Majority of states require certain industries (i.e. schools, churches, in home health care etc.) to utilize FBI and the Department of Justice fingerprint reports as part of the hiring process. A new study has revealed major flaws associated with these types of searches, specifically:
- Results from these databases are incomplete
This means that not every single agency/county in the United States contributes records to the FBI/DOJ database. Therefore, an applicant could potential commit a crime and be convicted in a jurisdiction that doesn’t disclose case information and be cleared inadvertently.
- Majority of Reports are Arrest Records Only
Federal and State law specifically states that criminal records resulting in a conviction is the only type of information that can be used in making an employment decision. This means that arrests not resulting in a conviction shouldn’t appear on an employment background check. The reasoning is that anyone can be arrested for anything, but if they are convicted of the crime why should it show up on their background.
- Applicant’s aren’t allowed to challenge results
If an employer is going to take adverse action based on results from an employment background check, they must allow the applicant to review the report and dispute any information they feel is inaccurate with the agency who procured the report. Unfortunately applicants aren’t allowed to dispute nor amend the information reported by the FBI and DOJ.
Employers must understand the potential compliance and liability issues with utilizing fingerprint results. A solution is to engage a CRA (Consumer Reporting Agency) and have them conduct an independent background check to see what results they reveal.