Background Screening? Here’s How To Stay Compliant

Jun 28, 2023

If you aren’t already background screening your job applicants, you’re probably at least aware of its heightened importance in today’s recruiting and hiring landscape. But what you may not be as familiar with is the intricate network of federal, state, and local regulations impacting background checks and the information employers use to make hiring decisions.

How can organizations like yours continue to find top talent while adhering to the required guidelines? By partnering with the right background screening provider.

With the help of our friends at Verified First, we’re exploring how a background screening provider can help you stay compliant while accomplishing your recruiting goals.

Compliance Requirements Employers Need to Know

With a myriad of regulations that impact background screening, it can feel impossible to keep up. Since these regulations can vary based on a candidate or employer’s location, industry, and even company size, it’s essential to stay current. Some laws restrict the timing of when you can run background checks while others regulate the type of information you can use.

Later, we will discuss how a screening provider can help you manage your organization’s specific industry and location screening requirements. But first, let’s explore some federal guidelines that pertain to all background screening programs.

Fair Credit Reporting Act

The FCRA is a federal guideline that protects the information collected by consumer reporting agencies. The rules imposed by the FCRA include:

  • Informing a candidate that a background check is being performed
  • Obtaining their consent before conducting screening.

Employers must also provide applicants with a copy of the report if requested.

Ban the Box and Clean Slate Laws

Ban the Box laws are statewide, aiming to remove barriers to employment for applicants previously convicted of crimes. Ban the Box laws, also referred to as fair hiring laws, impact when an employer can ask about an applicant’s criminal history or run a criminal background check.  These laws have expanded to multiple states and individual cities in the recent past.

Equal Employment Opportunity Commission Guidelines

The EEOC enforces laws that prohibit employers from discriminating against applicants based on race, gender, religion, sexual identity, age, disability, and national origin. This means when making hiring decisions and background screening, you must comply with the federal laws that protect applicants from discrimination.

How a Background Screening Provider Helps Manage Compliance

For many HR professionals who feel overwhelmed by screening requirements, partnering with a background screening provider may be the best way to ensure compliance. Federal laws, such as those outlined above, are likely applicable alongside other state and local requirements. This web of laws grows even more complex if your organization is hiring in multiple locations.

A background screening provider has the knowledge and expertise to manage and navigate the required ever-changing federal, state, and local regulations so you can focus on finding the right candidates. Here’s how the right screening partner can help your organization maintain compliance and streamline hiring efficiency:

FCRA Disclosure and Consent

A background screening provider should manage disclosing background screens and receiving consent from potential candidates, as required by the FCRA. With the Verified First and ApplicantStack integration, you can easily order a background screening without having to leave the hiring platform, and send and receive electronic disclosure and consent forms from applicants. Verified First will also send a copy of the report to applicants, if requested.

If the candidate or job location is in a state with additional disclosure requirements, Verified First can provide the additional state-specific disclosures based on how the screening is ordered.

Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion

The right screening partner can help support DE&I practices into your recruitment and hiring process. Here’s how a background screening provider can reduce organizational bias and help you comply with anti-discrimination laws:

  • Adjudication matrices that show search results relevant to the position
  • Fast and accurate screening conducted by unbiased specialists
  • Compliance and legislation monitoring

Adverse Action

There are guidelines for nearly every interaction a company has with their employee — from recruiting and hiring to promoting and even terminating them. These guidelines also apply to how you handle not hiring a candidate based on the results of their background check.

If your organization decides to not hire someone based on this information, you must comply with a process known as adverse action. The right background screening provider will help you handle the adverse action process, including:

  • A pre-adverse action notice, which allows candidates to review their background check report, provide necessary context, or dispute inaccurate information.
  • The industry standard waiting period, typically between 5 and 7 days. During this time, you can review the candidate’s response and make a more informed decision.
  • A final notice, which explains your final hiring decision to the candidate.

Why Verified First and ApplicantStack

Working with a background check provider can help your organization comply with local, state, and federal legislation when hiring and bringing on candidates. Partnering with a screening company can also help prevent applicants from feeling like they were unfairly treated based on inaccurate or incomplete information reported on their background checks.

Via a simple, patented browser extension, you can utilize the ApplicantStack and Verified First integration to streamline talent acquisition from start to finish. With this one-click integration, users can order, review, and manage Verified First’s background screening solutions all within the ApplicantStack platform.

See how Verified First can get you started screening today!

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