanket policy of only answering these three questions.
It isn’t an easy task to determine the things you must know about a potential hire from an employment verification check. Keep in mind that it may help to hire someone to maximize the benefits of this function. Otherwise, please stay abreast of the ever-changing requirements for your state. Happy hiring!
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