April 21st, 2017 | Debbie Lamb, Sterling Talent Solutions

Your FCRA Questions Answered

Raising hands

Before I started at Sterling, I didn’t know much about background screening. I’m still learning the ins and outs of the processes, but I have come to realize that screening is a critical part of the hiring process. I also learned that background screening is a very highly regulated industry. And while it’s just one step in the hiring process, it’s a very important one. Businesses want to make sure that they are hiring the right people for their company. Employment screening gives employers peace of mind that they are hiring the right candidate for the job with as quick of turnaround as possible.

Background screening has become a regular part of the hiring process for a majority of companies. So much so, it seems as if there is a news story about background screening(both positive and negative) that pop up in my news alerts every day. Job candidates are protected under various local, state and federal employment and consumer protection laws. Employers need to be familiar and compliant with these regulations when hiring new employees.

Sterling FCRA Webinar Questions and Answers

Sterling feels that it is important to be a source of the latest updates about compliance changes. Sterling conducts a quarterly FCRA Compliance webinar series to keep attendees current on the latest FCRA Compliance updates. We received quite a few questions throughout the webinar. We compiled the top 11 questions from the webinar below:

  1. What is the FCRA? The Federal Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) promotes the accuracy, fairness, and privacy of information in the files of consumer reporting agencies.
  2. What types of searches are included in the FCRA? The FCRA governs services that Sterling provides including criminal history searches, motor vehicle reports, credit reports and employment and education verifications.
  3. How do I get copies of the disclosure, authorization and state-specific notifications? While Sterling does provide sample disclosure and authorization forms, we recommend you review all forms with your legal counsel before use.
  4. Can the authorization and disclosure forms be sent at the same time?While you can send or have your candidate sign the disclosure and authorization forms at the same time, we advise that the forms be kept on separate pages.
  5. For re-occurring background checks or periodic monitoring, does an employer need to obtain new disclosure and authorization forms every time?In California, you must get a new disclosure and authorization form every time you plan on conducting background checks. In other states, you may use the same disclosure and authorization form if it has continuing consent language.
  6. As an employer who operates under multiple jurisdictions, which state-specific notices and ban the box laws should we comply, the location of our company headquarters, or where the employee lives/works?In most cases, you should follow the rules and regulations in the city/state in which the candidate will be working. This means if you and your company headquarters are located in New York and your candidate lives in New Jersey and works in New York City, you should follow all legislation for New York State and New York City.
  7. Which states have a specific summary of rights?As of April 6, 2017, Washington State, California, Massachusetts, New Jersey and New York have state specific notifications you must give candidates before conducting the background check. To find a copy of these notices, please visit our website for sample forms.
  8. What methods are considered “secure” enough to send a copy of the report, pre-adverse and adverse action letters? Does it have to be sent certified mail?The report does not need to be sent via certified mail. You can email the report, but it should be sent encrypted.
  9. Is there any guidance on when the background check should be run?Best practice advice would be to run the background check post offer.
  10. Are volunteers protected under the FCRA?Yes. The FCRA has a broad definition of employment and covers volunteers
  11. How long should you keep a background check report, even if you don”t hire the individual in question?Best practice advice is for the employer to keep everything related to the background check for five years plus the current year.

* PLEASE NOTE: Documents/presentations should NOT be construed as legal advice, guidance or counsel. Employers should consult their own attorney about their compliance responsibilities under the FCRA and applicable state and municipal law. Sterling expressly disclaims any warranties or responsibility for damages associated with or arising out of this document/presentation or other information provided.

Sterling strives to keep its clients up to date on laws pertaining to the background screening industry. To find out more about FCRA Compliance and information for the background screening industry, listen to an On Demand version of the webinar and sign up for the quarterly updates and future webinars.

Sterling is not a law firm. This publication is for informational purposes only and nothing contained in it should be construed as legal advice. We expressly disclaim any warranty or responsibility for damages arising out this information. We encourage you to consult with legal counsel regarding your specific needs. We do not undertake any duty to update previously posted materials.