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Background screening laws change in Tennessee

Feb 04, 2013 Quinn Thomas

Background screening laws change in Tennessee

Background checks are a crucial component of the on-boarding process in employment firms, as these practices are the first line of defense against hiring ineligible or potentially dangerous individuals. Businesses need to be especially vigilant in screening processes because of the ever-expanding variety of criminals in the population today.

However, companies need to maintain lawful background screening processes to avoid fines and other penalties from watchdog agencies. Further, strong and efficient background screening policies will ensure a company acquires the talent it needs in a timely fashion and prevents the loss of potentially strong candidates as a result of inaccurate checks.

New laws in Tennessee

Bass, Berry & Sims recently released guidance on background screening laws pertaining to employers in the state of Tennessee, explaining that as of January 1, a new set of requirements was released under the Tennessee Lawful Employment Act (TLEA) and Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA). According to the firm, the state released new rules in an effort to reduce the number of illegal immigrants being hired by businesses.

The TLEA demands employers verify identities through a variety of methods, such as ensuring the legitimacy of state driver's licenses, government-issued birth certificates, proof of birth abroad, valid alien registrations or certificates of naturalization or citizenship. Additionally, the state's employers can use evidence of participation in the federal E-Verify program to prove that applicants are legally permitted to work in the United States.

The firm explained that these same requirements apply to non-employees as well, such as individuals hired for contract work but not on payroll. Failure to meet these statutes for either employees or contract workers could result in fines that become higher with each offense, starting at $500 per non-verified individual.

Finally, Bass, Berry & Sims explained that the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) transferred enforcement responsibilities to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) this year, and that employers will need to fill out new forms to maintain lawful practices in 2013.

Federal, state laws complex
Background screening requirements continue to become more complex with the passing of each year, and many states have started to pass more aggressive legislation to protect consumers, employees and employment firms. As a result, firms need to ensure they are keeping up with new laws and maintaining strong background screening processes to keep operations running smoothly.

When in doubt, companies can gain an advantage through the use of a firm that specializes in background screening processes.