Performing an employee background check is not as simply as turning an employee’s name, birth day¸ and social security number over to a credit reporting agency and waiting for the results.
Employers are bound to follow a prescribed set of steps when securing and using employee background checks. If you fail to follow the proper steps the consequences can be dire.
The prescribed steps are listed below:
1. Secure proper authorization for employee and applicants background checks. Authorization should be on a separate form. It should not be just a check-box on your job applications.
2. Notify affected employees or applicants of intent to take any adverse employment action based wholly or in partly of a background check prior to taking any adverse action.
3. Notify affected employees or applicants of adverse decision.
Employers are required to provide employees and applicants with a standardized form entitled A Summary of Your Rights Under the Fair Credit Reporting Act. The form must be given prior to taking any adverse action against an employee or applicant (i.e. not hiring an applicant, denying an employee promotion, firing an employee). A copy of the prescribed form can be obtained by clicking here or at https://www.consumer.ftc.gov/articles/pdf-0096-fair-credit-reporting-act.pdf
Ignoring the employer mandates regarding employee background checks is not a good idea. Employers can be subject fines up to $1,000 or the actual damage for each violation plus attorney fees.