Employment Screening Professionals is committed to keeping our clients both educated and informed on the employment screening industry. For your convenience, we have provided the following resources for both human resource professionals and employment candidates alike.
Please take some time to review the following informational pages, as they will be updated periodically.
Useful Information for Employers
- The Dilemma of Criminal Background Screening
- State Laws on Use of Arrest and Convictions in Employment
- Employer Consideration for pre-employment Inquires when it comes Arrest and Convictions criminal findings
- Employment Background Checks: A Job Seekers Guide
- Why do Employers Run Background Checks?
- What do employers look for during the Background Check Stage of the Interview Process?
- What happens on a pre-employment background check?
- What Information is Revealed to an employer when they conduct a background check?
- Do Job Applicant Have to Consent to Checks
- Worried About a Background Check?
- Can an employer conduct a background check before extending an offer of employment?
- Questions About Your Background?
- Employment Background Checks: Know Your Rights
- The most comprehensive online resource for free information about your workplace rights
A consumer report contains information about your personal and credit characteristics, character, general reputation, and lifestyle. To be covered by the FCRA, a report must be prepared by a consumer reporting agency (CRA) — a business that assembles such reports for other businesses. Employers often do background checks on applicants and get consumer reports during their employment. Some employers only want an applicant’s or employee’s credit payment records; others want driving records and criminal histories. For sensitive positions, it’s not unusual for employers to order investigative consumer reports — reports that include interviews with an applicant’s or employee’s friends, neighbors, and associates. All of these types of reports are consumer reports if they are obtained from a CRA.
In order for Employers to comply, The Fair Credit Reporting Act has broken down their definition into three simple rules or requirements that can easily be referenced to determine whether or not a background check is governed by the federal statute.
- The CREATOR Requirement- The background check must be provided by a consumer reporting agency or background screening firm.
- The CONTENT Requirement- This rule essentially states that the content of the report must have a bearing on the applicant or employee’s personal characteristics or reputation.
- The PURPOSE Requirement- What is the background check being used for? Your certification that the background screening results provided by us pertains strictly to employment consideration means that this requirement is met.
Do I need permission?
Yes, you certainly do. Before you can get a consumer report for employment purposes, you must notify the individual in writing — in a document consisting solely of this notice — that a report may be used. You also must get the person’s written authorization before you ask a CRA for the report. (Special procedures apply to the trucking industry.)
Certifications to Consumer Reporting Agencies.
Before giving you an individual’s consumer report, the CRA will require you to certify that you are in compliance with the FCRA and that you will not misuse any information in the report in violation of federal or state equal employment opportunity laws or regulations.
In 1998, Congress amended the FCRA to provide special procedures for mail, telephone, or electronic employment applications in the trucking industry. Employers do not need to make written disclosures and obtain written permission in the case of applicants who will be subject to state or federal regulation as truckers. Finally, no pre-adverse action disclosure or Section 615(a) disclosure is required. Instead, the employer must, within three days of the decision, provide an oral, written, or electronic adverse action disclosure consisting of: (1) a statement that an adverse action has been taken based on a consumer report; (2) the name, address, and telephone number of the CRA; (3) a statement that the CRA did not make the decision; and (4) a statement that the consumer may obtain a copy of the actual report from the employer if he or she provides identification.
Both applicants are entitled to a pre-adverse action disclosure and an adverse action notice. If any information in the credit report influences an adverse decision, the applicant is entitled to the notices – even when the information isn’t negative.
Written Notice and Authorization
- Step1: Before you take the adverse action, you must give the individual a pre-adverse action disclosure that includes a copy of the individual’s consumer report and a copy of “A Summary of Your Rights Under the Fair Credit Reporting Act” — a document prescribed by the Federal Trade Commission. The CRA that furnishes the individual’s report will give you the summary of consumer rights.
- Step2: After you’ve taken an adverse action, you must give the individual notice — orally, in writing, or electronically — that the action has been taken in an adverse action notice. It must include:
- the name, address, and phone number of the CRA that supplied the report; a statement that the CRA that supplied the report did not make the decision to take the adverse action and cannot give specific reasons for it; and
- a notice of the individual’s right to dispute the accuracy or completeness of any information the agency furnished, and his or her right to an additional free consumer report from the agency upon request within 60 days.
There are legal consequences for employers who fail to get an applicant’s permission before requesting a consumer report or who fail to provide pre-adverse action disclosures and adverse action notices to unsuccessful job applicants. The FCRA allows individuals to sue employers for damages in federal court. A person who successfully sues is entitled to recover court costs and reasonable legal fees. The law also allows individuals to seek punitive damages for deliberate violations. In addition, the Federal Trade Commission, other federal agencies, and the states may sue employers for noncompliance and obtain civil penalties.
FOR MORE INFORMATION
For your copy of the FCRA, write: Consumer Response Center, Federal Trade Commission, Washington, D.C. 20580; visit the FTC online at www.ftc.gov; or call 202-FTC-HELP.
Source: Federal Trade Commission
Complying with the Federal Law
The FCRA is designed primarily to protect the privacy of consumer report information and to guarantee that the information supplied by consumer reporting agencies is as accurate as possible. Amendments to the FCRA — which went into effect September 30, 1997 — significantly increase the legal obligations of employers who use consumer reports. Congress expanded employer responsibilities because of concern that inaccurate or incomplete consumer reports could cause applicants to be denied jobs or cause employees to be denied promotions unjustly. The amendments ensure (1) that individuals are aware that consumer reports may be used for employment purposes and agree to such use, and (2) that individuals are notified promptly if information in a consumer report may result in a negative employment decision.
The Federal Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) is designed to protect individuals by promoting accuracy, fairness, and privacy of information in the files of every Consumer Reporting Agency (CRA). ESP operates in full compliance with the Federal Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) and the California Investigative Consumer Reporting Agencies Act (ICRAA).
ESP provides our customers FCRA compliant information of all letters and forms necessary to comply with FCRA employment background screening requirements.
FCRA Helpful Links
- The Fair Credit Reporting Act (Full Text)
- FCRA Guidelines for Employers
- Notice to Users of Consumer Reports: Obligations of Users Under the FCRA(CFTB)
- FCRA FAQs for Consumers about Credit Reports Summary of Consumer’s Rights Under the FCRA– (Updated November 2012)
Notice to Furnishers of Information: Obligations of Furnishers Under the FCRA
Laws on Workplace Discrimination
- Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC)
The EEOC was established by Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. It enforces the followinglaws:
Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (Title VII), which prohibits employment discrimination based on race, color, religion, sex, or national origin. 42 USC §2000e
Equal Pay Act of 1963, which protects men and women who perform substantially equal work in the same establishment from sex-based wage discrimination. 29 USC §206(d)
Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA), which prohibits employment discrimination against qualified individuals with disabilities in the private sector, and in state and local governments. 42 USC §12101
ESP operates in compliance with the Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA), which prohibits employers from discriminating against people with disabilities who are qualified to perform essential job functions.