Resolutions 2021: Review Your Background Check Policy

[Phone rings]

Ann: “Cutting Edge, this is Ann.”

Customer: “Ya know, last year you had me review ALL my policies and forms to be compliant with the Fair Credit Reporting Act and these pesky state laws to which I’m beholden.” 

Ann: (rolls eyes): “And you’re REALLY glad you did, right?”

Customer: “Yeah, I’d hate to think I could be a statistic in a class-action case for having inappropriate forms or not giving proper disclosures.”

Ann (stunned someone listens to her when she gets on these rants): “Wow, uh, thanks. I actually think it’s so important, I’m going to review it one more time for our friends in the cheap seats or who just may not have been listening.”

What are background check policies?

Organizations that wish to keep employees and customers safe and avoid negligent hiring claims perform background checks.

Background check policies are created for consistency and ease during the hiring process. Your screening firm likely has examples for you to discuss when determining what best meets your needs. 

What should be included?

  • What screens (driving record, employment verification, etc.) are typically run for this particular job? 
  • At what point in the hiring process is the background check run?
  • What information and paperwork are required before running a background check?
  • What criteria disqualifies an applicant from working for the organization? Are the criteria discriminatory or does it follow federal, state and local laws?
  • Has the applicant been informed that there will be a background check and the outcome may affect the hiring decision? If the outcome is negative, what happens? 

Clues your policy is outdated:

  • Your application asks if the applicant was convicted of a crime, and you live in an area that has banned that question
    • It may be known as the Fair Chance Initiative, or Second Chance Initiative in your area—commonly known as Ban the Box. 
  • Have you considered revised cannabis laws (recreational and medicinal use) in your region? 
  • If you have the perfect applicant, but current policy prohibits you from hiring them. 

How to stay compliant and up-to-date:

  • Participate in meetings with your local human resource association
  • Talk to your professional background screeners and attorneys.
  • Reevaluate old policies and be sure they do everything you think they should