While pre-employment background checks are a standard part of the hiring process, not all organizations have established a specific background check process to ensure all background screening needs and requirements are fulfilled. In some cases, organizations only conduct background checks when they determine that they need them. Rather than having a set process in place for all hires, they trust that their recruitment staff will follow the necessary laws and regulations.
However, this is a very risky and dangerous approach. By leaving the background screening process to the discretion of employees, you could find yourself in legal trouble. Without a formal process, it is difficult to identify when a misstep occurs. Because of this, your organization could end up committing legal violations and, as a result, get sued by a potential hire.
To minimize the chances of this happening, your organization should have a background check process in place which every employee follows and all hires must go through.
What the Law Says
To successfully conduct a background check and avoid any legal issues, you must understand the pertinent laws which govern background screening. There is one law which every background checking process should be based on: the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA). This law spells out how a background check should be carried out to the very last detail. Understand and use this law to create legally sound guideposts for the steps in the pre-hiring background screening process. Another law you should be aware of is the “ban-the-box” law. Currently, there are around 100 jurisdictions within the US which have ban-the-box laws. Check to see if your organization is based in a jurisdiction where a ban-the-box law is in effect, then design your screening process around its restrictions.
Creating a Background Check Process
A background check process policy should outline the following:
- Establish when during the interview process the background check will be carried out.
- Determine which types of background checks you will carry out, and if all positions will require each check, or only specific ones.
- Determine who will carry out the background screening. It is safest to use an external background checking company, like CheckPoint Screening, to ensure you conduct your checks in accordance with the law.
- You should also determine which employee(s) will be responsible for conducting or requesting the background check, as well as which employee(s) will have access to the results.
- Give a disclosure and get authorization. Every background check has to be preceded by a disclosure from you and authorization from the potential hire to run a background check.
- If you do not hire a candidate because of something you find on his or her background check, you must send the applicant an “adverse action notification” and a copy of the background check report. You will also be required to allow them to counter and offer explanation. You then re-evaluate and make a determination.
There are many steps you must take to properly and legally conduct a background check on a potential hire. Let the experts at CheckPoint Screening conduct your background checks for you to help save time, get the information you need and ensure you are in compliance with the law.