background-checks-1Not long ago, we hosted a webinar entitled “Save Big Dollars in Legal Fees & Settlement Costs by Implementing a Background Screening Policy.” It was attended by clients, industry experts, and representatives from several fellow background screening companies. This is a follow up to that presentation to illuminate and respond to certain questions brought up by attendees.


During the webinar we outlined seven crucial sections all background screening policies should contain:

Purpose of Policy – States why the organization conducts background checks.

Scope of Policy – Employment screening policies should be designed to protect property and people with whom your employees will come in contact.

Responsible Administrators – Which department or group will be implementing and managing the policy.

Sensitive Positions – Identify each position within the organization; establish basic background search criteria for all employees and additional searches, if necessary, pertinent to each type of position.

Hiring Manager’s Responsibility – Review information for inaccuracies or any negative or derogatory information and delineation of proper procedures for the delivery of pre-adverse/adverse action process.

Retention of Records – Each employee’s records should be stored until a specified time after that employee is terminated, then properly and safely destroyed.

Legal Compliance – Ensure that the company abides by the Fair Credit Reporting Act and all other applicable federal and state laws.

In further clarification of the training section “Hiring Manger’s Responsibilities” specifically, when to use the pre-adverse or adverse action processes. Please be aware the FCRA states that if an organization is not going to be hiring an applicant based upon information obtained from a background screening report, than that company must complete the pre-adverse/adverse action process with the applicant. This allows the subject of the report to dispute any information contained within the background, by contacting the CRA (credit reporting agency) that furnished the disputed information.

Furthermore, we discussed three factors that the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) feels every employer must carefully review before making an employment decision based upon a criminal case revealed in the report.

Date of Conviction – How long has it been since the subject of the report was convicted of the crime?

Nature of Crime – The details surrounding the nature of the crime (i.e.: does it indicate a propensity for violence, sexually deviant behavior, a weakness for alcohol or drugs? Whether the crime was a misdemeanor or felony, whether or not jail or prison time was served, the current probationary or parole status, etc.)

Job Related – Is the crime directly related to the job being sought (i.e.: “driving under the influence” conviction for delivery drivers, or bankruptcy, federal tax lien or “bad check violations” for someone in an accounting position.)

Background screening policies are essential to employers and employees; not only do they deter discrimination claims arising from disqualified candidates, they allow employers to make better hiring decisions based upon the principle that the best predictor of future behavior is indicated in one’s past.