Background checks can provide a valuable insight into someone’s past activities. While no one can predict the future and ones past does not necessarily indicate a repeat performance, it can shelter you from any potential legal implications, bad hire costs associated with training and on boarding or even worse, potential disastrous public relations.
Background checks can also provide your employees a sense of comfort and safety in knowing their colleagues have all been cleared based on the background checks required by your company. It can also push that one valuable highly sort after candidate to your firm knowing that the care for employee’s wellbeing and safety is a priority.
What is important about background checks to note is compliance with the law, Consistency by role or position, applicant privacy and data protection and the type of background checks available to you.
A background check policy must be consistent across all positions in any given company. The background check policy does not necessarily need to cover all employees the same, but it must cover all employee within a specific job title the same. A policy for an individual in a fiduciary position may include a credit report but all employees in a fiduciary role must also have their credit reports checked. You cannot check a person’s credit report in a subjective manner. Similarly, all positions within a certain job title or position must have the same search types performed. A good policy may protect you from any sort of discrimination issues.
- Compliance: The different laws that regulate background checks vary in many states. All states utilize the FCRA (Federal Fair Credit Reporting Act), but many states and cities make their laws more restrictive. Background check companies should provide a document which outlines the permissible purpose of consumer reports under federal law “[15 U.S.C. § 1681b]”. This can be located under section 604 of the FCRA. State laws, as stated, can and in many cases are more restrictive. These restrictions may include but are not limited to case age, salary of the applicant, is the case pending and if the case was classified as dismissed, expunged sealed or listed as a juvenile case.
- Type of background check: At Accurate Information Systems we recommend a background check to be tailored to the job position. For example, a motor vehicle check is typically not required for an office position. A credit report is not needed for a labor position. In all cases though we do recommend at the minimum a criminal background check on either the state level, where available, or the county level for all addresses disclosed and developed. A social security “tracer” report that will identify all known addresses the applicant resided in and what we call our “criminal comprehensive” database check. The Criminal Comprehensive check is a great tool to augment a background check but in no way should it be a standalone, and we will not allow the end user to view the raw data. We do this for our protection and for your protection as any data found on this report is NOT actionable under the FCRA. Many companies call this a “national” background check but it far from national as there are no “national” publicly available criminal background checks available, Period! We and a few others have written articles relating to this search and we would be more then happy to send this to you at your request. These background checks suggestions are at a minimum and typically as the position becomes more involved different aspects can be added such as employment and education verifications, MVR check, health care related Medicare checks, drug testing, etc.
- Applicant privacy and data protection: Some companies have begun the process of offshoring data centers and off shoring data call centers. This is nothing more then an effort to reduce costs and raise profit margins. This process puts your applicant data in the hands of centers in foreign countries that is accessible by “who knows”. Any client services you require will be answered in most cases by someone overseas who does not know you, your account, and in many cases the search types you request and what they mean. Tired of the client service “ticket system” or the “we will get back to you in 24-48 hours” replies” At Accurate Information Systems we do not offshore your data, we do not resell your data and all our data is secured in USA data centers. Additionally, protecting a person’s date of birth and social security number should be of the utmost importance. At AIS we have the option for your HR to bypass this requirement and have the applicant in their own online user environment enter this personally identifiable information securely. All final reports have these numbers redacted from all reports. After the decision has been made to hire the applicant can then provide that information.
- Ok, we did the background check, now what? In short, it depends.Did the background check find any adverse information? Did the background check clear your applicant in the jurisdictions checked? Did your background check company while doing the background check follow section 613(a)(1) or section 613(a)(2)? [15 U.S.C. § 1681k].
If, the applicant cleared, great and welcome him/her aboard. If there was any potential information found that may adversely affect your decision in whole or in part on the report procedures need to be followed. These procedures should have been provided to you in a document from your provider but should include a pre-adverse action letter and then followed up by the adverse action letter. Accurate Information Systems can provide samples of these reports and provide this service but in any case, and on any forms sent, legal council should be obtained as your situation may be different. The applicant dispute procedure is listed in the FCRA under section 611 or [15 U.S.C. § 1681i]