Public Records vs Private Data – Critical Information for Compliant Employee Screening Practices

Lights… Camera…. Action!  Now playing in a courthouse near you, a lawsuit against an employer or background check company for a consumer reporting violation involving the rights of an applicant or even more catastrophic, a class of applicants.

Consumer Reporting is now on the radar of three major federal agencies, The Federal Trade Commission (FTC), the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), and the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) in addition to the approximate 1.2 million attorneys practicing in the United States.

With so much focus on regulatory compliance in consumer reporting, can your organization afford not to implement a fully-compliant screening process considering all rules and regulations including HR Law, Federal Consumer Law, State Consumer Law, and Agency Guidance?

Nearly all organizations that utilize pre-employment screening in their hiring process are familiar with the requirements of proper disclosure, authorization, and the process to utilize when administering an adverse communication.

However, some organizations, in their haste to locate the background screening company that provides the fastest and cheapest information, fail to consider the accuracy and completeness of the information which makes the fastest and cheapest background information also the riskiest to use in your hiring process.

There is nothing wrong with seeking the fastest results at the most reasonable price however it is important to know the difference between public records reported directly from the source and aggregated data reported directly from a database.

The Federal Fair Credit Report (FCRA) in §613 outlines a choice between two processes that a Consumer Reporting Agency (CRA) must utilize when reporting aggregated data (criminal record databases) to the end-user.

The first method is to provide any and all adverse information to the applicant at the same time as providing it to the end-user to ensure the applicant has the opportunity to dispute inaccurate information.

The challenge in this process is ensuring the applicant receives the information in a timely manner, which leads most CRAs to apply the second process afforded by the FCRA. To comply with FCRA §607 by ensuring “maximum possible accuracy” and §613 to check all aggregated (database) adverse information against the current public record, A-Check only reports public information directly from the most current public record.

It is important you understand A-Check does utilize several different criminal record and sex offender registry databases but only in the capacity of a criminal records locator search.

A-Check utilizes databases to extend the geographical scope of our research. However, when records are located by using databases, all information is compared to the current public record to ensure that only accurate, up-to-date information is reported to our end-users.

Should you have any questions regarding this or any other process, please feel free to email for more information.

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