In our HR department, we do background checks on potential employees. Sometimes there is a delay in processing. When that happens the HR manager sends an email to everyone from a director to a secretary saying something like, “Delay in criminal report and 2nd drug test.” I just believe the perception of this kind of delay gives out negative consequences and breaks confidentiality. Is there something that says they can only say, “There is a delay”? I wouldn’t want everyone to know I had a day delay in the criminal background check.

Rita Risser Chai replies:

There is a network of laws concerning drug testing at both the federal and state levels that could have specific requirements.But as a general rule, you’re right, the fewer people who are given sensitive information, and the less information they’re given, the better. Best practice is to tell only those with a need to know that there is a delay, without specifying the reason. Only the HR representative who is processing the background check, and perhaps his or her supervisor, need to know the reason for the delay.

Posted 01-15-2016

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