Category Archives: Background Screening

Background Screening 101 Part 2

The background screening process may seem simple to those outside of human resource departments.  The process seems to be placing an Ad for a job position, then sorting through resumes, then having interviews for the candidates that look the most promising and then picking the best person for the job and hiring them.  This process as highlighted appears to be straight forward and rudimentary.   However, every employer needs to understand the laws that govern the employment screening industry and must remain compliant with such laws and guidelines to avoid legal action from the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and other agencies.  These type of agencies work to ensure that the hiring process is non-discriminatory and that all applicants have a fair chance at gainful employment.

The truth is that hiring is a complicated process these days as employers and hiring agents need to make sure their hiring process is legal and ethical and does not conflict with US Federal, State and Local laws and guidance’s.  The core of the hiring process is employment screening both pre-employment screening and post-employment screening.  This process is essential to any sound hiring practices and helps verify information on a resume and looks into the life experience and background data of a prospective employee.  Employers should utilize a third party background screening company to help them gain access to these necessary background reports and also to assist employers in creating or maintaining background screening policies that are compliant with all pertinent laws and regulations.

The use of public records, specifically consumer credit reports, is regulated by the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) and is enforced predominantly by the US Federal Trade Commission and the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. The FCRA also has clear rules in its section covering employment background checks.  It states that all employers using consumer reports including criminal history reports must get written permission from the job applicant to run the background checks and must tell the applicant if the criminal record report was in-part or wholly responsible for the applicant not getting hired.  This adverse action letter must be given to the applicant along with a summary of their rights under the FCRA and the applicant has a right to dispute these records along with other rights.

Other than credit information consumer reports like criminal history reports are protected and enforced by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission under the authority of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and its various updates and expansions.  There are clear rules that employers have to abide by when selecting new employees.  The FCRA and EEOC make it clear how criminal records are to be utilized during the employment screening process through its documents and guidance’s.  In the end it is a best practice for employers to work with employment screening companies both for gaining access to pertinent background reports like criminal reports, SSN reports, driving records, sex offender reports and various other reports or verifications/reference checks as well as to help them create or maintain a legally compliant background screening and hiring policy.

To read more about this subject read recent press release found here.

Time to Review Background Screening Policies

As the year is nearing its end it is definitely time for employers to review their employment screening policies.  2016 brought about many new laws that affect what information/reports can and cannot be used in the hiring process.  Ban-the-box legislation and the recent legalization of recreational use of marijuana in many States alone requires current pre-employment screening policies to be updated to properly reflect these new legal environments.

All over the United States most businesses and organizations perform background checks on new prospective employees.  These background checks include criminal background checks and other reports that now have rules applied to them for when and how you can use them.  Information gathered from background checks deliver vital information to hiring managers looking to sufficiently vet new applicants before hiring.  However, these hiring managers in many States cannot perform criminal history checks until an initial offer is made.

Background reports can be drawn from several sources including public record repositories, county courthouses, the social security administration, unlawful detainers and internet databases.

The use of public records, specifically consumer credit reports, is regulated by the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) and is enforced predominantly by the US Federal Trade Commission and the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. The use of other documents, such as criminal history reports, is protected and enforced by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission under the authority of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and its various updates and expansions.  There are clear rules that employers have to abide by when selecting new employees.  The FCRA and EEOC make it clear how criminal records are to be utilized during the employment screening process through its documents and guidance’s.  With the reality of such entities enforcing laws associated with hiring practices now is the time for employers to review their background screening policies and make the necessary updates to remain compliant in this new legal environment.

To read more about this subject read recent press release found here.

Background Screening of Coaches Should be Mandatory

In recent history across the country more coaches have been found to commit crimes and still were able to coach.  In Maryland a soccer organization changed their background screening policies after a coach was arrested for illicit behavior with a minor.  A rowing coach in Michigan was arrested for illegally recording female students changing from standard clothing to athletic outfits.  In Florida a high school coach was arrested for drug related offenses which sparked an investigation.  The school district said it would work to ensure that people with a criminal past don’t slip through the cracks.  Previously an assistant coach failed to disclose his criminal history on an employment application and was recently accused of running a multi-state drug ring.  The goal for this school district and other organizations hiring coaches is to strengthen their employment screening efforts in order to protect children who are considered an at-risk population.

The best way to deter malfeasant coaching applications and thwart previous criminals from gaining access to at-risk populations in positions including coaching positions is to create a strong background screening policy that is thorough and current.  Such a policy if implemented and well publicized creates a barrier to entry that acts as a deterrent for individuals seeking to harm or exploit at-risk populations primarily children or young adults.  With all these current headlines about coaches with criminal pasts and previous behavior of harming or exploiting children and young adults it should be mandatory across the country for all coaching positions to go through a rigorous vetting process before hiring them.

The best way a school or other organization can help prevent crimes against children is to work with a professional third-party background screening company.  Such an alliance can help create a background screening process that deters certain criminals from gaining employment as a coach or other position with unsupervised time with children.  Additionally the background screening company has the ability to conduct multiple kinds of background checks to thoroughly vet all job applicants.  Reports include criminal background checks, social security number trace, federal courts search, driving records check, employment verification, education verification and the all-important personal and professional reference checks.

To read more about this subject read recent press release found at:


Critical Reports Beyond Criminal History

Modern day pre-employment background screening has moved beyond just criminal background checks.  Alternative background reports like driving record checks and professional verifications are also being used by human resource professionals across the nation.  The HR personnel understand the importance of working with a third party background screening company to get all the background reports available in order to help them make intelligent and well informed hiring decisions.

With increased scrutiny over the use of criminal background records in the employment screening process it is still one of the most important employment background checks to perform.  However, if an employer compliments a criminal records check with a driving record check, social security number validation with address history trace and professional verifications like education verification and employment verification a better picture emerges as to the viability of a job applicant.

Looking into prospective employee’s driving history is a worthwhile background check even if the job does not require much driving.  A single motor vehicle incident can create a significant liability to a company.  More information is always the best choice as the chances of the wrong person falling through the cracks is drastically reduced and the goal of risk mitigation is achieved.

Criminal background checks with driving record history, SSN validation w/address history and professional verifications combined create a powerful barrier for malfeasant and high risk job candidates from getting through the vetting process.

To read more about this subject read recent press release found here:

Databases and Background Screening

Background screening for tenant and employment screening usually entails database searches and court record checks such as criminal background checks.  Most information about an applicant is pulled from databases and court records.  Databases allow for the instantaneous background retrieval systems available in the USA today and along with court record checks makes up for most of the information a landlord or employer needs to know before making a leasing or employment related decision.  However, databases are only as good and reliable as the information entered in them.  Fortunately for consumers the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) protects them from inaccurate or out dated information.  For example, if an employment background check is conducted on a job candidate and a criminal record was found, the employer/consumer reporting agency (CRA) has to notify the applicant that a record was found that adversely affected them. Then the applicant can dispute the claim with the CRA and if the record(s) found were either inaccurate, incomplete or out dated they would have to remove the record(s) in question from their database.

Although background checks are extremely important for landlords and employers during the vetting process of an applicant, they need to be conducted in a way consistent with the laws and regulations of local, State and Federal governments.  Databases and court records are essential for landlords and employers to get the information they need in a timely fashion to assist in choosing well qualified applicants.  Databases both electronic and physical are getting better and more accurate over time and access to such information is critical in ensuring the background screening results are reliable.  This includes many forms of background screening including both tenant screening and employment screening.  It is important to note that even with the high quality of database information and court record information available the consumer will always have rights under the FCRA and other government entities like HUD and the EEOC to make sure their personal information is protected and accurate.

To read more about this subject read recent press release.

Areas of Common Background Screening

With background screening becoming common place in many areas, the need for accurate and timely information becomes paramount.  Background checks including criminal history checks are a part of many background screening areas including employment screening, tenant screening and volunteer screening.  The key factor in each background screening sector is risk mitigation and to protect at-risk populations like children and the elderly.  Recently Melissa Sorenson, executive director of the National Association of Professional Background Screeners (NAPBS) said, “Screening was uncommon for employers 30 years ago, but popularity of background checks has risen significantly in the last 15 years”.  She went on to say that “the Internet is a big factor, along with amount and availability of information, decreased costs of screenings and a rising desire among employers for risk mitigation”.  It is clear that risk mitigation is a huge reason for the increased use of background screening, but also very high on the list is to protect at-risk populations.  Criminal history checks help to weed out potentially dangerous people, people that could harm or take advantage of the vulnerable people in our society which would include children, the elderly and the disabled.  However, employers want to mitigate risk by avoiding bad employees and to avoid litigation like negligent hiring lawsuits.  Additionally about half of companies also say they perform background checks to maintain a safe working environment for their employees.


Now that background screening is common place the next big hurdle is providing accurate and timely background reports to sectors like employment screening.  There are many companies and organizations and ways of getting background check data.  However, it is critical to use a professional third party background screening company to work with to help get the background information needed to make a well informed decision either for hiring, renting or to fill that open volunteer position.  Third party professional background screening companies are up to date on background screening laws and take great care of the quality of the data they provide.  These firms can also get the background reports requested back to their customers in a timely fashion.  Whether the need for background reports is for employment screening or tenant screening, one fact remains the same, the reports have to be accurate, thorough, up to date and timely.


To read more about this subject read recent press release.

Protecting At-Risk Populations Including Those Hit by Catastrophes

Across the country new laws are being examined to help protect at-risk populations such as the elderly, children and the disabled. It has now been extended to include those that have suffered from a catastrophic lose due to acts of nature or those that have suffered from enormous financial loss. These people often become in contact with emergency responders that often include volunteer help. These responders may not have had a criminal background check performed on them and could pose a risk to these vulnerable disaster victims. From caregivers to coaches to emergency responders a thorough background screening process can significantly help in protecting at-risk populations. A vigorous background screening policy for employment screening and volunteer screening is the core of risk mitigation and goes a long way at protecting those that are unable to protect themselves. To read more about this subject read recent press release found at:

Seasonal Hiring and Background Screening

The amount of seasonal employees hired in the USA more than doubled from 325,000 in 2008 to 786,000 in 2013. It is important that employers hiring part time help run criminal background checks on them as well as other background checks. Pre-Employment screening should include a social security number trace, criminal background check, sex offender registry search and an employment verification (when applicable). Employers also need to be aware of changing laws in regards to the proper use of background checks in the hiring process. The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) keeps litigating companies that have hiring practices inconsistent with the law. Some employers may not feel the need to perform employment screening on seasonal employees but that may be a mistake. The cost of running a thorough background check on seasonal workers is insignificant compared to the risk involved with unscreened workers representing your company or organization. To learn more about seasonal background checks and why seasonal help should go through a proper employment screening process as like with full time employees read recent press release found at:

Laws Changing on Use of Criminal History Reports

All across the country lawmakers are changing laws pertaining to the use of criminal history reports in the employment screening process. Recently the city of Portland Oregon enacted ban-the-box laws for employers making them remove questions concerning criminal history from their initial job applications. It is important that employers keep current with new laws governing the use of criminal background checks in the hiring process. A good way to stay ahead is to partner with a third party background screening company who is well versed in the laws pertaining to the use of criminal history reports in the employment screening process. As more city and State governments enact ban-the-box laws the employers within those jurisdictions need to adhere to these new laws and understand how it affects their hiring process. Employers need to understand when they are allowed to run a criminal background check in the hiring process and when they are not allowed to. Most new ban-the-box related legislation forbid the asking of criminal history at the initial application process and typically allow for a background check after an interview when the job applicant has qualified for the job in question. To learn more about ban-the-box legislation and when criminal history checks are allowed in the employment screening process read recent press release found at:


Schools Should Perform Thorough Background Screening

Schools both Public and Private Should Use Criminal Background Checks as Part of a Thorough Pre-Employment Background Screening Policy. Recently in New Hampshire a substitute teacher was charged with felony sexual assault on an underage student and then was found to have a prior felony conviction. This incident could have been avoided had the school performed a thorough and complete background check prior to hiring. Anyone working or volunteering at a school that has contact to children must be thoroughly vetted prior to allowing such contact. Performing an in-depth criminal background check as part of the employment screening process is certainly necessary for people interacting with at risk populations like students/children. A quality criminal background check could provide previous malfeasance and uncover past convictions that would disqualify such a candidate from employment at a public or private school. To learn more about recent headlines concerning schools and their background screening policies read recent press release found at: