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Safe Hiring Practices in an Unsafe World

What’s in the eBook?

  • Can you perform background checks in-house?
  • What is a “National Criminal History Database”, and is it a complete search tool?
  • What are the “Best Practices” for conducting pre-employment screening?

The Fallacy of the “National Criminal Records Search”

Many online sites offer an inexpensive “national criminal records search”, which purports by its title to be national in scope. In reality, the only “national” criminal record search is maintained by the FBI and is not available for public or private researchers. Recent reports from the National Employment Law Project state that even that database is full of errors and inconsistencies. There is no central repository for federal, state and local criminal records that is available to employers.

Performing Background Checks In-House

An employer can elect to conduct their background checks themselves; however, the amount of time it would take for one manager to familiarize themselves with the complex maze of legislation covering this topic would be prohibitive. In addition, adherence to the federal Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) and Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) guidelines alone could fill one full time position, depending on the volume of background checks performed.

Is Your HR Manager Informed Regarding the Following Legal Issues?

Arrest records, records that extend beyond reporting period scope, sealed or special disposition cases, and deferred adjudications may not be considered when screening applicants in most cases.

  • Certain states require that an applicant be given a copy of their background check, even if they do not ask for one.
  • If a decision is made against hiring an applicant based upon their background check results, they must be notified of such, and given time to respond before an employer takes any adverse action.
  • Certain states limit the scope of background checks to 7 years for most positions 3 3 HR Resources | Best Practices Series – Safe Hiring
  • The EEOC recommends that before an criminal convictions considered as a barrier to employment, an individualized assessment should be given which includes consideration of recidivism rates for that particular crime, time since the offense, and relatedness to the job position.

Additionally, if you are a national employer, maintaining compliance in a multi-state environment may prove to be nearly impossible. That is why many employers elect to use a Consumer Reporting Agency (CRA), or pre- employment screening provider.

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