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Background Checks on Minors - 3 Important Considerations

Is your organization considering hiring minors? Screening minors before bringing them into your organization is just as important as conducting background checks on adults, with a few caveats to consider during the process.

Is it Legal to conduct background checks on minors?

Yes, it is legal to run a background check on a minor. Just like conducting any background check, screening minors requires the employer to follow the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA). The only difference is regarding the authorization and disclosure forms. Legally, minors are unable to enter into legally-binding agreements. You may want to consider adding an authorization form that includes consent from the minor’s parent or guardian.

What Will I See on a Minor’s Background Check?

    1. Criminal Records
      When it comes to obtaining criminal records, there are laws in place to protect minors, and juvenile courts seal minor criminal records. Therefore, courts will not release a minor’s criminal record, even with a public inquiry.

      Although there are laws in place to protect access to a minor’s criminal record, there are exceptions. 
      • If the minor was convicted as an adult, the records are typically not sealed and are likely to be open to public inquiry. 
      • Depending on the jurisdiction, state sex offender registry information will also be available for public inquiry. 

The amount of case information and detail, however, will vary. The National Conference of State Legislators offers additional information here on state by state laws regarding age of jurisdiction and the transfer to adult court laws.

Note: Be sure to check with your legal counsel to identify what you are able to do depending on the state of employment.

   2. Employment and Education
       Past employment and education verifications should be available for
       minors. If a minor has worked or volunteered, this information should be
       easily verified through primary source verification. The process to verify
       employment and education is the same as it would be for an adult.

           3. Credit
              Credit history on minors may be obtained; however, minors are typically
              unable to obtain credit until the age of 18. If they were able to obtain a loan,
              perhaps purchasing an item with a parental co-signer, the minor may have
              a brief credit history. Of course, as with adult background checks, state and
              city credit restrictions still apply.

What should I consider implementing when conducting background checks on minors?

Consider implementing a policy regarding background checks for minors Proper screening is an important part of your onboarding process. That shouldn’t change for employees who are minors. If you determine you want to conduct background checks on minor applicants, be sure you have a clear policy in place, keeping in mind the importance of obtaining legal consent. InCheck recommends that you work with your legal counsel to ensure your screening policies are consistent and compliant.

As previously mentioned, employers may consider adding an authorization and disclosure form signed by the minor’s parent or legal guardian. The parent or legal guardian would be able to provide the legally-binding consent to the employer to conduct the background check.

Disclaimer: This blog is for general informational purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice.

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