24 Nov What Employers Need to Know About Consumer Report Background Checks
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 Act requires 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 the background checks for you. These background checks are also known as consumer reports.
Simply put, a consumer report background check contains your personal and financial information. Your personal information could cover your general lifestyle, your reputation and 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 the information contained in your consume report to influence the decision of their employment.
The notice that you’ll will send to your applicant needs to be written and in a stand-alone format. Please bear in mind that the notice can’t be in an employment application. You also need to get written permission from the applicant or employee for conducting your background check. They are free to give or deny permission. If you want the consumer reports 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 their permission to get a consumer report. You also need to state that you will abide by all the FCRA requirements such as no discrimination against an applicant or employee, no misuse of 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 of the 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 the person’s consumer report background check. As an employer if you take any negative employment action such as deny promotion or termination of an employee, reject a job application etc., you have to tell that employee or applicant why it was done so. You need to 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 or employee’s background during an interview. These may include but may not be limited to details about their employment history, financial history, criminal record, use of social media and more.
However, you may not ask them information regarding medical history until a job has been offered to them. You also can’t ask them information about their family’s medical history or genetic information.
When you ask an applicant or employee information about their background, you have to treat 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 to ask for extra background data just because someone belongs to a different race or ethnicity.
Many companies provide employment background checks and thus they also provide consumer reports. Do due diligence before hiring any such company.