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Disclosure and Authorization Form Clarification

December 11th, 2014 | Sterling

There continues to be some confusion regarding the recent announcement that we have changed our Disclosure & Authorization forms. Please take a moment to review the update below and contact your manager if you have any additional questions.

1. Client Communication about New Forms

Our sample Disclosure and Authorization forms changed in mid-May. As a result, we are asking clients to use the new forms. We realize that it may take time for a client to switch over due to internal legal review or other administrative requirements.

If the client cannot switch to the new forms immediately, we ask that the AM/BRM secure an email acknowledgement from the client stating that they are in the process of changing to the new form or that they are directing Sterling to continue using the old form as their consent and disclosure form. The AM/BRM should upload the email acknowledgment to the account record for tracking/recording purposes.

We will continue to fulfill orders without this communication in place for the time being, however, please complete all client communication and subsequent acknowledgements by July 15.

2. Verifications/Operations

There has been some miscommunication regarding the acceptance of old forms. Please note that the old disclosure and authorization form will continue to be accepted for the time being. Any orders that are on hold due to the consent issue will be processed ASAP.

3. Client Logos on Disclosure and Authorization Forms

SterlingBackcheck has removed its logo from the sample forms because the responsibility for forms ultimately belongs to the client, so they should not be branded with the screening provider’s name. No logo is needed on the forms and there is no requirement for a client to add their logo to a disclosure and authorization form.

Please contact your manager or Joe Rotondo if you have any questions.

FAQ’s for the Disclosure and Authorization Forms:

1. Why is SterlingBackcheck changing the Consent and Disclosure Form?
A. SterlingBackcheck has all forms reviewed by outside counsel on a continuous basis. The legal environment has changed considerably over the past few years, so at this time, it was decided to re-name and modify the form. Also, with legislation changes, we do more than just alter our reporting. We also update all of our forms, processes and technology, including our fulfillment process, adverse action process and software. This continuous commitment to legal compliance is reflected in our accreditation by the National Association of Professional Background Screeners (NAPBS). This gold standard is awarded to a small percentage of background screening companies and is the result of our adherence to 56 different quality and compliance measures.

2. Why do other CRA’s have a one-page form?
A. Actually, some of our competitors have modified their forms.

3. Why do we now have separate forms?
A. Based on the advice of counsel, having separate Disclosure and Authorization forms puts Sterling and its’ clients in the best position to be compliant with the FCRA.

4. Can clients continue to use the old Sterling Consent and Disclosure form?
A. No, they should utilize the new Disclosure and Authorization form or their own form, after consulting with their own legal counsel.

5. Is it illegal for a company to use their own forms?
A. The client is responsible for using a compliant Disclosure and Authorization form, so any form that they use should be reviewed by legal counsel.

6. Will SterlingBackcheck modify the Disclosure and Authorization forms for staffing agency clients?
A. Yes, the forms have been modified for staffing agency clients.

7. Will the electronic version of the new forms be uploaded to all platforms?
A. Yes, except for the South platform. The date for these platform updates is TBD and we will let you know when it will happen.

8. Can SterlingBackcheck provide the new forms in one attachment?
A. We recommend sending the documents separately to our clients.

9. Are drug tests covered under the Fair Credit Reporting Act?
A. This answer depends on how the test was performed and if it was performed with any other services.


  • A drug test and a criminal check or other services on one report. Covered under the FCRA.
  • An instant drug test where SterlingBackcheck as a CRA never receives the results. Not covered under the FCRA.
  • A client that only does drug tests through SterlingBackcheck. Not covered under the FCRA.
  • A random drug test or post-accident. Not covered under the FCRA.

10. How can drug tests sometimes be covered under the FCRA at sometimes but not at other times?
A. Based on advice from counsel and an FTC opinion letter if a Consumer reporting agency assembles the drug test with other services it is likely a consumer report. If it is not with other services it is likely a pass through from the lab to the employer.

11. If drug tests are covered in the FCRA what does my client need to do?
A. SterlingBackcheck is advising that applicants should obtain the proper disclosure and authorization and perform the adverse action process.

12. Will SterlingBackcheck differentiate between drug tests under the FCRA and not under the FCRA for dispute purposes?
A. No, we will give the opportunity to all applicants to dispute the report.

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.