Is it okay for someone to check your background without your consent?

UPDATED: May 21, 2009

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Is it okay for someone to check your background without your consent?

My husband is employed by a contracting company that makes government buildings here in Texas. This company was contracted by a U.S. Border Patrol Agency here in south Texas. After 2 weeks of my husband being stationed here, one of the patrol agent’s asks to see his drivers license. Ten minutes later he brings it back telling my husband to leave, that he can’t be there due to him being detained before on **** charges. My husband was only given probation for 18 months, due to it being his first incident. Probation was completed March 2008. The company for which he works with did know about this matter before hiring him and also had his background checked. It’s been almost a week since this happened. My question is if it’s okay someone else rather than the employer to check on someone’s background without notifying the person first. My husband didn’t even sign a document permitting this agent check his background.

Asked on May 21, 2009 under Employment Labor Law, Texas


M.D., Member, California and New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 13 years ago | Contributor

This is a difficult question.  You are dealing with the federal government here.  In light of post 9/11 legislation there might well be a law to allow for this sort of thing on federal property.  Icould find nothing specific but that doesn't mean that there is none.

Also, for the initial background check done with your husband's company, your husband would have had to have consented to it (possibly on the job application itself).  There might be language there allowing for this type of follow-up check.

Sorry I couldn't give a more definitive answer.


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