Onboarding new employees is an exciting time for most companies. One aspect of the hiring process—conducting criminal background checks—can be a daunting experience. To succeed on the road to criminal background check success, HR professionals need a roadmap (Equal Employment Opportunity Commission guidance) and a compass (Fair Credit Reporting Act guidance). These tools, in conjunction with counseling from your employment attorney, will help you successfully navigate the criminal background check process.

Before conducting a third-party criminal background check, the Fair Credit Reporting Act mandates that you take three preliminary steps. Under the federal FCRA, you must: (1) Send the applicant or employee an FCRA-compliant Disclosure and Authorization form; (2) Obtain their written consent; and (3) Complete the consumer reporting agency’s certification form and provide it to the consumer reporting agency. This form requires you to certify that you have complied with the FCRA disclosure requirements; will comply with the FCRA’s adverse action requirements should the results lead to an adverse employment action; and will not use the information provided by the consumer reporting agency in a way that violates equal employment requirements.

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