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Compliance Resources from OPENonline

OPENonline is here to provide you with the information and training you need to create a compliant and effective background screening process for your company. Please feel free to make use of our resources.

Consumer Rights & Industry Laws

Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA)

Enacted on October 26, 1970 and last amended on November 12, 1999, the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) was created to protect consumers from the possible misuse of information. The FCRA is broad in scope and governs the use of consumer reports regarding employment, housing, and credit. We have included links below to provide easy access to the current version of the FCRA, as well as the consumer protection home page.

Additional FCRA Resources:
          Fair Credit Report Act (FCRA)
          Fair and Accurate Credit Transactions Act (FACTA)
          Prescribed Summary of Consumer Rights Under the FCRA
          Prescribed Notice of Furnisher Responsibilities
          Prescribed Notice of User Responsibilities
          Remedying the Effects of Identity Theft
          Dispute Notification Form

Federal Trade Commission (FTC)

The Federal Trade Commission enforces a variety of federal antitrust and consumer protection laws. The Commission seeks to ensure that the nation’s markets function competitively and free of undue restrictions. The Commission also works to enhance the smooth operation of the marketplace by eliminating acts or practices that are unfair or deceptive.

Advances in computer technology have made it possible for detailed information about people to be compiled and shared more easily and cost-effectively than ever. As personal information becomes more accessible, each of us – companies, associations, government agencies, and consumers - must take precautions to protect against the misuse of that information. The Federal Trade Commission is educating consumers and businesses about the importance of personal information privacy.

Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB)

The CFPB works in conjunction with the FTC. The mission of the CFPB is to make markets for consumer financial products and services work for Americans, whether they are applying for a mortgage, choosing among credit cards, or using any number of other consumer financial products. For more information on background screening, please visit the CFPB website »

U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC)

The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) is responsible for enforcing federal laws that make it illegal to discriminate against a job applicant or an employee because of the person’s race, color, religion, sex (including pregnancy), national origin, age (40 or older), disability or genetic information. It is also illegal to discriminate against a person because the person complained about discrimination, filed a charge of discrimination, or participated in an employment discrimination investigation or lawsuit.

The laws apply to all types of work situations, including hiring, firing, promotions, harassment, training, wages, and benefits.

Authority & Role
The EEOC has the authority to investigate charges of discrimination against employers who are covered by the law. Our role in an investigation is to fairly and accurately assess the allegations in the charge and then make a finding. If we find that discrimination has occurred, we will try to settle the charge. If we aren’t successful, we have the authority to file a lawsuit to protect the rights of individuals and the interests of the public. We do not, however, file lawsuits in all cases where we find discrimination.

We also work to prevent discrimination before it occurs through outreach, education and technical assistance programs.

The EEOC provides leadership and guidance to federal agencies on all aspects of the federal government’s equal employment opportunity program. The EEOC assures federal agency and department compliance with EEOC regulations, provides technical assistance to federal agencies concerning EEO complaint adjudication, monitors and evaluates federal agencies’ affirmative employment programs, develops and distributes federal sector educational materials and conducts training for stakeholders, provides guidance and assistance to our Administrative Judges who conduct hearings on EEO complaints, and adjudicates appeals from administrative decisions made by federal agencies on EEO complaints.

EEOC New Guidance
On April 25, 2012, the EEOC issued an updated Enforcement Guidance on employer use of arrest and conviction records in employment decisions under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, as amended (Title VII).

While Title VII does not prohibit an employer from requiring applicants or employees to provide information about arrests, convictions or incarceration, it is unlawful to discriminate in employment based on race, color, national origin, religion, or sex. The guidance builds on longstanding guidance documents that the EEOC issued over twenty years ago. The Commission originally issued three separate policy documents in February and July 1987 under Chair Clarence Thomas and in September 1990 under Chair Evan Kemp explaining when the use of arrest and conviction records in employment decisions may violate Title VII. The Commission also held public meetings on the subject in 2008 and 2011. The new Enforcement Guidance is predicated on, and supported by, federal court precedent concerning the application of Title VII to employers’ consideration of a job applicant or employee’s criminal history and incorporates judicial decisions issued since passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1991. The guidance also updates relevant data, consolidates previous EEOC policy statements on this issue into a single document and illustrates how Title VII applies to various scenarios that an employer might encounter when considering the arrest or conviction history of a current or prospective employee.

For more information, visit the EEOC website »

To learn about recent EEOC & Legislative updates, visit OPENonline News »

Information for Consumers

General Information

OPENonline provides background screening for many companies. OPENonline does not make hiring decisions for our clients or on their hiring policies.

If you were notified from a potential employer of adverse information in your background screening report, you may have received a copy of your report and the Summary of Your Rights under the FCRA. You may contact OPENonline to dispute the information in the report by visiting  Consumer Disputes . You may also request an additional free copy of the report within 60 days of the receipt of the letter by visiting Consumer Inquiries .

Identity Theft

If you believe you are the victim of identity theft, applicable information published by the Federal Trade Commission can be found here: . Another resource from the Federal Trade Commission, "Remedying the Effects of Identity Theft", is found here: .

Copy of your Credit Report

To obtain a Free Copy of your Credit Report from all three national credit bureaus (Experian, Equifax and Trans Union) please visit:
Call: 877-322-8228
Annual Credit Report
PO Box 105281
Atlanta, GA 30348-5281

E-Verify Self Check
Self Check is a service of E-Verify. It is a free, Internet-based application that can be used by anyone in the U.S. over the age of 16 to confirm his or her employment eligibility. The service is available nationwide. After you enter a small amount of information, the Self Check service will check that information against various government databases to determine your work eligibility in the United States.

Consumer FAQ

The questions below are also available on the OPENonline  FAQ page »

What is a dispute?
A dispute is a claim that the information on the completed background check report is inaccurate or incomplete. The disputed item can pertain to criminal records or verification results.

How does a candidate report a dispute?
The candidate should contact OPENonline’s Compliance Department via Consumer Inquiries Page , email or by phone at 888.381.5656. The candidate can also complete the Dispute Notification Form . OPENonline complies with all state and federal statutes regarding reporting and re-investigation of disputed information.

How do I notify my potential employer that I am disputing the report?
OPENonline will notify the company that requested the background check that a dispute has been filed. Contacting them directly to inform them that you did file a dispute through us is also fine.

How does the dispute process work?
OPENonline will promptly investigate any disputed information at no charge. The reinvestigation may take up to 30 days depending on the nature, scope and source of information in dispute. When our investigation is complete, a written letter, copy of the updated report, if needed, and Summary of Rights will be sent both to you and OPENonline’s client that viewed the information.

Helpful Links

HR, Security & Other Websites

Society for Human Resource Management
American Society of Industrial Security
American Staffing Association
American Management Association
National Council of Investigative & Security Svcs.
National Institute of Occupational Health & Safety
National Institute for the Prevention of Workplace Violence
Risk Management Association

Government and Law-Related Websites

American Bar Association – Labor & Employment Law
Americans with Disabilities Act
Enforcement Guidance on the Consideration of Arrest and Conviction Records in Employment Decisions Under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964
Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC)
Employment Law Information Network
Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) (Employment Law Practice Center)
State Labor & Employment Laws
U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics
U.S. Dept. of Labor
U.S. Office of Personnel Management
USCIS Handbook for Employers (Instructions for Completing Form I-9)

Other Resources

Drug Screening Info

Quick Reference - Commonly Abused Substances
Sample Chain of Custody Form (CCF)
Sample Drug Testing Policy

Additional Release Forms

Employment / Education Verification Release Form