Understanding Background Screening Under the Fair Credit Reporting Act

If you are hiring within the United States, you need to know how to remain in compliance with the requirements of the federal Fair Credit Reporting Act if you are going to avoid the many pitfalls that can come with noncompliance with federal employment law. To understand what that means, it helps to start by making sure you understand the FCRA. Then, CRA background screening will make a lot more sense to you. Remember, the purpose of these regulations is not just to protect the consumer, it’s also to protect you as a business owner by protecting everyone’s privacy, including your own.

What You Need to Know About the FCRA

The FCRA governed all “consumer reporting agencies” in the United States, not just the major credit bureaus, although that was their primary focus. Enacted in 1970, it spells out exactly what you can and can’t go looking for, how you can conduct background checks, and the steps you need to take if you wind up learning something through CRA background checks that causes you to need to take adverse actions.

If you are looking to use a third-party background screening service, all of this information should be made available to you by your background screening partner. That’s because it is their job to ensure you have the tools necessary to be in compliance. If your background screening partner does not provide this information, or if the information is hard to understand and you do not receive support, it is a good idea to look for a new partner rather than to risk the costs of noncompliance.

The FCRA allows for CRA background screening for “permissible purposes” that include employment screening purposes. There are a number of other purposes outlined in Section 604 of the Act that spell out other conditions under which you might request them permissibly as well. It is also important that you understand how to disclose and receive authorization for the background check, including how o construct the notification paperwork that demonstrates your compliance in your own records.

Finding the Right Background Screening Partner

It can be difficult to know that you are getting all the right resources and tools when you first start trying to use CRA background screening at your business. That’s understandable, and that’s why you need to be sure that you are on the lookout for the tools and resources that your prospective partners make available to you as you consider them. You should be able to tell that you have found a company that is interested in setting you up for success with compliance by the way they introduce you to their services. If they provide you with detailed materials like a one-sheet white paper that explains the basics while linking you to more comprehensive resources, then you have likely found a good choice. To firm up the selection after that, all you need to do is make sure they stack up in the speed and accuracy departments as well.

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