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Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

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An employment background check is not a pass/fail system. Performing a background check is a good way to avoid making a problematic hire. But background check issues shouldn’t make you automatically disqualify good candidates. If you find something problematic, it’s always a good idea to bring it up with your candidates and give them a chance to respond.

  • Why should I do background checks?
  • Background checks can reveal red flags. Red flags refer to anything you need to know about a person before you put them on your payroll. Should any sort of litigation ever emerge against your organization, it is very important for you to show your due diligence and consistency in screening candidates, employees, and volunteers.

  • Are background checks required by law?
  • Many industries, especially those that require the handling of other people’s personal and private information, require background screenings. These include government, healthcare, finance, and education. But even if your organization does not operate in or provide services to these industries, there are a number of compelling reasons to do a background check, especially dealing with children, youth, and at-risk adults.

  • Do I need to get permission to background check someone?
  • Yes, you do. If you want to order and review any kind of background check to determine somebody’s eligibility, you must get their permission. LaborChex makes this as painless as possible through automation of their electronic consent.

  • What information do I need to know about the applicant to run a background check?
  • You need the candidate’s full legal name (first, middle, and last), full date of birth, and Social Security Number. The Social Security Number will be used to verify the identity of the person being checked. A driver’s license number will be used to run a motor vehicle report.

  • How often should I do a background screening on my volunteers and employees?
  • The best option is to run a comprehensive background screening on your employees and volunteers during the pre-employment process and then check again annually. Hiring someone doesn’t mean that he or she won’t commit a crime in the future. Without a scheduled re-check, you have no way of knowing if someone has been convicted unless the information is volunteered.

  • What happens if I choose to decline an employee or volunteer applicant based on the background screening?
  • If you decline an applicant employment based on what was found in the background screening, you must provide the applicant with at least two notifications, commonly known as the pre-adverse and adverse action letter. For more information on the pre-adverse and adverse action letter click here.

  • How often do I have to order reports to keep my Laborchex account active?
  • There are no monthly minimums, but we do ask all clients to order at least one background check a year in order to keep their account active.

  • How long does it take to run a background check?
  • That depends on what type of report is run:

    NATIONAL CRIMINAL DATABASE – Instant
    FEDERAL CRIMINAL RECORD – 24 Hours
    NATIONAL SEX OFFENDER REGISTRY – 24 Hours
    COUNTY CRIMINAL RECORD – 1-3 Days
    STATE CRIMINAL RECORD – 1-3 Days
    COUNTY CIVIL RECORD – 2-5 Days
    MOTOR VEHICLE REPORT – Instant for 40 States; 1-10 Days for Other States

  • What is the FCRA?
  • The Fair Credit Reporting Act, better known as the FCRA, was first enacted in 1971 to ensure that consumer reporting agencies exercise their grave responsibilities with fairness, impartiality, and a respect for the consumer’s right to privacy. In essence, the FCRA protects the subject of a report by putting limits on what consumer reporting agencies can investigate and report on.

    Even though it is named the Fair Credit Reporting Act, the FCRA applies to much more than credit reports. These reports can include the consumer’s credit standing but can also extend to character, reputation, mode of living, and similar information that can be used to determine a person’s eligibility for credit, insurance, or a job. By these standards, background screening companies are consumer report agencies that the FCRA regulates.

    Within the FCRA, there are a number of rules about what must and must not be reported. For instance, reported bankruptcy cases can be no older than ten years and all other adverse information reported, with the sole exception of criminal convictions, can be no older than seven years. Also, no medical information can be shared unless the report is being used for insurance purposes.

    In addition to protecting the consumer once the check is underway, the FCRA also requires an employer to disclose some information and obtain the consumer’s permission before the check can legally begin.