I made a sales presentation recently to a husband and wife team who owned several businesses and employed about 250 people. A day after a new warehouse manager began his job the local sheriff showed up with several warrants for his arrest. He had failed to appear in court for drug and domestic violence charges. The arrest took place on company property in front of coworkers and customers. It was awkward, embarrassing and unnecessary.
For about $25 spent on a background check the above owners could have learned of their applicant’s legal issues. It would have been up to them to offer or deny employment based on what they had learned, but at least they would have had important and accurate information to review. For the time it would take a decent-sized app to download into your cellphone you could have ordered a criminal and driving record from LaborChex on this job applicant and received the results.
Before ordering a background screening report from a third-party provider, the employer must provide the applicant/employee with an FCRA-compliant “disclosure” and obtain written consent.
If the employer is going to take adverse action based in part or whole on a background screening report from a third-party provider, it must follow the three-step process required by the FCRA.
If an employer is considering rejecting an applicant, terminating an employee or taking another adverse action based in part or whole on a background screening report from a third-party provider, it must follow certain procedures specified in the FCRA.
First, the employer must provide a pre-adverse action notification to the employee or applicant enclosing a copy of the background screening report as well as a federal government notice entitled “A Summary of Your Rights under the Fair Credit Reporting Act.” It is sometimes forgotten that this governmental notice was updated in late 2012. If an employer’s notice refers to the Federal Trade Commission instead of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, it is using an obsolete version.
After providing the pre-adverse action materials identified above, the employer must wait a reasonable period of time to allow the applicant or employee to identify inaccuracies or mistakes in the report. At least one opinion letter from the Federal Trade Commission has suggested that five business days is reasonable, so that is a typical rule of thumb.
Upon completion of the waiting period, the employer must send an adverse action letter to the applicant or employee stating that it is taking adverse action based in part or whole on the screening report. The FCRA requires that employers include very specific content in the adverse action letter (approximately five different items), so they should be sure to check the statute before drafting the letter.
To learn more, call 1-800-880-0366 or visit us at our website www.laborchex.com
Contributed by Ricky Rayborn of LABORCHEX.