Companies Can Check Employee Backgrounds and Be FCRA-compliant
As an employer you understand that it is wise to undertake pre-employment screening on potential employees, but those same potential employees have rights. As the employer, you have to abide by the rules of the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) and the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA). We are an FCRA compliant background check company.
The EEOC says that an employer may take into account any arrest and conviction information, together with misdemeanor offenses, when making hiring decisions, as long as the whole picture of the applicant is considered. This should include education, work experience, fitness for the position, and interview performance.
There are four criteria that employers should take into account, the first of which is to determine whether the applicant is likely to have committed an alleged act. Of course, without a conviction this can be very difficult to assess, which is why many employers will only consider a conviction.
The second is to consider the nature of the offense, since it is not permissible to operate a policy of refusing employment simply on the basis of a conviction.
Third is to consider the relevance of an offense to the position being applied for. It could be considered discrimination to refuse a position if the offense bears no relation to it. For instance, a conviction for fraud should not be a reason to deny a position as an office cleaner, but it may well be a reason if the position is in the accounts department.
The fourth criterion is to take into consideration the length of time since a conviction. Unfortunately the EEOC gives no guidance on this, but most background screening reports only cover the preceding seven years.
FCRA rules apply to employers who use the services of a third party such as ourselves to carry out pre-employment screening. Fortunately, the FCRA states that employers who order a background check have a permissible business purpose for so doing, and Background Profiles® is an FCRA compliant background check company.
Employers must tell the potential employee in advance with a written and signed notice that they intend to carry out a check. The applicant must provide written and signed agreement for this to be carried out, and the employer must provide the applicant with a written copy of their rights under the Act. This tells applicants what to do if they disagree with the results of the check.
If employment is then to be denied, the employer must supply a pre-adverse action notification in writing, followed by an adverse action notification. Both of these must contain instructions to the applicant regarding his or her rights.
When you use Background Profiles for pre-employment screening you can be safe in the knowledge that we are a fully FCRA compliant background check company. In the 21st century, background screening is a vital part of the employment process since employers can be sued for negligence if they have not taken sufficient steps to identify potential risks from an applicant who then goes on to cause harm or damage to others. This can apply to employees even if they are not on the employers’ premises or conducting business on behalf of the employer at the time of an offense.