Is a POE Search Legal? How to Find Someone’s Place of Employment
You might want to verify someone’s place of employment for personal or legal reasons. Depending on your needs and budget, you have a number of options for getting the information you need. There are some guidelines you need to follow, however, to make sure that your search is legal and that you don’t break any laws regarding the use of the information you recover.
There are many ways to discover someone’s employment details. But a verified place of employment (POE) search is the most accurate way to verify a person’s current place of employment.
What is a POE Search?
A POE search is an official way to access someone’s employment history and verify the subject’s current place of employment. However, there are different levels of employment searches. For example, an employment search to vet a blind date is a little different than the process for verifying employment for wage garnishment.
Personal reasons for verifying a place of employment typically involve confirming that people are who they say they are. For example, if you start dating someone new or make a new friend, you want to be able to trust them. Especially if you are searching for a potential roommate, you might want to conduct some sort of background check.
Or maybe you need to hire a babysitter or handyman. Always be sure you invite trustworthy people into your home. You might also be curious about the whereabouts and lives of long-lost friends and family members. These are all harmless, valid reasons to research someone’s place of employment.
Legal reasons for verifying someone’s place of employment range from wage garnishment to employment eligibility. Debt collection, lawsuits, back child support are all valid reasons to conduct a legal POE search or background check.
POE searches are also common in investigations into cases of theft, fraud, and background checks. An employment-verification request might be necessary to verify employment eligibility, confirm a potential employee’s work history, approve someone for a loan, or confidently lease to a new tenant.
Free vs. Paid Searches
If you are interested in verifying someone’s place of employment for personal reasons, chances are you will be able to get the information you need for free. However, it might take a bit of research and some trial and error. And you still might not end up with the most accurate or up-to-date information.
If you need a POE search for legal reasons, you might not have the time and resources to spare on free methods. Plus, you don’t want to risk working with incorrect or outdated information. Therefore, a paid service will be worth your while.
Is a POE Search Legal?
In most cases, a POE search is legal. If you are conducting your own search for personal reasons, there is nothing keeping you from accessing public information online. You are legally obligated, however, to ethically use the information you gather. For example, you cannot spy on, stalk, or harass someone at his or her place of employment.
Employers also have a legal responsibility when it comes to requesting employment verification. Except for special cases, they are not allowed to request income verification or medical records. They also cannot use the information to discriminate against an applicant. Barring these restrictions, it is completely legal for an employer to ask questions about an applicant’s background or to require a background check.
Employment verification typically involves basic information such as job title, responsibilities, and dates of employment. But every state has its own laws regarding what information employers can disclose about current or former employees. For more information about employer-initiated background checks, visit U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.
How to Find Someone’s Place of Employment
Social Media Search
This is a free way to conduct your own search. Enter your subject’s name into a specific social media platform, select the person who most closely matches your subject, and see what information he or she has provided online. LinkedIn is an especially helpful site for this purpose since its goal is to connect people professionally.
Alternatively, rather than spend time trying to search for your subject on multiple platforms, simply enter the person’s name into your web browser. This should pull up any links where your subject can be found online including social media accounts.
Unfortunately, this might take some time if your subject has a common name. This also isn’t particularly helpful if you suspect a new person in your life might be lying to you. These people cover their social media bases and post information that supports the identity they assume (Find out more about how to stay safe when online dating here.).
Government Database Search
A more specific online search is a government database search. If you have the state or agency in which an individual works, you can access public record information such as name, job title, and salary. Although free, this search option is limited to U.S. federal government employees.
To find out someone’s place of employment without a professional or legal reason, simply reach out to any known contacts, associates, relatives, acquaintances, etc. to see if they have the information you’re looking for. Unfortunately, in the instance of a personal investigation, these contacts are not required to share any information with you. Not to mention the information may not be accurate, either, which could cost you extra time.
For professional employment verification, you can contact an applicant’s references to verify employment history. However, employers aren’t obligated to respond to calls to verify an individual’s employment for a third party unless the requests are made by federal entities.
Most employers know, though, that since many important decisions depend on completed employment-verification requests, it’s best practice for them to respond as quickly as possible. They also know the importance of employment verification for researching their own employees and should therefore honor any relevant requests as a part of the job.
A people search won’t provide you with someone’s employment history per se. But you can still get other information that you can use for a background check or to narrow down a separate POE search. When the information is available, a standard people search will provide you with a subject’s place of business, address, phone number, and email address.
If you’re lucky, you might find a business phone number or email address listed in these results if your subject has documented them anywhere online as belonging to him or her. A premium people search provides more detailed and historical information such as known aliases, address history, relatives, etc.
You have a couple of options when it comes to running a background check. First, you can do one yourself online. All you have to do is provide the subject’s first and last name, select the subject in question from the results, and order an advanced background check. Information includes SSN status, marital status, occupational group, social media profiles, criminal records, and much more.
Your second option is to hire an investigator to conduct a background check. This option might be necessary if your own searches don’t provide the results you need. For example, someone living off the grid (especially to avoid wage garnishment) might make a point to keep personal information off the internet. Therefore, this information needs to be verified in person to ensure accuracy.
POE Search by SSN
POE search by SSN is restricted to verified business owners and employers only. This is because SSNs are very sensitive personal information. You might think that with someone’s SSN, you can get employment information with it. Not only is that not necessarily true, but it can also be harmful for the SSN owner. If you provide an SSN to an untrustworthy individual or website during your investigation, you risk compromising the number.
So, for personal searches, try one of the above methods first to get better results and preserve the integrity of someone else’s SSN. However, if you are a business owner and frequently need to verify applicants’ eligibility for employment, POE by SSN is a low-cost way to find out where someone works or has worked.
Hire an Investigator (Verified POE Search)
A verified POE search is the best way to get quality information obtained legally. If you are in the business of recovering debt, garnishing wages, or screening prospective tenants, knowing your subject’s current place of employment is essential.
All you have to do is provide the subject’s name, address, and a description of what the information returned will be used for. In exchange, a private investigator will conduct an investigation to locate your subject’s current place of employment and verify that the subject is still on payroll so you can try to garnish wages.
Whether you need to check out a new person in your life, evaluate a potential employee, or track someone down to collect a debt, there are a number of options. There is no right or wrong option. It all depends on what information you need, why you need it, and what your budget is.
Don’t spend a ton of money researching someone for personal needs. On the other hand, if you need to track someone down for legal reasons, the cost might be worth it to get quick, accurate results. In most cases, a POE search is legal. It’s easy to get the information you need as long as you have legitimate intentions for the search for and use of it. Hire a licensed, screened, and bonded private investigator for a verified POE search. Then you can rest assured that the information you receive is accurate and legally obtained.