At Investigative Screening Solutions we take compliance very seriously. We are trained and certified in the Fair Credit Reporting Act. The Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) is a federal law that regulates how consumer reporting agencies use information. Here are some of the basics that employers should be aware of when conducting background screening:
FCRA Compliance Basics in 5 Steps
1. Permissible Purpose - Ensure you are only ordering background checks for employment purposes. "Employment" is a broad category that includes hiring, retention, promotion, transfers, and can include volunteers, contractors, etc. In the case of a Medical Staff Services department, for example, this can include appointment or reappointment of physicians.
2. Disclosure - In a written document, inform the consumer that a background check may be obtained as a condition of employment. The disclosure can't be combined with any other form except the authorization.
3. Authorization - Before ordering a background check, obtain written consent from the individual that a consumer report can be obtained now and throughout the term of employment.
4. Certifications - As the "end user" of consumer reports, you must certify the following to the screening firm:
- You will only obtain background checks for permissible purpose (employment).
- You have made a clear disclosure to and obtained consent from the consumer before ordering a report.
- You will not use the consumer report in violation of any federal or state equal opportunity laws.
- If you make a negative employment decision based on information on the report, you will properly follow adverse action procedures, as outlined below.
5. Adverse Action - If adverse information on a report is used by you to make a negative employment decision, you must take the following actions before rescinding an offer of employment or terminating an employee. Remember, taking adverse action involves a two-prong notification process:
- In a written, oral, or electronic pre-adverse notice, inform the consumer of:
- The name, address, and telephone number of the background screening company that assembled the report.
- The fact that the background screening firm did not make the adverse decision and cannot explain why the decision was made.
- His/her right to a free file disclosure if a request is made to the screening firm within 60 days.
- His/her right to contact the screening company directly to dispute inaccurate or incomplete information on the report.
- Once the pre-adverse notice is sent, allow the consumer 5 days to contact the screening company to dispute the report. After 5 days, if you do not hear from the consumer or the background check provider, proceed with your final employment decision.
- However, if the consumer disputes information on the report, the screening firm will perform a reinvestigation that must be completed within 30 days and at not cost to the consumer. The screening company must update you and the consumer of the reinvestigation results.
- If and when making a final adverse decision, you must send the consumer a final adverse notice.