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How Employers Should Handle Consumer Reports

January is a fast-paced month for HR departments across the United States. Job seekers rested for a few weeks during the holidays and are now leaping into Q1 motivated to get a promotion, excited to start their careers after graduating, or even seeking new assignments to redirect their careers. No matter the case, HR departments need to recruit quickly, efficiently, and compliantly. Here are some pointers to ensure you’re recruiting and rescreening employees in compliance with the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA), which is enforced by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC).

Before the Background Check

  1. Transparency is your key to legal compliance and safety for both pre-employment screenings and rolling background checks. Before acquiring a consumer report, advise applicants of the fact that information presented in their consumer reports may be used for decisions related to their employment at your company. This can be noted in an employment application or any other formal document.
  1. Document written and signed permission from the applicant or existing employee. If you plan on implementing rolling background checks, make sure this information is shared clearly.
  1. Confirm that the database you are getting the applicant or employee’s information from is a compliant resource. Ensure that you documented and took each of the following steps:
  • The applicant or employee was notified and gave your company permission to get a consumer report.
  • The process complied with all current FCRA requirements.
  • Any decisions will not discriminate against the applicant or employee or misuse the information presented in the report.
  1. Work with a skilled legal counsel and KRESS to review all applicable state and federal laws, and ensure that they were considered and adhered to throughout the entire recruitment and screening process.

After the Background Check

  1. If you reject a job application, reassign an employee, terminate an employee, deny a promotion, or take any other action based on information presented in a consumer report, make sure you provide the employee with a document outlining your decision and a copy of the report that informed your company’s decision.
  2. Provide a copy of rights under the Fair Credit Reporting Act provided by the company who you sourced the consumer reports from.
  3. Allow the applicant or employee to review the report and confirm its validity in relation to your decision.

Dispose of the Consumer Report

Once a screening or rescreening process is complete, employers must dispose of reports and any information pulled from them properly. Shred physical documents and permanently delete electronic information so that it cannot be repurposed in any way.

For more information on how to obtain and review consumer reports, contact our team at KRESS to guide your company every step of the way to ensure you recruit and screen new or existing employees in an accurate and timely fashion. We take the pressure off of HR departments by using the most credible databases and software on the market to obtain and review consumer reports. Let’s get started!  

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