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Background screening compliance challenges shows value of outsourcing

Aug 03, 2013 Quinn Thomas

Background screening compliance challenges shows value of outsourcing

Scrutinizing criminal histories and consumer credit reports have long been standard for many companies when hiring new employees. The process can help employers gain valuable insight into job candidates' abilities to conduct normal work functions as well as measure the risk that a perspective hire may represent.

However, the pre-employment landscape has become increasingly litigious in recent years as state and federal organizations look to clamp down on the process. Due to the introduction of various laws that have prohibited certain screening practices, many businesses are finding themselves stuck in expensive legal battles simply because they are unaware of the stipulations encompassed in applicable regulations.

A recent article in Crain's Cleveland Business by Stefanie Baker - a law associate with Fisher & Phillips - indicated that businesses need to be aware of the regulatory changes that have taken place. In particular, Baker noted that there have been a number of adaptations to the federally mandated Fair Credit Reporting Act.

FCRA compliance

In 2012, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau became the main enforcement body for FCRA violations and immediately updated several forms that individuals must be given when they are subject to a consumer credit report screen. The Summary of Your Rights document and the Notice to Furnishers of Information file were just two of the affected documents. In order to comply with laws, employers need to ensure that they are using the current forms when conducting a background search.

Also, Baker reported that the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) has been pushing restrictions to be placed on applicant screening as it believes the process can disproportionately affect minorities. In order to avoid potential lawsuits that stem from this development, Baker recommended that all businesses review their screening procedures to make sure they are in compliance with Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 as enforced by the EEOC.

According to Land Line, an Arizona trucking company is currently the subject of a lawsuit as a result of negligent screening practices. A driver who applied for an opening with the firm claims that the company obtained copies of his consumer credit report without his consent, a violation of the FCRA.

This shows just how important it can be for business leaders to make sure they are complying with all screening regulations. To avoid the legal pitfalls that can come with this process, companies should employ the services of a third-party screening company that understands recent regulations associated with background check laws.