5 Fundamentals of FCRA Compliant Background Checks
Background Checks and Employment Screening – Building a Compliant Process to Mitigate Risk
For those involved in recruiting and hiring, employment screening and background checks can be a thorny issue. You want to make sure that the person you are considering for a role is who they say they are. Furthermore, it’s your responsibility to maintain a safe environment for all of your employees, customers, and partners.
Unfortunately, as with many facets of employment law, the rules and regulations governing employment screening are so complex and stringent, that many organizations are often too scared to even touch this critical process.
So as an employer what can you do? Get knowledge! Register for Newton’s August Recruiting Bootcamp, where special guest and FCRA Compliance Attorney, Elizabeth “Izzy” McLean, will explain the 5 factors that you must consider when building an FCRA compliant background check process.
Izzy McLean is the go-to source for all things FCRA and EEOC at GoodHire, a leading NAPBS certified background screening provider. Through her experience, Izzy has developed a deep understanding of the challenges that time-strapped organizations face as they consider their options for employment screening services.
Izzy knows that hiring professionals simply do not have the bandwidth to stay on top of all the rules and regulations, so she has done the legwork for you. In our August Bootcamp, Izzy will be sharing her most practical advice for building a compliant background check process to mitigate risk. Below is an overview of what you can expect to hear from Izzy during the Bootcamp.
The 5 Factors that You Must Consider When Conducting Background Checks
1. Who Should You Screen?
When it comes to who you should be screening, employers are often at a loss. Should you be screening prospective hires, current employees, or both? When considering these questions, you also need to factor in the EEOC and Title VII compliance risks of arbitrarily screening candidates and employees.
2. What Findings Should Affect Your Hiring Decisions?
If you receive negative findings from the screens that you run, how should this affect your hiring decisions? it is important to remember that the answer to this often depends on the industry that you operate in. A criminal offense that is job-related in one industry, may not be in another.
Also important to note- as an employer, there are various background searches and employment screens that you can run. The major ones are national criminal, county criminal, watchlists, drug screening, credit screening, and employment/education verification. The industry that you operate in and the position in question can play a big role in determining which screens are appropriate. Keep in mind, when considering making employment decisions based on the findings of these reports, you need to adhere to the rules and regulations outlined by the FCRA, state law, and the EEOC.
3. When Should You Conduct Your Screening?
As you build out your game plan for employment screening and background checks, timing is key. For candidates, at what point during the interview process should these background checks occur? For current employees, will screening occur when it comes time for a promotion? You have several options to choose from, with each offering their own unique set of costs and benefits. It is up to you to weigh these trade-offs and determine what approach works best for your organization.
Now, most employment screens and background checks often contain language that implies “evergreen consent.” This means that once consent is initially given, it remains valid indefinitely or until otherwise revoked. In theory, this sounds great for employers. However, compliance issues around “evergreen consent” can get tricky, especially in states like California where it can be argued that new consent is needed each time a screen is conducted. For this reason, you must offer transparent communication about when consent has been given and for how long this consent will last.
Lastly, in regards to screening timeline, you must factor in Ban the Box legislation. Ban the Box laws prohibit employers from asking criminal background questions on employment applications. Instead, employers must defer collecting this information until the final rounds of the interview process, giving all candidates an equal opportunity to showcase their qualifications for the job. If you are not currently considering Ban the Box legislation in your background check process, then it is about time you start. Ban the Box legislation has already been passed in 24 U.S. states, along with hundreds of cities and counties (currently 185 million U.S. citizens fall under Ban the Box legislation).
4. Where Should You Go for Reliable Background Checks?
The world of background checks and employment screening is regulated by extensive laws and regulations that can get you in serious trouble if not properly followed. To protect yourself, you must be certain that you are partnering with reliable solutions providers that will be vigilant in their efforts to keep your processes safe.
Fortunately, there are safeguards in place that you can use to your advantage. First, make sure that any Credit Reporting Agency that you work with has experts on EEO laws, state and federal screening laws, ban the box laws, and so on. Additionally, partner with an NAPBS accredited background screening provider. Such qualifiers demonstrate a commitment to compliance, consumer rights, and overall excellent service.
5. What Tools Do You Need to Conduct the Background Check?
Once you have established the who, what, when, and where, of background checks, you need to determine the how. It is essential that you utilize the right tools to effectively screen your subjects and keep your processes safe, simple, and smart. Below are some examples of such tools:
● -Disclosure/Authorization consent form
● -Pre-adverse action and post adverse action notices
● -Written description of background screening policy
● -Safe place to store background check documentation
● -A trusted source for guidance
How will you ensure compliance?
In our Bootcamp, Izzy will walk through the 5 questions above and offer practical guidance for building compliance into your background checks process. Expect deep dives into FCRA, state law, and Ban the box requirements, as well as discussion around major areas of litigation such as consent forms and adverse action process.
Join us For Our Bootcamp
Above is just a taste of what’s to come. If you are serious about building an FCRA compliant background check program to mitigate your organization’s risk, then join us for our August Bootcamp. Special guest and FCRA Compliance Attorney, Izzy McLean, will host a lively discussion (happy to take your questions!), providing you with everything that you need to begin safely screening candidates, employees, or both.
Don't miss Newton's August Recruiting Bootcamp! Spots are limited, click here to register.