Is it Okay to Request Date of Birth for the Purpose of Background Screening?

Job applicants today expect not to be asked for date of birth, because of laws prohibiting age discrimination. As an employer, however, you’ve probably learned that effective background screening often depends on knowing date of birth, and perhaps race as well. It is permissible to request those pieces of information, as long as you keep in mind the following information. All applicants for the same type of work need to be treated the same (request the information and do background checks on every applicant you consider). Get the information on a separate ‘tear-off’ part of the application, and make it clear that the information will be disposed of as soon as it is used for the background check. It cannot become part of the employee’s permanent file.

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