1. Why should I run background checks?
Conducting background screening on job applicants has become a matter of necessity for employers for several reasons. Many applicants make false claims on their job applications and/or resumes or have been involved in criminal activity which they may not disclose. If you want to ensure a safer workplace and avoid negligent hiring lawsuits, the amount you would pay to pre-screen your applicants is very small compared to the legal fees you could have to pay later.
2. What searches are included in a background check?
Generally, the basic searches ordered as part of most background checks are County Criminal Record Check, Social Security Number Trace, Employment Verifications, and Education Verifications.
3. What does a Social Security Trace reveal?
The results of this search will reveal all of the counties your applicant has reported using their Social Security Number, as well as any other names or dates of birth your applicant may have used. This search is highly recommended because your applicant could have purposefully or inadvertently omitted this information when they completed your job application. This search protects you from job applicants that may be trying to conceal criminal convictions.
4. How long does it take to get reports?
In most cases, results will be returned in less than eight (8) business hours. However, there are cases in which a county search may have delayed results.
5. Can your company provide services nationwide?
Yes, we are a nationwide provider of employment background screening services. We have trained researchers accessing records in every county and state on a daily basis.
6. What is the turn-around time?
Our average turn-around time is 8.72 hours for a county criminal search. We achieve this by processing our reports in “real-time”. Most of our competitors process their data in batches, which results in an industry average of 45.50 hours.
7. Does my applicant need to complete a signed release?
Yes, each applicant needs to complete and sign a release in order to be in compliance with the FCRA. The Consumer Reporting Agency (CRA) who is providing you with the confidential information about your applicant, must be listed on the release form. Among other rights your applicants have, they are entitled to know who is providing you with the information.
8. Are your processes compliant with the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA)?
Yes. We adhere to all guidelines set forth by the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA), federal and state laws.
9. How do you ensure confidential information is secure?
We ensure the privacy and protection of our clients’ data through systematic security measures in the areas of information technology. This information is hosted on our own secure servers. We back up all of our data every evening and have all the necessary firewalls in place. Our reporting system is available only to authorized users, and all transmitted information is encrypted.
10. Can I run a national search?
Yes. We offer a search that is national in scope. However, it does not cover every jurisdiction in the country and contains records that may not be updated regularly. For this reason, we do not recommend this product as a stand-alone product. We suggest you use this report in conjunction with the SSN Trace and County Criminal Search.
11. Why are real-time county search necessary?
Because it is the only way to get the most current, accurate information. If you use a national database or any other records that are not updated regularly when making a hiring decision, you run the risk of hiring someone who may have been convicted of a serious offense. You may also illegally discriminate against someone who had a conviction dismissed. This is why it is illegal to take adverse action based on records that are not updated regularly.
12. What is negligent hiring?
Negligent hiring refers to a cause of action that arises from an employer’s obligation not to hire an applicant that they knew or should have known was likely to conduct themselves inappropriately toward other individuals or otherwise subject employees or third parties to actions which can create legal liability. Through negligent hiring lawsuits, many employers have been found liable for their failure to conduct appropriate due diligence through a pre-employment background investigation. Negligent hiring and retention lawsuits have cost many companies millions of dollars in damages. Conducting background checks prior to hiring employeeswill help to protect your organization from the potential of civil litigation.
13. How far does an employment background check go back?
Typically, employers requesting an employment background screening on an applicant will request a 7 year history, although some states allow reporting information up to 10 years. Sometimes there are exceptions, for example: If in the state of California, a potential applicant would be offered a salary of at least $125,000.00, the CRA can go back as far as 10 years. If this is not the case, the maximum allowed reportable period the state of California allows is 7 years.Aside from California, there are 11 additional states that limit the reporting of a conviction to 7 years from the date of disposition, end of parole or release from prison: Colorado, Kansas, Maryland, Massachusetts, Montana, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Mexico, New York, Texas, and Washington.
14. What are my obligations as an employer under the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA)?
The applicant must complete and sign a release form provided to you by your background screening company. The release must be submitted to the background screening company, prior to conducting any type of background investigation, where an employment decision will be made. Provide your applicant with the Summary of Rights under the FCRA document, and if in California, the California Statement of Consumer Rights form. These forms are hand-outs, advising your applicants of their rights when a consumer report is being requested about them. It is your obligation as an employer to maintain this information in your records for a minimum of five years.
15. What if I decide to not hire someone based on the results of the background report? Can I just tell them I am not going to hire them because of the results of the background check?
No. Should you decide to disqualify someone from employment, due to the results of the background check, you are legally obligated to go through the following steps: Provide your applicant with a pre-adverse action letter, a copy of the entire background report, a Summary of Your Rights Under the FCRA form, and if in California, the California Statement of Consumer Rights form. Your applicant has 3-5 business days to resolve and/or dispute any negative information contained in their report. The pre-adverse action letter must include the name of the CRA, address, and phone number. This is so your applicant can contract the CRA, if they wish to do so, in order to find out the details regarding the negative information they wish to dispute. Should the period of 3-5 business days pass and your applicant has not demonstrated they are in the process of disputing the information contained in their report, you must then provide your applicant with an adverse action letter, and if in California, the California Statement of Consumer Rights form. The adverse action letter communicates to your applicant they are no longer being considered for employment and that your decision was influenced, in part of in whole, by the information contained in the Consumer or Investigative report, made at the employer’s request and provide the applicant with the name, address and phone number of the CRA.