FCRA Compliant Background Checks
When a conducting a background check, it is crucial that you are complaint and follow the Fair Credit Reporting Act, FCRA guidelines. The FCRA is an act that regulates the collection and use of credit information by an entity that collects information. The act promotes fairness, accuracy and privacy of consumer information found by reporting agencies. If FCRA guidelines are not followed, it can cause substantial conflicts with not only consumers, but your company as well. Issues ranging from lawsuits, attorney fees, and even criminal prosecutions. Our company is educated when it comes to preforming FCRA compliant background checks, at both state and federal guidelines, and can assure you the avoidance of those problems.
Employer Requirements Before Obtaining a Background Check
As an employer who intends on obtaining credit or criminal background information on an applicant, you must follow the guidelines put in place by the Fair Credit Reporting Act beforehand. As an employer you must:
- Tell the applicant or employee you might use the information for decisions about his or her employment. This notice must be in writing and in a stand-alone format. The notice can’t be in an employment application. You can include some minor additional information in the notice (like a brief description of the nature of consumer reports), but only if it doesn’t confuse or detract from the notice.
- If you are asking a company to provide an “investigative report” – a report based on personal interviews concerning a person’s character, general reputation, personal characteristics, and lifestyle – you must also tell the applicant or employee of his or her right to a description of the nature and scope of the investigation.
- Get the applicant’s or employee’s written permission to do the background check. This can be part of the document you use to notify the person that you will get the report. If you want the authorization to allow you to get background reports throughout the person’s employment, make sure you say so clearly and conspicuously.
- Certify to the company from which you are getting the report that you notified the applicant and received their permission to obtain the background report, that you complied with all of the Fair Credit Reporting Act requirements, and that you won’t discriminate against the applicant or employee, or otherwise misuse the information in violation of federal or state equal opportunity laws or regulations.
Employer Requirements Once Background Information is Obtained
As an employer, once you obtain the requested background information under the Fair Credit Reporting Act, there are additional requirements you must follow in order to use the information you have obtained. Any background information you receive from any source must no be used to discriminate in violation of federal law. This means you should:
- Apply the same standards to everyone, regardless of their race, national origin, color, sex, religion, disability, genetic information, or age (40 or older). For example, if you don’t reject applicants of one ethnicity with certain financial histories or criminal records, you can’t reject applicants of other ethnicities because they have the same or similar financial histories or criminal records.
- Take special care when basing employment decisions on background problems that may be more common among people of a certain race, color, national origin, sex, or religion; among people who have a disability; or among people age 40 or older. For example, employers should not use a policy or practice that excludes people with certain criminal records if the policy or practice significantly disadvantages individuals of a particular race, national origin, or another protected characteristic, and does not accurately predict who will be a responsible, reliable, or safe employee. In legal terms, the policy or practice has a “disparate impact” and is not “job related and consistent with business necessity.”
- Be prepared to make exceptions for problems revealed during a background check that were caused by a disability. For example, if you are inclined not to hire a person because of a problem caused by a disability, you should allow the person to demonstrate his or her ability to do the job, despite the negative background information, unless doing so would cause significant financial or operational difficulty.
Rights of Consumers by the Fair Credit Reporting Act
When performing a FCRA complaint background check, it is important to know the rights of the consumers you are preforming the background check on. Consumers have the right to know what information you are collecting, as well as verify the accuracy of the information in their file. The FCRA allows a set of consumer rights that our company is aware of. Our staff can educate your company on the specific set of requirements of consumers in order to provide the best customer service.
Taking Adverse Action Using Background Information Obtained
As an employer, if you intend on taking adverse action based upon information you obtained through a company who compiles background information, the Fair Credit Reporting Act has additional requirements.
Before you take an adverse employment action, you must give the applicant a notice that includes a copy of the consumer report you relied on to make your decision as well as a copy of :A Summary of Your Rights Under the Fair Credit reporting Act” which you should have received from tr company that compiled the report. By giving the applicant the notice in advance, the applicant will have the opportunity to review the report and explain any negative information.
After you take an adverse employment action you must tell the applicant or employee (orally, in writing, or electronically) that he or she was rejected because of information in the report. You must provide the applicant with the name, address, and phone number of the company that compiled the report. In addition, you must tell the applicant that the company selling the report didn’t make the hiring decision and can’t give specific reasons for it. Lastly, you must inform the applicant that he or she has a right to dispute the accuracy or completeness of the report, and they can get an additional free report from the reporting company within 60 days.
We Can Help!
Our company is certified when it comes to FCRA complaint background checks. Choosing our company to conduct a FCRA background check, we offer the opportunity to avoid legal fees, private lawsuits, and even criminal prosecutions. Contact us, we are the right option when it comes to a FCRA compliant background check.