Resource:

Compliance Issue Analysis: Alternative Methods for Verifying Employment

Learn about alternatives used by organizations to verify employment information if an applicant’s previous employer is unresponsive or out of business.


Compliance Issue Analysis cover imageQuestion:

Are there alternative ways to verify employment if an applicant’s previous employer is unresponsive or out of business?

Analysis:

Yes, but many of these alternatives include legal risks and should therefore be used with an abundance of caution. Employers would be well-advised to request alternative documentation only after extending a conditional offer of employment that includes salary information and to request that the applicant mask or redact any protected or irrelevant information.

Some alternatives used by organizations to verify employment information if an applicant’s previous employer is unresponsive or out of business include asking for W-2s, pay stubs and tax return documents.

However, when asking for these alternative documents, employers must be cautious of various laws that may prohibit such practices or that may open such practices up to potential legal challenges. For example, Rhode Island prohibits employers from asking for W-2s and other tax-related documents as a condition of employment. Thus, in this state, employers would have to ask for pay stubs or other non-tax-related documentation to complete the employment verification.

Further, asking for such documents may violate some recent laws that prohibit employers from inquiring into an applicant’s salary history. Thus, employers who use the above alternative methods to verify employment information would be well-advised to ensure that such practices are not
prohibited in the jurisdictions in which they operate.

Download this Compliance Issue Analysis to learn more.