If we have an employee who is refusing to authorize a background check for 1 of our vendors, as their employer what can we do?

UPDATED: Sep 30, 2022

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If we have an employee who is refusing to authorize a background check for 1 of our vendors, as their employer what can we do?

We have background checks on all employees. We also have vendors that in order for our employees to work on their facilities, require their own background check. We have a current employee who refuses to sign an authorization and thus we are unable to work him at our vendor’s facility. We don’t want our employees dictating where they will or will not work. Can we discipline this employee or terminate him? We do have a background check policy that addresses refusing to sign an authorization will be grounds for discipline and/or termination. The employee is telling us that we are trying to make the policy work for this vendor when it’s meant for our background checks. What options do we have?

Asked on May 20, 2016 under Employment Labor Law, Iowa


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

Answered 6 years ago | Contributor

Does this employee have an employment contract or union agreement that governs such a situation and offers them protection? Would taking action against this worker constitute some form of legally actionable discrimination? If not, then as an "at will" employer, you can suspend/terminate this person for not authorizing a background check or for any reason or no reason at all with or without notice.

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