Background checks can be used in a variety of ways. And employer can use a background check to find out who they might be considering for a particular position of employment. These checks would include work history, criminal history, family history, education, as well as other contacts with individuals who are closely related to the person whose background is being checked. While these background checks can sometimes yield wrong information, employers can rely on these reports if it is reasonable to do so, all other facts being equal. In the event that a report is faulty and provides information that is incorrect and the reporting agency knew or should have known that the information was faulty, then a legal claim for negligence may lie against the reporting agency. If the prospective employer however uses the report as a reason for not hiring someone and later it is found that there was nothing in the report that should have kept the employer from hiring a particular person, then the effects of such evidence could be strong against the employer in a failure to hire case.
Alternatively, individuals can use background checks as an excuse for finding out what previous employers are saying about them. For instance, what can you do if you have been terminated, laid off or otherwise removed from a position of employment and in your attempts at finding replacement employment you are discovering information or experiencing treatment by prospective employers that may lead you to believe that your prior employer is saying bad things about you. In that situation you can use companies which can provide a service whereby they will contact your prior employer, acting as a prospective employer, and find out what your prior employer is saying about you. This can be significant information with respect to further retaliation if in fact you are suing your prior employer for discrimination, retaliation or any other lawful claims. Such information will enhance the strength of your claims for lost wages and perhaps punitive damages.