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Thursday, August 22, 2019

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Year End Review of Employment Background Check Policies

Year End Review of Employment Background Check Policies

What information matters? What processes are important? Although background checks are becoming standard protocol before an applicant is hired, it’s important to ensure absolute diligence in a few key areas.  With the new year around the corner it’s a great time to review the policies and procedures you have in place now and modify them if necessary. See below for a few suggestions.

1. Be Specific in Policies.  

If your policy says you can’t hire someone based on any criminal history, take a step back and evaluate which offenses may hinder a persons’ ability to do that particular job. You may find the need for your company to redefine or narrow your policy to only include those offenses that have significant potential to hinder their performance. 

Why should you care? Based on past litigation, some blanket policies have been found to be discriminatory according to Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) policies. Although unintentional, blanket policies can increase your risk and be very costly to your company.

2. Be Consistent in Practices.  

Inconsistency, however innocent it may be, can call your company into question for discriminatory practices. You absolutely shouldn’t use background checks only when your gut gives you a bad feeling. A better idea is to identify the positions in your company that should always require a background check. If you screen for select positions, consistently screen everyone that applies and is offered that position. Ensure all managers have a regular training, reminders, and reviews to ensure all precautions are in place.

Why should you care? Consistency not only takes a proactive step to prevent violations before they happen, it helps ensure a smooth and efficient operation.

3.) Follow up Regularly.  

Regularly review the results of your company background checks as a whole to ensure they are not filtering out any certain group of people and falling prey to discriminatory practices according to the EEOC. If you have declined any applicant based on a negative screen, provide it to them and tell them why to ensure compliance with the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA).

Why should you care? Unfortunately, there aren’t any reminders to be compliant with FCRA or EEOC policy so the very first time something has been overlooked, there’s an opportunity for litigation.

The compliance section of our website is a valuable resource for additional information. If you have a question, please contact us here.


This information is not legal advice, for legal advice please seek legal counsel.

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