Before initiating a background check, the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) requires you do the tasks below:
- Certify to the consumer reporting agency (CRA) your permissible purpose to order background checks.
- Provide a standalone disclosure to the candidate explaining the scope of the background check you're ordering. States and localities might also require you to provide certain disclosures before ordering a background check.
- Obtain the candidate's written authorization, which can include electronic authorization, to order a background check for them. This authorization is also called a consent form.
Consult your legal counsel about your compliance responsibilities under relevant federal, state, and local laws.
Provide proper disclosure
Before ordering a background check, the FCRA requires you to provide certain documents to candidates. These documents include a standalone disclosure explaining the scope of the background check you're ordering. The document should be clear and conspicuous to the candidate and include only the disclosure. You should avoid adding the examples below to the standalone disclosure:
- Application effectiveness periods
- Disclaimers of accuracy
- Liability waivers
- The candidate's consent to the background check
Adding content to the standalone disclosure is a common legal risk.
Some states, such as California, might require standalone disclosures or other specific disclosures, notices, and formatting.
Consult your legal counsel to confirm your disclosure complies with laws relevant to your operations.
Obtain the candidate's consent
How you obtain consent depends on how you order background checks. Select a section below:
When a candidate begins the background check process through a Checkr invitation link, they enter personally identifiable information. Checkr provides template disclosure notices and consent language on 3 separate screens in the order below:
- A Summary of Your Rights Under the Fair Credit Reporting Act: This document explains the candidate’s rights.
- Disclosure Regarding Background Investigation: This document is the default standalone disclosure under the FCRA.
- Consent form: This document is where the candidate provides written consent to the background check process. The candidate electronically signs with their full name. The name the candidate signs must match the one they entered earlier in the process. Checkr stores a PDF of the signed form.
Evergreen consent is a candidate's ongoing permission to order background checks while they’re with your organization. For candidates with evergreen consent, you don't complete the full consent process for every background check you order. Checkr’s template consent form includes evergreen consent language. Consult your legal counsel to confirm your consent form complies with laws relevant to your operations.
Checkr recommends configuring your implementation of the Checkr API to collect the information below:
- A unique user name and password associated with the candidate
- The candidates full name from a signature field
- A PDF with the data below:
- Candidate's IP address
In an audit, you might need to provide copies of each candidate’s consent form for at least 5 years.
Evergreen consent through the Checkr API
Evergreen consent is a candidate's ongoing permission to order background checks during their time with your organization. For candidates with evergreen consent, you don't have to complete the full process for every background check you order.
The consent form often includes evergreen consent. As a courtesy to customers, Checkr offers template consent forms with evergreen consent language. States and localities might have different evergreen consent requirements. For example, you might consider obtaining consent for every background check you order for California candidates. The FCRA allows for evergreen consent, but California’s Investigative Consumer Reporting Agencies Act (ICRAA) is more ambiguous. Consult your legal counsel to confirm your consent form complies with laws relevant to your operations.
Checkr won't order a background check on a candidate who withdrew their consent to background checks.
Sometimes a candidate wants you to order a background check after they already withdrew consent. The candidate must sign a new consent form.
The candidate provides the personally identifying information (PII) below:
- Birth date
- Email address
- Full name
- Phone number
- Social Security number (SSN)
The candidate then reads and acknowledges receipt of applicable forms and notifications:
- A Summary of Your Rights Under the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA)
- Disclosure Regarding Background Investigation
- Other state and required disclosures as applicable
- Consent for a background check
After the candidate signs the consent form, Checkr starts the search.