Conducting employee background checks.

Briefly explain your overall understanding of conducting employee background checks. Why are they done? Why are they important? Be clear with your discussion.
Identify and discuss at least two types of background checks you believe most organizations conduct and explain how you will ensure the types you select are properly administered in the company.
List and describe at least five employee drug-testing procedures you would implement to comply with state drug-testing laws. How would you ensure adherence to the procedures?
Briefly discuss your understanding of bona fide occupational qualification (BFOQ), affirmative action preferences, and promotions. Then, identify at least three actions you would take to avoid employment law issues with these topics. Be specific.

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Sample Answer

Employee Background Checks

An employee background check is a process of collecting information about a job applicant’s past, including their education, employment history, criminal history, and credit history. Background checks are conducted to help employers make informed decisions about hiring and employment.

There are many reasons why employers conduct background checks. Some of the most common reasons include:

  • To assess the applicant’s suitability for the job
  • To protect the employer’s interests, such as by preventing the hiring of a dishonest or criminal employee
  • To comply with legal requirements, such as those related to child labor or financial services

Background checks can be conducted by the employer themselves or by a third-party vendor. The types of information that can be collected in a background check vary depending on the state and the position being applied for.

Full Answer Section

Here are two of the most common types of background checks:

  • Criminal background check: This type of check typically includes a search of the applicant’s criminal history, including arrests, convictions, and pending charges.
  • Employment verification: This type of check verifies the applicant’s employment history and education.

To ensure that the background checks are properly administered, employers should:

  • Get the applicant’s consent before conducting the check
  • Use a reputable third-party vendor
  • Restrict the scope of the check to the information that is relevant to the job
  • Protect the applicant’s privacy

Employee Drug Testing

Drug testing is the process of testing an employee’s urine, blood, or saliva for the presence of drugs. Drug testing is conducted to help employers ensure that their employees are not under the influence of drugs while on the job.

There are many different types of drug tests available, but the most common type is a urine test. Urine tests are relatively inexpensive and easy to administer. However, they can be inaccurate, as they can detect drugs that have been in the body for several days.

Other types of drug tests include blood tests, saliva tests, and hair tests. Blood tests are the most accurate type of drug test, but they are also the most expensive and invasive. Saliva tests are less accurate than blood tests, but they are less invasive. Hair tests can detect drug use for several months, but they are also less accurate than blood tests.

To comply with state drug-testing laws, employers should:

  • Get the employee’s consent before conducting the test
  • Use a reputable laboratory
  • Notify the employee of the results of the test
  • Protect the employee’s privacy

Here are five employee drug-testing procedures that I would implement to comply with state drug-testing laws:

  1. Only test employees who are in safety-sensitive positions.
  2. Obtain the employee’s consent before conducting the test.
  3. Use a reputable laboratory.
  4. Notify the employee of the results of the test.
  5. Protect the employee’s privacy.

Bona Fide Occupational Qualification (BFOQ)

A bona fide occupational qualification (BFOQ) is a qualification that is reasonably necessary to the normal operation of a business. BFOQs can be used to justify discrimination in employment, such as refusing to hire someone based on their race, religion, or sex.

However, BFOQs are narrowly construed by the courts. To be a valid BFOQ, the qualification must be essential to the job and there must be no other way to achieve the same result without discriminating.

For example, a hospital might be able to justify discriminating against men for the position of ob-gyn, as pregnancy is a bona fide occupational qualification for that position. However, a restaurant would not be able to justify discriminating against men for the position of waiter, as there is no reason why a man could not perform the job just as well as a woman.

Affirmative Action Preferences

Affirmative action preferences are policies that give preferential treatment to members of certain groups, such as women and minorities, in employment, education, and other areas. Affirmative action preferences are intended to address past discrimination and to create a more level playing field for all groups.

However, affirmative action preferences have been controversial, and there is debate about whether they are necessary or effective. Some people argue that affirmative action preferences are unfair to members of majority groups, while others argue that they are necessary to achieve equality.


When promoting employees, employers should avoid discrimination based on race, religion, sex, or other protected characteristics. Employers should also avoid using subjective criteria for promotions, such as “gut feeling” or “fit with the culture.” Instead, employers should use objective criteria, such as performance reviews, skills, and experience.

To avoid employment law issues with these topics, employers should:

  • Get legal advice from an employment lawyer
  • Document all decisions

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