“The price is right”
“I really like my account administrator”
“My Brother-in-Law owns it”
As important as these attributes may be when assessing your current background screening provider, there are more compelling qualities to consider. Perhaps the most compelling – and often the most avoided – is compliance.
As an employer using a background checks to help with your hiring decisions, you understand that you have responsibilities under the Fair Credit Reporting Act when accessing these reports from an agency that compiles background screening reports (a Consumer Reporting Agency or CRA). And that CRA has responsibilities, too. In the best case scenario, the employer and their partner CRA have each other’s backs when it comes to complying with the FCRA.
Here are 4 signs that your CRA may not be protecting you from violations against the FCRA:
1. The Agreement
Before you even place your first order, you are provided with clues as to how the background screener treats their compliance requirements.
Things to look for in the agreement:
Did they ask you to certify that you understand your responsibilities under the FCRA, including:
- Permissible Purpose
- Disclosing to the Consumer
- Obtaining Consumer Authorization
- Following prescribed adverse action steps
- Complying with applicable state and federal law
- Data protection
Did they provide you with the required documents – ‘Notice to Users of Consumer Reports: Obligations of Users under the FCRA’ and ‘A Summary of your Rights under the Fair Credit Reporting Act’?
Did they make available samples of documents required for compliance?
Hopefully, the answer is yes to all of these. Because these are basic and foundational requirements that protect both you, the client, as well as the CRA.
2. Criminal Records Returned Instantly
We all want fast results. But if you submit a name to your background screener and you instantly receive a listing of criminal records, you may be susceptible to exposure.
When accessing instant databases for criminal records, CRAs have the option to verify the records before sending the result to their client (best practice) or send notice to the consumer at the time information is reported. If you are getting the records immediately, you will want to confirm with your CRA that they are holding up their end of the bargain, by communicating with the consumer directly and in a timely manner.
But really, which is the better way to handle database records – wait a couple days for a verified result from jurisdiction? Or send a list of records that may or may not belong to your Candidate and may or may not be complete, accurate or allowable? When you partner with a good CRA, you will know ahead of time how they handle database results and why.
Remember, a responsible CRA will make sure that they don’t send records that they are legally restricted in sending you so that you don’t make an employment decision on information you should not have had access to in the first place. For example, expunged records and arrest records with no conviction that are over 7 years old are not reportable.
3. Incomplete records
Have you received results that don’t have a disposition – the end of the story? That arrest record may have been dismissed, expunged or never prosecuted.
Did a record come back with no additional identifiers beyond a name match? Can you be sure the record belongs to your candidate without at least 2 identifiers?
I’ll answer that for you – No, you cant.
Not only is it unfair to make an employment decision based on incomplete information, you may be breaking the law.
Tell your CRA you don’t want to see incomplete records. Have them get the full story for you.
4. Non-convictions older than seven years
You should not be provided with records that are over 7 years old that did not end in a conviction. Not only should your provider have never sent the record, if you ultimately do not hire this individual, this record may cause you trouble, whether or not you used in your decision making.
These are just a few basic requirements that guide CRAs to provide employers with compliant background checks that won’t come back to bite you. If you are at all concerned, it may be time to look around for a better solution.
cFIRST Employment Background Checks will give you confidence in hiring. We provide the technology and personalized support you need to get your candidates screened fast, without compromising on compliance and quality. Contact us today.