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Blueprint to a Compliant Background Check Process

Conducting background checks is a simple way to help mitigate the risk of a bad hire, but they can add some trouble right back on your organization without being done correctly.

Background checks conducted by third-party background screening firms (like One Source) are considered ‘Consumer Reports’ by the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA). What does that mean? Simply put, you must adhere to their rules and regulations and ensure you comply with the plethora of federal, state, and local laws. Not complying with these rules and regulations could result in steep fines, lawsuits, and sometimes even class action settlements.

Using a Professional Background Screening Association (PBSA) accredited background screening firm is an easy step to be sure you are building a team compliantly for your organization.

Here are Four Best Practices for Compliance to ensure you have a successful blueprint for compliant background screening:

  1. Background Check Policy

Before you start screening applicants for employment, it is crucial to have a policy in place. In 2012, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) released its Enforcement Guidance on the use of background screening in the employment hiring process. What should this Policy include?

  • Purpose – Identify the reason you are running the background check; for example pre-employment.
  • Scope – What types of background checks are you running? How often are you screening applicants, upon hire, annually?
    • Not sure where to start? The Society of Human Resource Management (SHRM) provides a great template to help you get started. Read more.
  • Process – How will you be reviewing offenses and determining what is acceptable or not? Onboarding should be consistent within position levels when making determinations. Onboarding managers need to assess the potential risks and liabilities related to the position’s requirements to determine whether you should onboard the applicant through individualized assessments if in the context of employment.
    • The EEOC recommends you consider the nature and gravity of the offense, the time that has passed since the conviction and/or completion of the sentence, and the nature of the job sought to ensure that the exclusion is essential for the position.
  1. Disclosure* and Authorization

Now that you have a screening policy in place, you are ready to begin the background screening process. The next thing you need to do is obtain Disclosure and Authorization from the applicant. The FCRA outlines this for employers, and the FTC has guidance available here. Disclosures* are only required under the permissible purpose of employment.

Be sure to:

  • Inform the applicant or employee that you may use the results of the consumer report for decisions related to their employment. This notice must be in writing and in a stand-alone format.
  • Gather written consent from the applicant or employee. If you want to use this authorization throughout the duration of the individual’s employment, you must state that clearly and conspicuously.
  • Review federal, state, and local laws and include applicable notices. Your screening vendor should provide these to you.

One Source provides all clients a compliant Disclosure and Authorization form, which you can find here

  1. Quality of Data

In the background screening world, there are two main ways that Consumer Reporting Agencies (CRAs) conduct criminal background searches. The first is by conducting real-time, original source record searches directly from the source. The second is utilizing a database or repository.

Database searches, while fast and inexpensive, provide non-compliant data. Record information is often not updated regularly and pulled from archived sources. These inconsistencies leave gaps and holes for outdated information and error galore. While these searches are often the most affordable solution, they can lead to costly lawsuits and ligation.

Be sure that your background checks include live, real-time court records. Original source records mean your vendor is going directly to the courthouse to obtain information that is up to date and as accurate as possible, eliminating errors caused by expungements, dismissed records, and recent convictions that may otherwise be missing.

  1. Adverse Action

Before making a final employment decision based in whole or in part on the background check results, the employer must provide a Pre-Adverse Action Notice, a copy of the background report, and their Summary of Rights Under the FCRA.

This process allows the applicant to review their report, and if necessary, dispute the accuracy of the findings. The timing and actions required during this process are crucial to staying compliant. You can learn more about how employers and applicants should handle adverse action here.

Don’t let the compliance of background screening seem daunting. The blueprint to a compliance screening process is simple; have a rock-solid background check policy, compliant disclosure and authorization forms, quality, real-time data in your reports, and follow the adverse action process.

The best part of it all is that One Source is here to help you through the process. Reach out at any time for a free review of your process from start to finish.

Reference Checks Made Easy

One of the most time-consuming pieces of onboarding can be the process of contacting an applicant’s references. Traditional phone-based reference checking requires finding time to learn more about an applicant. This can also cause delays on when an individual can start a position – leaving room for the possible loss of onboarding good, quality applicants for your organization.

One Source offers a leading reference checking solution to provide you with an online, automated process that delivers fast results. This streamlined process of conducting reference checks makes it easier for both the onboarding professional and the applicant.

How simple is it?

Once the account is set up and you select the questions you wish to ask. Which are either specific to your organization or standard approved questions, your account will be ready.

  1. The applicant and reference information are entered in the solution.
  2. Reference requests are then automatically sent via email or text. This makes it quick and easy for them to respond anytime, anyplace.
  3. The reference completes a short and confidential online questionnaire.
  4. Receive the reference response on a document that will be attached to the report to review.

The process is that simple.

A frequent complaint about reference checking is that applicants select references who will say only positive things about them. This is not the case because the survey allows contacts to respond freely and confidentially. Which encourages the reference to answer more honestly. 83% of all reference providers provide comments on an applicant’s areas of improvement.

Benefits of Reference Checks:

  • Reduce Turnover – Client research results show involuntary first-year turnover can be reduced by over 35%.
  • Increase Efficiency and Cost-Effectiveness – Free up recruiting teams from time-consuming phone-tag, data collection, and reporting tasks – so they can focus on finding great candidates. The solution provides a significant return on investment when you add considerable staff time savings, lower potential turnover costs, and reduce third-party expenses.
  • Enhance Satisfaction of Onboarding Managers – Provide onboarding managers detailed reports showing feedback, candidate summaries, and behavioral interview guides.
  • Convenient, Cloud-based, and Mobile – Makes it easy to get started and for candidates and references to respond anytime, anywhere — even via text messages.

If this service sounds like something you would like to incorporate into your onboarding, watch our recorded webinar, “Reference Checks Made Easy.” We go in-depth on how the reference process works through a demo, along with information on how this service provides you with more data, time, and money compared to traditional references.

Sign up to watch our webinar here! You can also contact the One Source Client Relations Team to learn about our other services to help streamline your onboarding process.

 

How to Personalize Your Background Screening Process

Every organization is unique in their own way. Different organizations have different needs. And that’s no different when it comes to building and maintaining internal teams.

So, shouldn’t your background screening process be made to meet those unique needs? What if you want to screen one position level differently from another position? How do you go about this? The answer: Customizable background screening packages.

Many background check companies offer generic packages with no option to customize your solution. Here at One Source, there are many ways to tailor your screening to what works for you, and the different position levels you hire. Therefore, incorporating services such as drug screening, employment verification, social media searches, and many more make it simple to do so.  Let’s dig into what some of these services offer:

Drug Screening

Are you looking to maintain a drug-free workplace? Whether for safety reasons or something else, adding drug screening can help as you work to maintain a drug-free environment. Drug testing with One Source combines drug testing results into the background check, streamlining the entire employee screening process.

Employment Verification

Employment verification is one of the crucial keys to finding quality. One Source contacts previous employers to verify: dates of employment, wages/salary*, rehire status, and more. Previous employment is the largest source of falsification on applications. That’s why we recommend you utilize this robust service.
*There are some cities, municipalities, and states that do not allow salary verification and/or have strict restrictions that come into play when requesting it.

Social Media Records

Social media screening may seem like a task your HR department can do themselves. But reviewing an applicant’s online presence isn’t exactly the most reliable or ethical way to conduct a thorough and compliant search. The Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) compliant social media hiring report involves a combination of technology and human expert analytics to correctly identify an applicant’s online presence on any publicly available website.

Motor Vehicle Record Search

If your business acquires drivers, a motor vehicle record search might be in your best interest. The information is obtained from the state’s Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) agency. The report shows information like the issue and expiration date of the license and if the applicant has committed any traffic violations, and if the license is current,  suspended, or revoked.

These are just a few of the many a la carte services we offer to enhance your screening. If you are interested in learning more about other services, check out more on our Solutions Page or reach out to our Client Relations Team.

Don’t forget to connect with us on Social Media, LinkedIn, Facebook, & Twitter.

Employers’ Crash Course: The Fair Credit Reporting Act

Background checks are nothing new, and now essentially customary in the recruiting and hiring world. Most employers run checks on all new applicants for every open position and even those up for promotions.

So while screenings are a normal part of the hiring process, keep background check regulations in mind to protect your organization and your applicants. Designed to protect the rights and information of job applicants, the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) carries immense influence.

When followed properly, the FCRA will help you make informed hiring choices while protecting your candidates. When broken, however, the FCRA gives people the power to levy lawsuits against organizations. To protect your business, make excellent hires and avoid potential legal trouble, brush up on your knowledge with this Employer’s Crash Course on Fair Credit Reporting Act.

What is the FCRA?

The FCRA outlines the responsibilities of consumer reporting agencies and the rights of those undergoing background and credit checks. It requires consumer reporting agencies to report accurate and complete information to businesses when they evaluate employment candidates. It also allows job applicants to see their reports and dispute any inaccurate information.

Under FCRA rules, background check agencies have a duty to be thorough and accurate in their reporting. Job applicants too have the right to advocate for their reputation and true identity. The burden of the FCRA isn’t just on reporting agencies, however. Employers must uphold the rights of their applicants in order to stay FCRA compliant.

How can I be compliant?

Employers must follow certain procedures when recruiting and hiring to comply with the FCRA:

  • Inform applicants you are going to screen them, then get written consent from every applicant to begin the background check process.
  • Explain what information your background reports gather and why you need it but only if an explanation does not cause confusion.
  • Be aware of your state’s screening restrictions and adhere to them. “Ban-the-box” laws have become more common in recent years.
  • If you are going to take employment action—such as rejection or termination—due to the content of a background report, you must follow the adverse action process. This includes sending pre-adverse action and adverse action letters, a copy of their report and their FCRA Rights.
  • Understand that applicants have the right to dispute their report at any time. When you send a pre-adverse action letter, you have to allow a reasonable amount of time—typically around five days—for the individual to dispute their report.

If you follow these steps, you will stay within FCRA rules and avoid negligent hiring suits.

What are the consequences of noncompliance?

The number of lawsuits brought under the FCRA reached an all-time high in 2019 and have continually increased every year since 2011. If an employer and their consumer reporting agency fail to meet FCRA standards, they put themselves at risk for an expensive lawsuit.

Because background screening is often part of standard hiring processes, organizations can repeat the same FCRA infraction multiple times. This can lead to costly class-action lawsuits from multiple parties.

Eliminate the possibility of FCRA non-compliance suits and maintain your responsibilities by partnering with a trusted background screening agency. One Source is completely FCRA compliant and here to help you navigate its regulations easily. That was your Employer’s Crash Course on Fair Credit Reporting Act. Contact One Source Client Relations to learn more about our services.