Counting Down 2014: ActiveCare’s Second Most Popular Blog Post

This week we’re celebrating the New Year by counting down the three most popular ActiveCare blog posts of 2014.

As is common in the blogosphere, our third most popular post and today’s entry for second place, are both tied to hot headlines that grabbed the nation’s attention when they broke.

We have a feeling that our second most popular post was widely read for two reasons:

  • It featured the story of a well-known and do-gooder-type company who made a wrong step with its hiring practices.
  • The post explains FCRA compliance-related issues in a clear, concise manner so people came back to it more than once as reference material.

What do you think about this post? Why did you like reading it? We’d love to hear from you again so please leave your comments below.

On to the post…

How to avoid an FCRA class action lawsuit when hiring

Whole Foods, Inc. has just become the latest victim of a class action lawsuit filed against them for allegedly violating the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) in their hiring practices.  The lawsuit claims Whole Foods’ online application seeking applicants’ approval for running criminal background checks used incorrect language in that request. In turn, the suit is seeking damages for up to $1000 for each applicant Whole Foods has run a consumer report on since January 2009. The lawsuit states there are thousands of individuals listed in the case.

So where and how did Whole Foods go wrong?

The plaintiff in the case, Esayas Gezahenge claims that while filling out his initial online application in April of 2007, he was presented with a consent form that contained extraneous information. The FCRA specifically states the “Consent” form must be signed, but must contain nothing other than the required authorization and disclosure.  In this specific instance, the form contained a liability release for companies providing and receiving information for the background check. After then running a background check, the lawsuit states that the plaintiff was then presented with the proper “Consent” form to sign.

This is not the first case of its kind, nor will it be the last.  Whether a company fails to obtain written authorization and disclosure prior to a background check, or fails to provide pre-adverse action or adverse action notices, these types of lawsuits are expected by nearly all industry experts to begin piling up. HR departments should take note and act sooner than later in reviewing their screening programs if they hope to avoid FCRA or State related compliance issues.

So how can you protect your company?

Written Disclosure and Authorization Required

The FCRA requires any employer intending to run a consumer report to first disclose to applicants or employees that a consumer report may be obtained for employment purposes. This disclosure cannot be included in an employment application or other document that contains any extraneous information. The employer must also obtain an employee’s or applicants written consent before running the report.

Reporting Requirements

Employers also must comply with specific reporting requirements. Before obtaining a consumer report from a consumer reporting agency, the employer must provide certification to the reporting agency that they are requesting the report for employment purposes; have provided the required disclosure to the applicant; have obtained the necessary written consent to obtain the report; will provide the applicant with a copy of the report along with notifying them of their rights before taking any adverse action based in whole or in part on the results; an will not use the results from the report in a manner that violates federal or state equal opportunity laws.

Pre-adverse Action and Adverse Action Notices

If employer plans to take any adverse action based in whole or in part upon results obtained from a consumer report, the FCRA requires the employer to provide specific notifications to the applicant or employee.

An “adverse action” is either a denial of employment or any other decision that adversely affects any current or prospective employee. The FCRA requires employers to provide a copy of the consumer report results to the applicant or employee and additionally provide them with a copy of their rights under the FCRA (the “Summary of Rights Under the FCRA”) before taking adverse action based upon information contained in the consumer report.

When the employer takes adverse action, they must then provide the applicant or employee with the following information:

  • Name, address, and telephone number of the consumer reporting agency issuing the report
  • Statement that the consumer reporting agency was not the decision maker and can not explain why the adverse decision was made
  • Statement regarding the applicant or employee’s right to obtain a free disclosure of the report from the agency if the applicant or employee requests the report within 60 days of notice of the adverse action
  • Statement regarding the applicant or employee’s right to dispute directly with the consumer reporting agency the accuracy or completeness of any information provided by the agency.

A reliable background screening company will provide you with compliance expertise necessary to meet all demands. They will also keep you informed on the constantly evolving regulations changes. Many, such as active screening have software platforms that will have all the forms and notices canned and ready for you to use, without the worry of designing them yourself. Platforms such as ACTivate will be integrated with, or can integrate with your existing ATS to make the screening process that much easier.

No matter what your approach, you should take the time to review your compliance with FCRA and State mandates before it’s to late.

For other best practices subscribe to our blog here, and download our free 23-page guide to Applicant Background Screening in 2014.

 

This entry was posted in Applicant-Entry Solutions, Background Screening, General, Global Solutions, Human Resources, Industry Solutions, News, 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.