Background Checks

Consumer Reporting Agencies or CRA’s are often utilized by companies big and small to run their employment background screens. Background checks require potential employers to pay a small fee to find if there are any criminal records or other offences related to job applicants. They may include any findings related to arrests, court records, convictions, and any other public information. States may have different laws related to how far back a background check may go. Databases may only go back so far, so the results may not find every possible offense. A reputable screening agency will inform you of what is necessary to be in FCRA/EEOC compliance but it is up to the individual employer to make sure these procedures are followed out correctly. The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) requires this signed authorization be had before running an employment background check on an applicant. The release form must be a stand-alone document, separate from the actual employment application. The employer must let the applicant know the background checks will be used in the decision-making process and provide the applicant with a copy of their Summary of Rights under the FCRA. For a copy of Summary of Your Rights visit

Background Checks and Negative Decisions

If an applicant is refused employment or fired based on a background report, the employer must explain the cause. They must provide you with an adverse letter, a copy of the report, written notice of your rights and instructions on how to contact the report provider. The applicant should be informed that they are entitled to another free copy of the report from the provider and that they have 60 days to dispute its content and correct any errors. The employer must also tell who the report provider is and they are not responsible for a negative employment decision and can’t provide reasons for the decision.