Can a Background Check Reveal My Unemployment History?

Unemployment History will be revealed by a background check or not?


Unemployment history is a critical piece of information to the government and your profile.

Millions of workers across the US have been laid-off in recent weeks in the aftermath of the COVID-19 pandemic. These people are now eligible to file unemployment claims with the government and obtain some financial relief until they get a new job. Soon, many of them could be able to hold China financially responsible but that’s another topic.

In this situation, many candidates may want to know whether a new prospective employer can discover that they are collecting unemployment. It is important to understand that your last employer where you worked will be notified if you have filed an unemployment claim. The reason is that in most states it is the employers who fund the unemployment benefits.


According to FRED Economic Data \”The unemployment rate represents the number of unemployed as a percentage of the labor force.\”

The following graph shows the history of unemployment rates in the U.S, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics



Who will be Notified if You File an Unemployment Claim?


Might be surprising for some, but yes, both.

Your present employer

You are not eligible to apply for unemployment benefits if you are currently employed and there is no change in your pay. However, if your employer has reduced your work hours or some other circumstances have resulted in reduced pay, you can file for benefits even while you are employed. In this situation, your current employer will be notified about your claim.

Your past employer

If you have filed an unemployment claim, your last employer will be notified (and possibly other ex-employees) to verify your earning and your dates of employment. You should know that your unemployment claim can be contested by your former employer if they believe you are ineligible to collect this benefit.


Can a Prospective Employer Know about Your Unemployment Claim?


An important question is whether your prospective employers (companies that you are interviewing with for a new job) can check your unemployment record to determine your actual unemployment periods. Also, you need to know after you have joined a new job, can your employer discover that you have been claiming unemployment benefits?

The answer to this question is that it depends on the background check service provider whether they are willing or able to provide that information to the employer while complying with the state and local laws. Your prospective employer will not be able to obtain this information from the government.

No confidential file exists with the government relating to your entire employment or unemployment history and your career ups and downs (and certainly not one that a prospective employer might access).


What Information Regarding Unemployment History Can be Disclosed?


Details related to your unemployment benefits will not be disclosed by the unemployment office because it is against the law for a government agency to make public any individual’s unemployment benefits. These are not public records.

In other words, when a professional background check service provider or a prospective employer wishes to find out the details of your employment history (or the gaps in employment), they have to find out that information on their own.


Can a Background Check Company Uncover Your Past Employment Gaps?


You should be aware that for professional background check companies, it is not difficult to find out whether a job applicant has been continuously employed in the past. They can use their network to call up your former employers and request them to verify the accuracy of your claims regarding your employment.

By putting together feedback from your various former employers, they can get a fair idea of your work history and know about any employment gaps. Therefore, it would be unwise for you to hide or misrepresent your employment history or gaps in employment during the job selection process.


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