Answer

When running background checks, how do I stay compliant?

It’s important to have a clear and concise written policy, which remains consistent for all candidates who apply. Background checks must remain compliant with the regulations set forth by the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) and in addition, must also comply with state laws as they vary by state. Before running a background check, the candidate must be notified and give written consent for the employer to proceed with the check. Not all background checks are the same and depending on the industry can vary on what is required. Standard background checks often include criminal history checks, employment and education verification, SSN validity, etc. Some positions require more, such as DOT testing history, state driving records, credit reports, sex offender searches, etc. Once a candidate is hired, employers are required to fulfill an I-9 and E-Verify, which verifies the identity and eligibility to work for all new employees. By following these steps you can help ensure your background process is as safe and effective as possible.

A criminal history check reveals detailed information regarding an individual’s county, state, and federal criminal history. Each record varies by the type of information it searches for and the results that are returned.

1) County background checks, or county criminal history search results, include information about criminal cases filed only in the county ordered.

2) State background checks, or statewide criminal history search results, include information as reported to a state by counties within the state. Results may include case number, offense type, date of offense, disposition date/specifics, and confirmation of the current disposition.

3) Federal background checks, or federal criminal history search results, include criminal court record information that can be accessed via one or more of the 94 U.S. Federal District courts across the United States.

A pre-employment background check is a background check that is ran prior to finalizing a new hire. Pre-employment checks will help verify if the hire is right for the job and a good fit for the workplace. By reducing turnover rates you’re not only lowering costs but improving the workplace morale with a long-term team member and someone that will work well with other employees.

Instant background checks are more commonly known as “national criminal database searches” and provide general information pulled from a commercially available database. Although they have a quick return, the information is not corroborated against any official county court record and can provide inaccurate information as it’s not derived from a verified source. Comprehensive background checks are all-encompassing and compiled from a variety of sources, including local law enforcement, statewide criminal record repositories, departments of corrections, state parole and probation records, local public records sources, etc. This prevents mistaken identity matches that sometimes occur with instant checks when a person with the same name as the applicant has hits on their record. Employers must be cautious when choosing a background check process because choosing an instant check over a comprehensive check could lead to fines and lawsuits if they don’t abide by the guidelines set forth under the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA).