As a staffing firm, it’s important to conduct a thorough background check on applicants before placing them with your clients. Not only to help your clients continue to maintain a safe workplace but also to protect your reputation and relationship with our client. BIB is glad to serve many staffing agencies across the U.S. and would like to offer these tips for better screening:
- Reconsider auto disqualifications. The EEOC is watching! And they have championed against auto disqualifications based on an applicant’s past criminal history. They would prefer you conduct individualized assessments, which may be a hard pill to swallow if you screen a large volume of applicants. There are ways to streamline your practices and get help with policy management.
- Always send Adverse Action notifications. You don’t have an option to provide this – it’s a requirement of the FCRA. When using a CRA to procure consumer reports, a pre-notice must be sent with a copy of the report and a “Summary of Your Rights Under the FCRA” allowing applicants to dispute any information in their report prior to a disqualification. Upon the actual adverse action, a second letter must be sent. Highly consider allowing your CRA to manage this function. It relieves the burden from you and creates a paper trail in case you are ever investigated or audited.
- Review all state or local ordinances. Specifically pertaining to restrictions on the use of consumer reports and any ban the box laws. Certain states limit how many years criminal history is reportable (exceptions are typically tied to salary potential). Ban the box laws prohibit asking the question of criminal conviction or arrests on the application. Multiple states and cities have laws banning the question, and the laws can be applicable to private employers.
- Get your forms right! Many employers have been the victim of class action lawsuits simply because the disclosure for the background check was not a “stand-alone” document, as required by FCRA. The disclosure must be a separate document and cannot be part of any other form. Check those disclosures and authorizations today so you don’t become the next target for plaintiff attorneys.
- Go beyond the criminal background check. Continue your due diligence by going beyond a traditional background check and adding verification services. Verifying work history, education and references gives you additional insight into an applicant’s character and if he or she would be a good fit for your client. Resume fraud has become rampant with the emergence of online diploma mills and work history fabricators. Adding these steps may increase the overall time to clear an applicant but could reap great benefits down the road like longer tenures and less turnover.