Background Checks


If I need to do a background search on a potential contractor, am I obligated to inform them and/or get their consent?

Legal Contractor

asked May 28 '11 at 08:22
212 points
Get up to $750K in working capital to finance your business: Clarify Capital Business Loans
  • Aside from any legal aspect why would you not tell them? Would you want to work for a company that did a background check on you without telling you? That seems like a terrible idea. – Tim J 13 years ago
  • @Tim I'm sure I **have** - but it sounds like I can't prove it. – Aj. 13 years ago
  • I doubt that. A google search of the essentials of your question confirms my guess that an employer must get a signed form from a prospect before doing a check if done by an outside party. – Tim J 13 years ago
  • I am not piling on here but I do have a question. What is the advantage of not either informing them or getting their consent? – Kenneth Vogt 13 years ago
  • I don't see an advantage to not getting consent. But as with anything else, I want to know what I am **legally obligated** to do. Let's say I hire an intern and ask them to handle HR work for me. If they ran a background check on someone, without their consent, and using the company account, does that expose my company? If I'm not **legally obligated** to get consent from the subject of the search, then the answer is "no". I want to know where the legal boundaries lie in this situation, whether civil or criminal. – Aj. 13 years ago

2 Answers


I am not sure if this is law, but considering background checks aren't cheap, i'd ask for the candidates consent. The first reason is to be covered by law, the second reason, if the candidate refuses to grant consent or vanishes, I just saved myself a ton of money, once on the background check itself, second on having a potentially bad employee.

answered May 28 '11 at 08:25
Ron M.
4,224 points
  • Yes. It also save a lot of contractors the hassle working for you. I normalle get up and out of the room if a potential client does that. You also dont run background checks on your doctor and lawyer, and I demand being treaded with the same professional coutesy you treat them. – Net Tecture 13 years ago
  • "You also dont run background checks on your doctor and lawyer", hum, if you (or a close relative) need a very heavy surgery, I pretty sure you will do a background check on the surgeon. – Sylvain Peyronnet 13 years ago
  • No, you wont. Not in thie way. You may talk o the hospital or check ereferences, but I am sure you will not hire an investigative firm about the doctor. – Net Tecture 13 years ago
  • Well, my mistake then, I will investigate by myself, but not hire someone to do that. And it will be the same when it comes to hire someone. – Sylvain Peyronnet 13 years ago


Hmn, "background check", that's a bit vague and doesn't describe what kind of information is actually gathered. There is an industry of 'private investigators' who actually don't do anything other than gather information from public sources. Given that the words "background check" don't accurately explain which information is actually gathered, I don't see how we can answer your question on whether the contractors needs to know.

But, my gut feeling says you're going in a wrong direction here. The classical, time-proven, non-offensive way of learning more about a contractor is to ask for a list of references -- and actually call them & ask good questions. That's what I would generally suggest to do instead.

answered May 28 '11 at 17:41
Jesper Mortensen
15,292 points

Your Answer

  • Bold
  • Italic
  • • Bullets
  • 1. Numbers
  • Quote
Not the answer you're looking for? Ask your own question or browse other questions in these topics:

Legal Contractor