Whether you are a landlord or an HR manager eager to bring a new team member on board for your organization, you have federally mandated standards to meet that the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) has set.
Under this legislation, you have to use an authorized consumer reporting agency (CRA) to get your information. This is due to the FCRA standards regarding data protection and its role in dispute resolution. If you receive details about a potential employee’s background that cause you to disqualify them from qualifying to work for you, and the agency that provided this information isn’t a CRA, legal woes may follow.
All kinds of apps and/or websites are available that will compile reports on an individual for you, including a criminal background check, for a relatively low cost if you type in basic information such as their first and last name and the city and state where they live.
Using these online companies can be tempting, especially for a small business on a shoestring budget. However, these apps and websites, unlike a firm like Pre-employ, are probably not compliant with the Federal Credit Reporting Act. This means it is possibly illegal for an employer to use them for a quick background check on a job candidate.
Federal law is murky on whether hiring managers can ask an applicant’s former or current employers if that individual has a criminal record. In these situations, it is best to err on the side of caution.
You can still get relevant information from supervisors by asking about workplace behavior to determine whether an individual is dishonest or has a history of dangerous behavior on the job.
It is legal to ask these types of questions during reference checks, but former employers are under no obligation to answer them. Some supervisors will tell you very little about some incidents because they fear defamation lawsuits. Still, it never hurts to ask.
With current U.S. social distancing measures in place, HR managers rely heavily on FCRA compliant firms to perform needed background checks. These investigative organizations are still operating during these tough times because their employees can work from home.
Services that meet the standards of the Fair Credit Reporting Act can provide the following information about a candidate:
● Employment history
● Academic and professional qualifications
● Criminal history
● Financial standing
● Media presence
● And more
Despite limited court access, online investigation services can continue business as usual in jurisdictions utilizing electronic record systems. Some court records may be in places that don’t use these systems, which means delays are still a frustrating reality. Pre-employ offers an interactive court closure map on their website here and has several options for discovering critical details about your potential hire.
With the increasing numbers of newly released inmates from local jails and prisons now permeating the job market, it is vital to be sure about who you are hiring. If you have opted to perform generalized searches through Google or Facebook, reconsider using that information if you cannot verify it is actually your applicant and the data is accurate.
The damage you can cause to someone’s reputation and career by making decisions based on unverified background check results may devastate them. It may also open you up to legal action for defamation or even a class-action lawsuit if you rejected a larger number of potential employees over erroneously generated data.
Avoid this risk and contact Pre-employ today for more information. Whether you are a client of ours or not, we are here to help businesses meet their hiring needs during these challenging times.