Businesses should consider the following best practices for their employment screening program to help ensure compliance with laws and provide a fair and balanced review of an applicant’s background.

Have a screening policy and put it in writing: A well-written comprehensive background screening policy can help a business uniformly enforce hiring standards and procedures, and assist in mitigating legal and compliance risks. It is wise to seek legal guidance to create a written policy. Everyone involved in the hiring process should be trained on the policy and abide by the procedures.

Comply with legal guidelines: There are federal, state, and local laws that impact the employment screening process. One significant piece of federal legislation employers must comply with is the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA). It regulates background screening and outlines mandatory procedures employers must follow when obtaining and using consumer reports. Another is the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), which has published criminal guidelines for background screening. Other federal legislation includes the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), while state and local legislation consists of Ban the Box, credit reports, E-Verify, and social media laws. Consulting with legal counsel is recommended to ensure compliance with all applicable laws and industry requirements.

Apply consistent screening methods for each job position: Different jobs may not require the same level of background screening. Employers should refer to the EEOC guidance and its recommended “target screen” when conducting background checks. Consider dividing jobs or departments into categories, and then develop position-specific standardized searches. To ensure consistency and avoid possible discrimination charges, all applicants applying for the same job should undergo a background check using identical criteria.

Establish criteria to evaluate background check results: Determine the standards that will either qualify or disqualify an applicant, and eliminate judgmental decisions to remain consistent when analyzing results. Examine each case individually. In addition to other criteria, the EEOC recommends employers consider the following factors when interpreting information: nature of the job, amount of time since offense occurred, and type of gravity or conduct of the offense. Laws can also vary by state as to how employment screening results can be used in the selection process.

Conduct regular background screening program audits: With changes in legislation and new laws being enacted that impact employment screening, companies should regularly review their background check program. Make sure to keep information about job applicants and employees confidential. Being proactive, monitoring legislation, and continuously updating screening policies helps better position employers to be consistent and in compliance with all applicable laws pertaining to the hiring process.

To learn more about IntelliCorp and their product and service offerings, visit, call 800-539-3717, or email [email protected] (mention promo code “AAHA”).

©2017 IntelliCorp Records, Inc. This information is not meant to provide legal advice of any kind. Legal advice should be sought from your attorney or corporate counsel.

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