Which background checks rankle workers

Ever been bankrupt? The boss may want to know.

Employee screening is nothing new. But in the post-Sept. 11 era, many employers have greatly intensified their scrutiny of the backgrounds of both current workers and job applicants.

Some workers and prospective hires now charge that firms are going too far, invading their privacy by digging up information with no real bearing on security, then using it as grounds for dismissal, discipline, or rejection.

A great majority of workers favor some type of background checks, but have misgivings about others, according to a new survey by Privacy & American Business magazine. Among its findings:

• 92 percent favor checking whether job applicants' résumés contain false information.

• 91 percent approve of background checks for sexual offenses and criminal records.

• 33 percent support checking whether job applicants were party to a civil lawsuit.

• 28 percent approve of checking credit histories of job applicants.

• 24 percent favor checking job applicants for bankruptcy filings.

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