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Monday HR Minute: Background Checks, Part 1
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Background Checks, Part 1: General Information

A recommended best practice for hiring a new employee includes running a background check on the applicant.  Background checks help you know more about the person you are hiring such as if they have the education and experience needed to do the job properly.  They can also help you meet legal or client requirements and serve as a defense against future negligent hiring claims.

When running background checks, there are several legal regulations to follow.

Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA):

The same legislation that regulates our credit reports also established regulations applying to background checks specifically those run by a third party. So, if you use a background check provider, both you and the provider must follow the requirements outlined in the FCRA and both have liability for failure to follow them.  These requirements include:
  • Get a signed authorization and resale of information from the applicant before running the background check.
  • If you decide to take adverse action (meaning that you will no longer be considering this candidate for the position) based on concerning information discovered in the background check, you must:
    • provide the applicant with a pre-adverse action notice, a copy of the consumer report, and “A Summary of Your Rights Under the Fair Credit Reporting Act”;
    • allow the applicant a chance to explain or time to correct the record; and
    • provide an adverse action letter if the explanation or correction does not change your decision.
  • If you choose to take adverse action, do not use another reason as an excuse to avoid these requirements as that is a violation of the FCRA as well.
Note: The FCRA usually does not apply if you perform the check yourself.  Therefore if you contact the local courts for a criminal record or call the references listed, you may not have to provide the same notices.

Ban-the-box:

Some states, counties, and/or cities have passed laws prohibiting employers from asking about criminal history on the application.  This may apply to public or private employers or both. The laws outline when questions about criminal background may be asked which is usually not before an interview, after the initial interview, or only after extending a conditional offer of employment.

These laws also may exclude some industries from these requirements, but those are usually limited to companies or positions that deal with child or elder care and possibly financial institutions and security.

Next week: Part 2: Criminal History Checks

 

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"Affinity HR Group helps us hire the right people for our fast growing organization. We have a great working relationship with the Affinity HR team.  It’s a true partnership."

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Chief Operating Officer  |  
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And Affinity can ensure your HR practices & policies are compliant and costs a fraction of the price of other national providers, such as Paychex & ADP. 

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Managing Partner  |  Affineco




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The Monday HR Minute, brought to you by Affinity HR Group, is designed to provide you with practical, applicable human resources and management advice and information in a format that will take you 60 seconds or less to read.  We believe that by dedicating just one minute a week to thinking about people management practices, business owners and managers can make enormous strides in improving workplace performance.
Affinity HR Group is a full service human resources consulting firm that specializes in advising small and medium-sized enterprises. Our services include recruiting and selection, HR policies and compliance, ad hoc HR support, compensation and performance management, and training and development. We are an endorsed HR partner of a number of leading national trade associations and offer free initial consultations and discounted services to their member companies.
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This e-mail may contain general information about legal matters. Affinity HR Group does not provide legal counsel. The information provided should not be considered legal advice and should not be relied on as an alternative to legal advice from your attorney or other professional legal services provider. If you have any specific questions about this content or any legal matter you should consult your attorney or other professional legal services provider.
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