Background screening compliance is a hot topic as of late – mostly because of the continued momentum for Ban-the-Box legislation as well as high profile, high dollar lawsuits.
Smart employers stay ahead of the curve by establishing a clearly defined process, training staff and evaluating at least once a year. Today, we’ll discuss 5 primary areas of compliance and best practices: consent, submitting the request, receiving the results, adverse action and making the final decision.
Starting off right...
Before we get started, there is one area that is nearly as important as the report itself: the company you work with. Partnering with a reputable, service-oriented background screening company can make or break your compliance. When vetting the company, be sure to discuss all your needs and expectations to identify discrepancies early on, avoiding potential pitfalls. Additional service offered by Choice Screening, such as our complimentary online consent form, Adverse Action Letters and Choice ReScreen, have become essential components in our client’s background screening process.
Once you’ve found the background screening company of your dreams (aka Choice Screening!) we’re ready to focus on what goes into a compliant background check! Use this as an overview guide to get you thinking about your own background screening process.
- Have your general counsel or qualified internal personnel review your form, focusing on FCRA and local legislation compliance
- Train all staff regarding the purpose, proper application and other compliance standards, such as Ban-the-Box and Fair Chance Acts
- Consent forms are signed by the applicant before a background check is initiated and include only full and legal demographics
Submit the request
- Train staff on what they’re ordering, why, and what information in the request impacts which searches
- Order services and packages based on the position, not the individual
- Use only full legal names and provide as much information as possible
- Be sure to review your order for completeness and accuracy before submitting
Receive the results
- Train your staff on how to interpret and lawfully use the completed background report
- Review the results thoroughly and consider Individualized Assessment Guidelines according to the EEOC
- Provide a copy of the report to your applicant when requested – it is their right to see the entire report
- Address any questions or clarification with your Choice Screening Account Executive
- If you like what you see, go ahead and make the decision!
- If you don’t, make sure you follow the Adverse Action process…
Adverse Action (when applicable)
- Any time you take an action based all or in part on the results of the background check that is adverse to the applicant’s interest you must follow the Adverse Action process; this is broad so be sure you understand what it means.
- Train your staff on taking adverse action, the dispute process and include in a clearly written policy how you handle disputes and conditional offers of employment
- Pre-Adverse Action: Order your Pre-Adverse Action Letter, which sends your applicant the letter, a summary of their rights under the FCRA, a copy of their background report and a dispute form
- Wait a “reasonable amount of time” before taking final action (i.e. sending the Post Adverse Action Letter)
- Post-Adverse Action: Order your Post-Adverse Action Letter, which again sends the letter, FCRA Summary of Rights, copy of the report and a dispute form, but also advises the decision is final
- Be sure to consider local legislation requirements
Make the hiring decision
- Again, train your staff on how to proceed with a clear background check versus one with negative results
- If you’ve already hired your applicant – congratulations!!
- If you’ve proceeded through the adverse action process including taking final adverse action via the Post-Adverse Action letter, we hope you find someone soon!
- If you’re in limbo and need to decide, Choice Screening can help clarify info on the background report, but cannot advise you or help you make the hiring decision… We’ll let you know where our limit exists.
So, what goes into a compliant background screen?
Compliant background screens include: compliant consent forms, ordering the right services, knowing how to use the results, and following appropriate adverse action procedures!
Keep in mind, your industry, your city or your state could have additional regulation that you need to consider so be sure you’re working with a qualified employment attorney when establishing and reviewing your policy.
You may have noticed the reoccurring theme: training! Be sure your staff is fully trained and your clearly written policies are reviewed regularly. This will help identify red flags as well as help keep you compliant along the way!
Still have some questions about compliance?