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What You Need to Know About Background Check Compliance

Background checks provide a wide realm of information that can be extremely valuable as you make an employment decision about a candidate or employee. Falling under this umbrella may be criminal records, credit reports, work histories, educational backgrounds, social media usage, and more. But, as a responsible and legally compliant employer, you must be diligent in adhering to all applicable guidelines, regulations, and federal laws.

In a nutshell: Any information you use must be job-related and not based on any protected category to avoid possible charges of discrimination.

What does “job-related” mean?

Job-related information is anything found on a background check that is clearly relevant to the duties and tasks associated with a position.

  • According to the EEOC and FTC, for instance, any policy that excludes a candidate or employee with a criminal record from employment that is not job-related and consistent with business necessity is unlawful.
  • A conviction must be directly related to the job being filled. For example, a DUI conviction may be relevant for someone applying to be a van driver but not for a custodian.
  • An arrest record alone cannot be used to make a hiring decision. However, it may trigger further investigation into whether the behavior that prompted the arrest would justify an adverse employment action.
  • Except in rare cases, you must disregard any information revealed about a person’s genetics, including family medical history. Don’t ask medical questions unless you have objective evidence that an individual would be unable to do the job or would pose a safety if hired due to that condition.

What does “non-discriminatory” mean?

Discrimination in employment based on race, color, national origin, sex, religion, disability, genetic information, or age – also known as protected characteristics – is prohibited.

  • Treating candidates with the same criminal records differently because of any such characteristic is considered disparate treatment discrimination.
  • If you question hiring a person because of an issue related to a disability, you must allow them to demonstrate their ability to do the job, despite this background information, unless doing so would pose significant financial or operational difficulty to your company.

Additional Important Points

Also, keep in mind that before getting background reports, you must obtain written consent from candidates and employees. This must be a stand-alone document, separate from any others, including employment applications.

Before you reject an applicant based on their background check results, you must provide

  • A copy of A Summary of Your Rights under the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA).
  • A copy of the consumer report you relied on to make your decision.
  • Notice that an individual has the right to dispute the accuracy and/or completeness of a report.
  • Notice that an individual can obtain an additional free report, upon request, within 60 days.

You must retain background check results and other hiring records for one year. If a charge of discrimination is filed, you must maintain records until the case is concluded.

Knowing all you need to in order to effectively complete background checks and ensure compliance is a huge responsibility. Why not leave it to the experts? Chane Solutions offers one central location for all your background screening and drug testing needs. Contact us today to see how easy it is to get started.

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