The FTC recommends that employers keep the background checks disclosures and requests for authorization simple. Simple has become synonymous with compliance, according to recent statements issues by the FTC: “Keep it simple. It’s not just a good idea. It’s the law.”
Cover Your Bases. It’s Easier Than You Think
Simple also means easy. In fact, the FTC claims you can do it in a few sentences. So what should those few sentences say? In a single document (which will be provided to the prospective employee during or at the end of the interview process), there should be found:
- a concise, easy-to-understand notification that a background screening report will be obtained and their credit pulled
- a request for the prospect’s written authorization
It might be tempting to add unique provisions that you find important, such as requiring the prospect to certify all info on the application is correct, confirming that they understand your hiring decisions are non-discriminatory, and including broad authorizations to access or use questionable data (ex. bankruptcy information that is older than 10 years). Don’t be tempted, because you could be venturing into the realm of noncompliance with the FCRA.
When Should You Provide the Background Check Disclosure?
Obviously, you want to get the prospect’s authorizing signature before running the report, but new ban-the-box provisions are pushing for the running of background checks after the interview has taken place and the prospect has had the opportunity to prove their merits and ability to perform the job in question. This may already be your process, but it’s important to consider what findings are deal-breakers and what might be handled on a case-by-case basis.
What’s Your Process?
Does your background check disclosure need work? Let us know.