Recommends US Employers Review Their Background Screening Practices as Background Screening Faces More Scrutiny

Share Article recommends a review of background screening practices and a thorough review of all policies that pertain to the hiring and retention of employees in 2013 as well as explore the policies of current third-party background screening companies utilized for pre-employment screening.

Criminal Background Records

Criminal Background Records

Understanding your background screening company’s compliance capabilities is just as important as understanding the information they can provide.

On April 25, 2012 the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission released new Guidelines that relate to the use of Criminal History as a part of pre-employment background screening. This broad reaching policy will effect nearly every employer in the United States.

From the Guidelines:
An employer’s use of an individual’s criminal history in making employment decisions may, in some instances, violate the prohibition against employment discrimination under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, as amended.

The above statement highlights change that continues in the background screening industry. The EEOC's overarching policy is a complicated shift that requires strict attention. Utilizing a third-party background screening company that understands these changes will be critical for companies that do not have the internal resources to remain complaint.

Human resource departments and hiring managers are being met with a new challenge when it comes to criminal background checks: individualized assessments for the disqualification of a candidate based on his or her criminal background. (December 29, 2012,

Further, local policy shifts will change how background screening is conducted. For example, the Ohio Department of Health has "proposed new administrative rules scheduled to take effect January 1, 2013 that will significantly impact the obligations of a home health agency ("HHA") regarding background checks of its current and potential employees." (December 18, 2012, One of the key changes will be the use of "continuous" or "post-hire" background checks. Under the proposal HHA's will be required to conduct criminal history checks upon hire as well as every five years. (Ibid)
Another change that occurs on January 1, 2013 effects all employers.

Effective January 1, 2013, employers must begin using a new Fair Credit Reporting Act ("FCRA") notice in connection with their background screening process. The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau ("CFPB") recently issued regulations updating the notice entitled "A Summary of Your Rights Under the FCRA" ("Summary of Consumer's Rights"), among other notices.
Based on the examples above changes abound within the background screening industry, not only a federal basis but a local one as well. Third-party background screening companies should have a firm and complete understanding of the rules and regulations that govern the industry they operate within and have the ability to share this understanding with their clients on a transparent basis. recommends that companies and organizations of every size understand new and evolving government regulations in order to operate within a compliant manner when it comes to hiring practices and policies.

Unfortunately some background screening companies have been penalized by the FTC. Two companies, HireRight and Spokeo stand out.

In August of 2012 HireRight received a $2.6 million dollar penalty.

An employment background screening company that provides consumer reports to companies nationwide will pay $2.6 million to settle Federal Trade Commission charges that it violated the Fair Credit Reporting Act by failing to use reasonable procedures to assure the maximum possible accuracy of information it provided, failing to give consumers copies of their reports, and failing to reinvestigate consumer disputes, as required by law.

In June of 2012 the FTC penalized Spokeo for misconduct of business practice:
Spokeo, Inc., a data broker that compiles and sells detailed information profiles on millions of consumers, will pay $800,000 to settle Federal Trade Commission charges that it marketed the profiles to companies in the human resources, background screening, and recruiting industries without taking steps to protect consumers required under the Fair Credit Reporting Act. This is the first Commission case to address the sale of Internet and social media data in the employment screening context. CEO and President Adam Almeida suggests: "All companies, large and small, should utilize a professional third-party background screening company to assist in remaining in compliance with current regulations as well as actively protecting consumer privacy rights. Understanding your background screening company’s compliance capabilities is just as important as understanding the information they can provide." is a third-party background screening company that takes pride in their ability to provide the most current information available in a secure and compliant manner. As a member of the National Association of Professional Background Screeners, holds itself to the highest standards of their national association as well as all Federal, State, and local laws enforcing the background screening industry. For a complete review of current hiring policies and pre-employment compliance contact today.

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