Your company wants to hire new employees. You also want to promote existing employees.However, after going through stacks of applicants, you have shortlisted a list of candidates.You want to get their backgrounds checked. Law under the Fair Credit Reporting Actrequires employers in America to take certain steps of compliance when they hire,promote, retain or reassign employees. Get in touch with a third party that will do all thebackground checks for you. These background checks are also known as consumerreports.

Simply put, a consumer report background check contains your personal and financialinformation. Your personal information could cover your general lifestyle, your reputationand impressions about your character.

Before you get a consumer report

As a company you need to inform your applicant or employee that you could use theinformation contained in your consume report to influence the decision of theiremployment.

The notice that you’ll will send to your applicant needs to be written and in a stand-aloneformat. Please bear in mind that the notice can’t be in an employment application. You alsoneed to get written permission from the applicant or employee for conducting yourbackground check. They are free to give or deny permission. If you want the consumerreports via the applicant’s existing employer you need to specifically state that in your

application. In short, you need to certify that you informed the applicant and got theirpermission to get a consumer report. You also need to state that you will abide by all theFCRA requirements such as no discrimination against an applicant or employee, no misuseof information against the employee and provide equal opportunity as stated in the law.Different states have different laws so we suggest that you look at the specific nitty gritty ofthe law related to consumer reports.

Before you take any negative action

Many employers decide to reject or terminate an employee based on the finding of theperson’s consumer report background check. As an employer if you take any negativeemployment action such as deny promotion or termination of an employee, reject a jobapplication etc., you have to tell that employee or applicant why it was done so. You needto attach a copy of the consumer report based on which you took the decision.

Some more pointers about the background check

As an employer you are free to ask many kinds of questions about an applicant oremployee’s background during an interview. These may include but may not be limited todetails about their employment history, financial history, criminal record, use of social mediaand more.

However, you may not ask them information regarding medical history until a job has beenoffered to them. You also can’t ask them information about their family’s medical history orgenetic information.

When you ask an applicant or employee information about their background, you have totreat them same as any other candidate and not discriminate on the basis of colour, sex,religion, nationality, age or genetic information. As an employer you are also not allowed toask for extra background data just because someone belongs to a different race orethnicity.

Many companies provide employment background checks and thus they also provideconsumer reports. Do due diligence before hiring any such company.

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