Best Practices for Background Checks
When you are hiring employees, background checks can help make sure you have the right people, and having the right people can impact your organization’s success and the safety of your communities. Ultimately, background checks help you screen out dangerous individuals, and assist you in retaining the best possible candidates.
Conducting background checks for employment purposes is an extremely important tool for many employers. The following are some best practices:
● Review Job Descriptions
Employers should review the requirements of each position and determine whether a background check is necessary for that position. Employers should also review and consider narrowing the positions for which they are running credit reports and make sure that the information requested from each candidate is relevant to the specific position for which the candidate applies.
● Review Policies And Procedures
Employers should review their background screening policies and procedures and develop processes to ensure that all the necessary notice and disclosures are being provided to candidates in compliance with Title VII and the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA).
● Comply With The EEOC Guidance
Employers should also remember the EEOC guidance and when they are reviewing a candidate’s criminal history information, also consider:
· The nature and gravity of the offense;
· The time that has passed since the conviction and/or completion of the sentence;
· The nature of the job held or sought; and
· Apply the EEOC’s individualized assessment factors.
● Consider The Timing of Background Checks
Employers should determine when to inquire about an individual’s criminal history and when to conduct a background check (i.e., after making conditional offers of employment, or after an interview).
Even then, employers should not automatically rescind an offer if they find something concerning in the background check, but should consider asking that person about the negative information. There may be a legitimate explanation, such as identity theft, for the negative information. There could also be an error on the report.
● Disclosure Statements And Authorizations
Employers should also carefully review their disclosure and authorization forms for compliance on a regular basis. They should consider eliminating any extraneous information from the disclosure form, including a release of liability from the candidate, and consider separating the disclosure form from the authorization form.
● Comply With Pre-Adverse And Adverse Action Notice Requirements
Employers must also review their procedures for ensuring that pre-adverse action and post-adverse action notices are provided in accordance with the FCRA. The key is that employers must also make sure that they always provide candidates with a copy of their consumer report and give them a reasonable opportunity to dispute the accuracy of the report, before the adverse action is taken.
● Comply With State Requirements
Employers should be aware of the laws in the states in which they operate. This includes state laws requiring “job relatedness” for criminal and credit background checks, ban-the-box laws, and laws concerning the timing of background checks, and laws concerning state and local-specific notices/disclosures to be provided to candidates.