Reacting to Background Check Results: Guidelines to Follow

You run background checks in the first place to protect your company assets. So when something turns up that causes concern, it is important to take adverse action as conscientiously as you did the process of running a background check.

For example, before conducting a background check on a prospective employee (also called a consumer report), you must have:

  • acquired written permission from the applicant to seek a consumer report
  • made the applicant aware that a report was being sought and that the results could potentially affect their employment eligibility
  • ensured that your process adhered to local and state laws pertaining to consumer report information as well as FCRA regulations

Taking adverse action means denying or terminating employment based on the information uncovered in the screening process. When or if you decide to take adverse action in response to the results of a consumer report/background check, you must do the following in order to remain compliant with the FCRA:

  • let the application know of the decision in writing, providing proper notice and clear reasoning
  • provide the applicant with a summary of their FCRA rights
  • provide a copy of the consumer report
  • give the applicant a chance to explain or rectify the information uncovered
  • provide the contact info of company used to obtain the consumer report, including a disclaimer that the company was not responsible for the decisions made
  • properly dispose of applicant’s sensitive information

By following these guidelines, you protect yourself from liability in regards to your decision while also protecting the interests of your company. Read more.

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