I would like to know specifically what is done to find employment history as part of a background check. After doing some research on what constitutes an "employee," it has come to my attention that in my current job, I think I would legally be considered some kind of independent contractor rather than an employee. However I have not listed this fact on my resume (because I didn't understand the legalities and such, I just put it down as I would any other job). In the future I can add this fact to the resume if needed, but I am concerned about other jobs in the past that I have applied to (and been denied) without really understanding these legal details. Up until now I was assuming I was being denied jobs for normal reasons like not being the right candidate or being unqualified.
What I am worried about is that a company will see the job listed on my resume, perform a background check without informing me, and then see that I was not "employed" by anyone for a long time period. Then they might assume or come to a false conclusion that I was taking part in something shady or lying/misrepresenting work on my resume and reject me, all without me knowing that they were checking my background.
I would like to know if this scenario is possible - is a company that I am seeking a job with obligated to inform me that they are doing this check? If a discrepancy is found, it should be easy to clear up by having them contact my current "employer" (whom I suppose is really a contractor or something). I am very fuzzy on what precisely happens during a background check and what is considered "employment" as far as this check.