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End of Year and Time for Review – Background Screening 101

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November 11, 2016 Return to News & Events

End of Year and Time for Review – Background Screening 101

As the year comes to a close the time to review pre-employment background screening policies has arrived. Every year new laws, policies and best-practices come into existence that may have an effect on pre-employment background screening. It is critical a company understands what reports, data, and information will best serve hiring decisions and utilizing the services of a well-qualified background screening company is an immediate best practice.

Across the United States a vast majority of businesses and organizations conduct background checks on new employees. The information gathered from a background check provides vital information for hiring managers to make a fully informed decision on a given applicant. This information can be drawn from numerous sources including public record depositories such as county courthouses and internet databases.

Adam Almeida, President and CEO of states: “The use of background records is highly regulated. As they contain critical information on an applicant the use of public records must be tightly controlled. A best practice for a company or organization should be to work with a third-party background screening company.”

The use of public records, specifically consumer credit reports, is regulated by the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) and is enforced primarily by the US Federal Trade Commission and the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. The use of other documents, such as criminal histories reports, is protected and enforced by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission under the authority of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and its various updates and expansions.

There are a variety of legislative acts that can govern and restrict the use of certain records and, more specifically, control the exact use of a given type of record. So-called Ban-the-Box legislative action at the state, city and county level can tightly control the use of criminal records. Many Ban-the-Box laws state that the question of criminal history on an application must be removed and a criminal background check utilizing criminal history can only be conducted after an initial offer of employment and only required for specific employment activities.

Almeida states: “Ban-the-Box legislation has swept across the country and numerous municipalities and states have enacted various forms of legislation. A competent third-party background screening company can ensure that a company or organization utilizes public records such as consumer credit reports and criminal histories in a legal and lawful manner.”

The thoroughness of a pre-employment background check is something every HR department should consider. There are numerous public records, databases, and reporting activities that can be used to vet an applicant. Professional achievements and certifications, as well as education accomplishments, can be verified.

Almeida adds: “Information drawn from databases and public records should be supplemented with the most current information pulled from county courthouses, as well as verification of degrees and previous employment.”

Below are a few of the options hiring managers may want to utilize during a pre-employment background check.

  • Consumer Credit Report
  • Criminal History
  • Department Motor Vehicles
  • Social Security Number Trace
  • Sex Offender Registry
  • Employment Verification
  • Education Verification
  • Nationwide Criminal History
  • E-Verify
  • Civil Records

Almeida concludes: “Ultimately the best practice any company or organization can utilize in regards to pre-employment background screening is working with a well-qualified third-party background screening company. A background screening company will be able to keep a company ahead of all changes to background screening, including laws, regulations and updated policies.” is a third-party background screening company with highly trained operators well versed in the needs and requirements of companies and organizations large and small utilizing public records, such as criminal records, as part of a hiring process. Assisting companies in maintaining full compliance under the law is a central tenet of all client relationships with

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