Background Check Rejected. Now What Does an Employer Do?

Well, this isn’t good. Shelly Shellyson looked so perfect on paper. She even blew your mind in the interview. Those credentials. That personality. A true team player with smarts and a sense of humor. She was going to be great.

So you extended a verbal offer to Shelly right after the interview. A little presumptuous, yes, but you couldn’t let someone this good pass you by. Never mind the normal (and strict) hiring protocols that you were supposed to adhere to. 

Then you got Shelly’s background check report back and your perfect plan puffed into a cloud of smoke. Red flags. A criminal history. You simply can’t take that kind of gamble with your business or with your other employees.

What are your options? Acting recklessly got you into this mess, but with some careful guidance from Active Screening, we can help get you out of it.

Step One – Did you ask Shelly to sign off on her background check, including gathering information about her credit report?

If you didn’t, you and the background screening agency may be in trouble with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) and in violation of the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA). The FCRA requires employers to disclose to candidates that they are intending to run a background check for employment purposes. By law, this must be consented to by the applicant in writing on a form separate from a job application. If you followed the letter of the law in getting Shelly’s consent, you’re protected but you should still consult with your Human Resources department, or if you’re small enough where you don’t have one, you should seriously consider hiring an employment law attorney to help you over this speed bump.

Step Two – Did you report your findings?

You are bound by FCRA law to follow specific reporting requirements when it comes to requesting, filing and acting on information obtained in background checks. Aside from written consent from the applicant and to the screening agency, an employer must provide a candidate with a copy of their report AND notify them of their rights before taking any action. In Shelly’s case, you must tell her that you ran her background check, give her a copy of its results, and inform her that you are concerned with some of its findings. You MUST do this before taking any ‘adverse action’ (ie. not hiring her or rescinding her job offer) based on the results. You should also make sure that you are not violating an federal or state equal opportunity laws by using information in the background check to make an employment decision with discriminatory tendencies.

Step Three – Did you advise Shelly of her rights?

Before you can tell Shelly “this just isn’t going to work out,” you need to follow FCRA guidelines and notify Shelly about the screening results and how it is affecting your decision to offer her the job. This is called Pre-Adverse Action and it essentially allows Shelly to see her background check, find out what information in there is cause for concern, and obtain a Summary of Rights Under the FCRA. This document explains to Shelly what she is allowed to see and what actions she can take. The basic employee/applicant rights are as follows:

  • You must be told if information has been used against you.
  • You have the right to know what’s in your file.
  • You have the right to ask for a credit score.
  • You have the right to dispute incomplete or inaccurate information.
  • Consumer reporting agencies (background screening agencies are also called CRA’s) must correct or delete inaccurate, incomplete, or unverifiable information.
  • Consumer reporting agencies may not report outdated negative information.
  • Access to your file is limited.
  • You must give your consent for reports to be provided to employers.
  • You may limit “prescreened” offers of credit and insurance you get based on information in your credit report.
  • You may seek damages from violators.
  • Identity theft victims and active duty military personnel have additional rights.

Step Four – Did you follow proper Adverse Action procedures?

Investopedia defines ‘adverse action’ “as action that denies an individual or business credit, employment, insurance or other benefits. An adverse action is generally taken by a business or government based on a criminal past or information found in credit reports.”

If you’re going to take adverse action against Shelly based on the findings in her background check, then you must give her this information:

  • Names, address, telephone number and other contact information of the Consumer Reporting Agency (screening agency) who has issued the report
  • Statement saying the CRA was not the decision maker in the employment offer and that the CRA can’t explain why the adverse action is being taken
  • Statement explaining the candidate’s right to get a free copy of the report from the CRA if requested within 60 days of the notice of adverse action
  • Statement verifying the candidate’s right to dispute the information with the CRA and ask for corrections

If you follow these steps, you should be in the clear when you rescind Shelly’s job offer.

What other background check stumbling blocks do you have questions about? Leave a comment below or Tweet us here. We’d love to help you out!

This entry was posted in Applicant-Entry Solutions, Background Screening, Criminal Records, General, Human Resources, References & Credentialing and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , by Patricia Carlson. Bookmark the permalink.

Patricia Carlson is a content writer who specializes in B2C and B2B inbound marketing. She blogs regularly for clients about the background screening and finance industries, and generates newsletters, white papers and email campaigns for a variety of businesses. Patricia also produces a heavy rotation of editorial material for home design, law enforcement, and family magazines. She’s been writing professionally for more than a dozen years, and for Active Screening for more than two of those. Check out LinkedIn for a roster of Patricia’s clients and links to published works. When she’s not interviewing sources or researching trends, she’s living a fast-paced Florida life questioning the antics of her two young children, partner and mischievous cat. Patricia loves to talk tennis and TV on Twitter – give her a shout @pattycfreelance.

Active ScreeningBarbara S.
Healthcare Industry

"Here at Holland Hospital, we have been extremely pleased with Active Screening. The report results come back quickly, usually within 24 hours or less.  The staff at Active Screening is easy accessible, knowledgeable and responds to our questions promptly."

Active ScreeningLynn C. Staffing Industry

"Benton Mobley has been and remains my Main point of contact at Active Screening from the beginning; so aside from the comfort of dealing with the same person all these years, there is the most important fact of all;  customer satisfaction. Benton knows the business like the back of his hand; and that is what we need in our fast paced industry of staffing. He is the all-time BEST!  MY employer, Leslie, believes in the notion that great service deserves to be rewarded, so we are here for the duration.We get immediate and personalized attention for any and all concerns we need addressed, and in the staffing industry, this is vital."

Active ScreeningCayce R. Education Industry

"My experience working with Active Screening for our background check process has been very positive.  The reports are almost always completed in a very timely fashion. The information reported appears to be very thorough and accurate.  On the rare occasions that we have questions or problems, the customer service team is always very quick to respond and resolve the issue.  Overall, I am very pleased with the service I receive from Active Screening."

Active ScreeningCraig H. Staffing Industry

"Your customer service is excellent.  The turn around time on background checks is quite fast.  Excellent work.  I haven't had a single problem."

Active ScreeningJackie C. Education Industry

"I wanted to thank you and your staff for being so patient and working so diligently with the Human Resources staff during our recent endeavor to process all of our work study students through background screenings.  We have never had to process so many requests within such a short period of time before, but thanks to you and your staff we made it. Again thank you, we made a good choice in selecting Active Screening."

Active ScreeningLindsey W.  Financial Industry

"I wanted to share my appreciation for your wonderful service...switching background screening companies could have been a stressful task, but your company made the transition seamless. Your website was extremely easy to navigate and the turn around time has been great. I appreciate when information is missing or entered incorrectly during ordering, your company notifies me right away to ensure that my error does not hold the reports results, causing us a delay in hiring an individual...Active Screening has been great to us and I would definitely refer them to others."

Active ScreeningTerry S. Property Management

"Working with Active Screening over the last year and half has been a wonderful experience. They deliver fast and informative results at the best price. Their level of professionalism and the speed they respond to our issues is a benefit that any company can value from. I would highly recommend using Active Screening and their amazing team."

Active ScreeningYulesis D.  Staffing Industry

“Interactive Response Technologies (IRT) has more than 2,000 employees at multiple locations across the United States. IRT has been using Active Screening to conduct criminal background checks since 2006. During this time, Active Screening has consistently returned accurate reports, usually with less than 48 hours turnaround. If there are any problems or inconsistencies with the reports, their staff has called to notify us so that we can attempt to rectify the situation. The staff at Active Screening is always courteous and congenial over the phone. In our opinion, Active Screening is outstanding.”

Active ScreeningAndy N. Software Provider

 "Active Screening has helped us screen our applicants in record time for more than two years.... we are very impressed with the professionalism and speed with which their service team responds to our questions. They understand our needs and are a pleasure to work with. I highly recommend them."

Active ScreeningCassie J. Staffing Industry

"The Active Screening team is very informative; they provided a complete consultation on all the services, so I understood what I needed, and saved me hours and hours of my time learning the various services. Their reputation, as being on the cutting edge of employment screening best practices, certainly held true in this instance. The expertise they brought to the table was invaluable to our understanding of our applicants backgrounds. I highly recommend Active Screening to anyone with the task of screening large numbers of applicants and needing reliable customer support."

Active Screening

With over 20 years of law enforcement experience I can attest to the fact that the strongest predictor of future criminal behavior is a person’s criminal history. As the manager of campus safety at my church, I depend on Active Screening to provide a thorough assessment of every criminal history background check we request. For more than 3 years, Active Screening has been faithful to this task with timely, accurate and reliable service.

Active Screening

We have benefited from knowing that we are not exposing the communities we work with or ourselves to unnecessary risk. We continue to have a perfect record in that we have never had a serious incident with a trip participant causing harm or acting inappropriately with any community member or fellow team member- thank goodness!

Active Screening

I would highly recommend any association or organization who conducts background checks to use Active Screening. In addition to my involvement with WAHA, I am an officer in a corporation with over 500 employees who provide treatment, mental health, and correctional services for children and adolescents. Our company is mandated by law to do comprehensive background searches and I can say with the utmost sincerity that Active Screening product rivals that of any government or other private sector process.

Active Screening

We have used Active Screening and their solution VERITY to screen all our coaches and volunteers working with youth. The online system gives us an easy and cost-effective solution to collecting forms and payments from our applicants...and we simply login to view the results of who passed or failed. It's so easy....thank you Active Screening.