Background Checks and Database Searches: How to Be FCRA Compliant

Background Checks and Database Searches: How to Be FCRA Compliant

How do you find an employee who’s perfect for your business? When you need someone who’s reliable, trustworthy, and loyal, it can be tempting to turn to a background check or database search firm like TruDiligence.

What Is a Database Search?

The Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) regulates all aspects of pre-employment screening. This includes social security number verification, employment verification, criminal history searches, civil litigation record research, and motor vehicle reports. In order to comply with these laws, we do not use public records. Public records are available from county clerks’ offices for a fee that varies by state. Instead, we use database search services that receive regular audits from our legal counsel and in compliance with federal laws.

Why Is It Important to Be FCRA Compliant?

The Fair Credit Reporting Act of 1970 (FCRA) is a US federal law that helps ensure employers make decisions based on accurate background checks. The purpose of these background checks is to provide an accurate assessment of a candidate’s suitability for employment. Background checks have come under increasing scrutiny in recent years as a result of numerous lawsuits being filed over accusations that they are racially biased.

Providing Clear Consent to Perform Database Searches

It’s best to obtain clear consent from your candidate prior to performing a background check or database search. You’ll want to ensure that you have his/her written authorization on file, as well as an e-mail confirmation from him/her. Use language such as “I authorize TruDiligence Investigations Inc., dba TruDiligence, during my employment with _________ company, to complete a background investigation on me”. It’s also wise for employers who use a third-party investigator (TruDiligence!) to perform background checks or database searches. Also, require applicants to provide an email address at to contact them. Thus, they confirm their intent to apply for employment before such screenings occur.

What Does This Mean for Employers?

There are few guarantees in life, but one of them is that everyone in your organization will eventually leave you. From an organizational perspective, it’s critical to ensure all employees are up-to-date on their credit history; you never know when a former employee might reemerge as a competitor. It’s equally important for HR professionals to understand how database searches can be leveraged as part of FCRA compliant background checks.

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