Regulations for Criminal History Background Screening
There are many people currently in distress over the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) 7 year’s criminal history regulations. There seems to be issues on both sides of the fence. Both smaller and larger firms have had a recent history of committing infractions of the FCRA compliance regulations.
In December of 2011, a woman filed suit against a consumer reporting agency for providing a background check that involved negative information from over seven years earlier than the date of the requested report.
According to FCRA regulations, the only adverse information agencies are allowed to report from background checks are convictions that occurred within the last seven years.
GIS, the consumer agency under question, claimed that the regulation placing a limitation of seven years into the past was a violation of the first amendment. GIS notes that federal law penalizes reporting agencies for providing the information, but not the employers for using the information in consideration of employment.
The Department of Justice (DOJ) stated that the U.S. government was stepping in to protect the constitutionality of the FCRA regulation. This case shows the importance for both employers and reporting agencies to make sure each other is abiding by the FCRA 7 Years Criminal History regulations.
Increasing rates of violence in the workplace and negligent hiring allegations is compelling more employers to vet background reports. This is just as important to make sure it is done in compliance with the FCRA.
According to FCRA regulations, consumer reporting agencies are prohibited from providing certain information on background reports for employment.
- Information on any arrests that are more than seven years earlier than the date of the report
- Any personal medical data without a consent firm
People that earn over $75,000 annually may see arrest information longer than seven years in the past included on their background reports due to a Salary Exception. Before requesting the report from the agencies, employers are required to provide the applicant with a clear disclaimer of disclosure and obtain the applicant’s written consent of the query.
The employer is also required to inform the applicant about the types of information that will be requested in the report. If the employer decides to take adverse action as a result of the report, they are required to conduct the complete pre-adverse/adverse action process.
Pre-Adverse/Adverse Action Process for FCRA Compliance
- Notify the employee of the adverse action
- Provide the contact information for the agency that provided the report
- Notify the applicant of their right to request a free report within two months
- Notify the applicant the right to dispute the negative information
You can read about the FCRA on the FTC website.