In our last issue of Background Screening 101 (Consumer Disclosure & Authorization) we emphasized the importance of the release and the role it plays to ensure FCRA compliance. The release regulations we covered are considered "pre-screening" guidelines, since the rules generally apply to actions performed before a background check is run. Equally as important as the "pre-screening" guidelines are the "post-screening" guidelines, actions that are taken after the background check has been completed.
To simplify, refer to the Background Screening Flow Chart Below
The "post-screening" guidelines apply to steps 4 and 5 - what happens after you receive the background screening results.
As you can see, the details of a background check can result in one of two scenarios...
In this scenario, your applicant has "passed" the background check according to your standards. Congratulations! You can now hire the applicant with confidence. Make sure to securely file or properly dispose of all sensitive consumer information.
Conversely, if any information contained within the background check elicits possible adverse action to be taken against the applicant, you must first follow the pre-adverse and adverse action procedures.
The term "adverse" refers to any action that is not favorable. For example, not hiring an applicant or denying an employee's request for a promotion are considered adverse. When in doubt, consider this golden rule - is taking such action justifiable to your organization?
Consider in this case, you have chosen not to hire an applicant due to information uncovered through their background check. The pre-adverse/adverse action procedures you should follow are...
Both the pre-adverse and adverse action letters should include the contact information for the Consumer Reporting Agency who furnished the report (that would be us). Including our name, address, and phone number in the letters allows for complete transparency and grants the applicant the ability to contact us with any questions and the means to file a dispute if necessary.
For your convenience, we provide a variety of compliance forms in the Resource Center section of our website. There, you can access customizable release forms and pre-adverse/adverse action letters, the Summary of Rights, and even a copy of the Background Screening Flow Chart, as shown above, for reference (just in case).