Frequently Asked Questions

Does an applicant have a right to be told when a background check is requested?

Yes. Amendments to the Fair Credit Reporting Act ( FCRA, 15 USC §1681), effective September 30, 1997, increase the disclosure and consent requirements to employers who use “consumer reports.” Such reports may be limited in scope to only a credit check, or more extensive to include criminal histories, driving records and interviews with neighbors, friends and associates.

What are the employee notification requirements?

Before obtaining a consumer report on a job applicant or existing employee, an employer must notify the individual in writing. Additionally, for background checks, an employer must obtain an applicant’s written authorization prior to conducting the check.

What are the signed applicant release requirements?

Employers are required to obtain a signed applicant release prior to the conducting of any type of pre-employment screening. This release and/or notification must be a document separate from the application itself.

How long is arrest and conviction information searchable?

Arrest (i.e. non-conviction) record information on applicants per FCRA must be limited to a 7-year search scope. Conviction record information may date back as far as information is obtainable. Effective in October, 1998, conviction information may date back as far as records allow. Certain States restrict information to 7 years for conviction records with periodical changes. For more up to date information please contact us.

What is the applicant rights policy?

Employers must keep a summary of applicant rights on file with individual applicant reports for use in the case of an adverse action situation.

What are the rules regarding adverse action?

1. Before the adverse action is taken, the employer must give an applicant a “pre-adverse action disclosure” that includes a copy of the report and an explanation of the law.

2. After the adverse action is taken, the individual must be given an “adverse action notice.” This “notice” must indicate the name, address and phone number of the background check company; provide a statement that the employer made the adverse decision, not the company, and indicate that the individual has the right to dispute the accuracy or completeness of the information in the report.