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Employers want peace of mind over a potential new hire. Performing background checks is an excellent way to make sure you are making the right hiring decision. There are many laws that companies need to follow, so it’s essential to have a background check plan and knowledgeable screening partner to avoid costly litigation. 

Below are the best practices for pre-employment background screening programs to help guarantee compliance with laws and give a well-rounded report of a candidate’s background. 

1. Develop a screening policy and have it written down 

A well-composed background screening policy can help an organization consistently enforce hiring standards and procedures. It can also help with alleviating legal and compliance risks. All employees involved in the hiring process should be trained in the procedures. Seek legal guidance when creating a written policy.  

2. Remain compliant

There are many federal, state, and local laws that affect the employment screening process.  The most crucial federal guideline that employers must follow is the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA). It mandates procedures employers must follow when obtaining and using background screening reports. Employers must also comply with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) which mandates criminal guidelines for background screening. Other laws that affect hiring are Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and state and local laws, which can include Ban the Box, Credit Reports, and E-Verify. Consulting with legal counsel is recommended for compliance with all laws and industry regulations. 

3. Use consistent screening methods for each candidate at the same job 

Although various jobs may not require the same background screening reports, all candidates applying for the same job position should undergo identical background checks. Employers should look at the job requirements and determine from there what type of background check to run. 

 4. Establish criteria to assess background check results 

Determine the background check standards that will either qualify or disqualify a candidate and stay consistent when analyzing reports to eliminate the risk of judgmental decisions. Look at each case on an individual basis. We recommend that employers consider many factors when interpreting information, such as the nature of the job, amount of time since offense occurred, and type of gravity or conduct of the offense. Laws vary from state to state as to how background check results can be used in the hiring process. More information on this can be found in our white paper on fair chance hiring. 

5. Conduct background screening program audits regularly 

With frequent changes in legislation and new laws going into effect that impact employment screening, organizations should consistently review their background screening program. By being proactive, monitoring legislation, and continuously updating screening policies, these help employers to be consistent and compliant with laws about the hiring process.  

 By implementing these basic background screening tips, employers can help ensure that they are remaining compliant with federal, state, and local laws. Partnering with a knowledgeable background check provider like SELECTiON.COM® can take a company’s hiring process to the next level.  

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This article gives a general overview of the legal matters. However, it is your responsibility to ensure compliance with all the relevant federal, state, and local laws governing this area. SELECTiON.COM® does not provide legal advice, and we always suggest consulting your own legal counsel for all applicant approval matters.