Understanding International Background Checks in the Age of Privacy and Data Security Concerns

Alex Erlam, General Counsel, Vertical Screen Inc, USA

Background checks on applicants and employees are an increasingly common fact of life in the business world, particularly for financial services companies, healthcare providers and any business handling personal or sensitive data. However, as commerce becomes more global in scope, the need to conduct background checks on an international basis grows and becomes more complex. Many U.S. companies assume background checks are the same around the world as they are domestically. But, U.S. firms are permitted to ask for information that European employers would not and could not access. Additionally, U.S. employers can check information on U.S. applicants, such as credit history, that doesn't even exist in some countries. The difference between U.S. privacy laws and data security considerations and those of the E.U. and other countries is vast, a fact few employers fully understand. This paper explores the topic of international background checks, outlining the differences between U.S. and E.U. laws governing applicant screening; common misconceptions businesses have about what information can and cannot be used in making a hiring decision in different countries; and where the trend toward international background checks is headed.

Read full paper Subscribe to the IICJ
USA Data Protection IT April 2008 Vol. 1, No. 3, Spring 2008

Alex Erlam

More

In his 15 years in practice, N. Alexander Erlam, Esq., general counsel for Vertical Screen, Inc., has developed employment law expertise in privacy and background screening law (Fair Credit Reporting Act, the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act and the Drivers Privacy Protection Act), discrimination law (federal and state anti-discrimination statutes), immigration law, international employment and privacy law and general human resources topics. Since joining Vertical Screen, Mr. Erlam has built on the employment law experience he gained while serving as general counsel and vice president of ACCU Personnel, Inc., New Jersey's largest personnel provider. He regularly shares his expertise on employment law topics by writing and speaking at seminars and appearing on television and radio programs. Mr. Erlam also served as an adjunct professor at the Rutgers University School of Business, teaching employment law to MBA students. Mr. Erlam chairs the Employment and Labor Law Committee of the Delaware Valley Chapter of the Association of Corporate Counsel (DELVACCA), in addition to serving as the organization's 2nd Vice President. In these roles, he participates in shaping and executing DELVACCA's mission and goals, and fostering its growth through membership programs and activities. Mr. Erlam is a graduate of Villanova University and the Temple University School of Law. Prior to attending law school, he was also certified as a paralegal by the Philadelphia Institute. In his role at Vertical Screen, Mr. Erlam directs the company's legal affairs and is responsible for maintaining its compliance with all applicable laws and regulations. He serves as an expert resource to Vertical Screen clients on legal and regulatory developments and case law.

Vertical Screen Inc

More

Vertical Screen family of companies, founded in 1989, utilizes technologically advanced resources to provide background screening and fingerprint collection, drug testing and occupational health screening and DOT compliance services to a select group of more than 300 major U.S. firms. There are three Vertical Screen companies: Business Information Group (BIG), which serves the financial services industry; Certiphi Screening, which serves the healthcare community; and Truescreen, which focuses on industries in the general business sector. Vertical Screen employs 265 people and maintains two facilities: a corporate headquarters and research facility in Southampton, Pennsylvania, and a technology centre and research facility in Marlton, New Jersey. It is one of the first companies in the applicant screening industry to receive ISO 9001:200 Quality Management Certification.

USA Data Protection IT April 2008 Vol. 1, No. 3, Spring 2008
False