• How long does Checkr keep reports?

    Read More

    Checkr retains reports in accordance with applicable laws and agreements between Checkr and its customers and affiliates. For example, for FCRA purposes Checkr retains reports for at least five years. Log in to the Checkr Dashboard to view reports. 

  • Running background checks for non-employment purposes

    Read More

    What if I want to run a background check for non-employment purposes?

    The Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) lists specific categories of permissible purposes that allow consumer reporting agencies like Checkr to provide background check reports to customers. While many Checkr customers are requesting reports under an employment permissible purpose, there are additional non-employment purposes available under the FCRA:

    • Insurance Underwriting: To evaluate and analyze risks involved in insuring consumers.
    • License Eligibility or Government Benefits: To consider an applicant’s financial responsibility or status, as required by law, to determine a consumer’s eligibility for a license or other benefit granted by a governmental agency or entity (for example, certain state benefits).
    • Extension of Credit: To extend credit as a result of an application from a consumer, or for the review or collection of a consumer’s account.
    • Legitimate Business Need: In connection with a transaction initiated by the consumer OR to review whether the individual continues to meet the terms of an account the consumer holds with that business.

    How are the documentation requirements different for non-employment purposes?

    Generally speaking, the end-user (customer) requirements for non-employment purposes are less burdensome than for employment. For example, non-employment purpose reports do not require the same detailed adverse action notice process; a verbal notice to the candidate that they will not be moving forward is sufficient.

    There remain requirements around the consumer’s informed consent and disclosures to the consumer. Ordering a report for non-employment purposes still requires a customer to obtain informed consent from the consumer(s) on whom they’re requesting a background check report. While a writing is not required under the FCRA, we often see customers collecting and recording the consumer’s consent to a background check report in the terms of service or other written form, as a best practice for audit purposes.  

    In addition to informed consent, a non-employment permissible purpose may still require additional steps. Depending on the consumer’s location and the specific screening requested (such as Motor Vehicle screening), customers may still be required to provide some additional disclosures to comply with state, local, and/or agency laws. We recommend speaking with your attorneys to make sure you have the appropriate consent and disclosure(s) for the permissible purpose applicable to your business, the screening requested, and the location of the consumer.

  • Will selecting the wrong work location send the incorrect state disclosures to the candidate?

    Read More

    No, Checkr will already have the candidate’s current location as part of the candidate flow, either because the candidate completed Checkr’s hosted flow or because you imported the ZIP code using the API. With that information, we can apply the proper compliance filters based on their home address.

    Legal disclaimer

    This does not constitute and is not intended to be construed as legal advice. Please consult your legal counsel regarding your compliance obligations and best practices.

  • How is Checkr navigating PII redactions by courts?

    Read More

    Question

    How is Checkr navigating PII redactions that limit public access to date of birth (DOB) on criminal records in Michigan and California?

    Answer

    When access to a full date of birth on criminal records is limited by courts, additional research is required and delays are expected. Checkr is diligently working to reduce the impact of PII redactions on customers through investments in our product, legislative solutions, and the expansion of our research team. Please find state-specific updates below:

    Michigan

    The state of Michigan originally planned to redact all dates of birth on July 1, 2021. This was postponed with an expected implementation date of April 1, 2022. Industry organizations like the PBSA and other allies are negotiating solutions with Michigan to make DOBs available for background checks. 

    California

    Many counties in California have limited public availability of DOBs on criminal records. Despite this, Checkr is still able to process the large majority of searches in just a few hours. For searches where there are potential matches to records, turnaround times have been impacted industry-wide. 

    Checkr is committed to minimizing the impact of PII redactions on our customers through product enhancements, increased bandwidths, and legislative solutions.

    Looking for more information

    More information can be found on Checkr's Blog by visiting: How Date of Birth Redactions Affect the Background Check Process and How Checkr is Helping

  • Checkr's compliance post-processing

    Read More

    This document outlines the processes Checkr uses to process records after they have been returned from court sources. Checkr performs post-processing according to the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) and comparable state laws in order to ensure reporting accuracy and compliance.

    Checkr provides several types of post-processing, including:

    Identity-based post-processing

    Identity-based post-processing ensures that only records bearing on the candidate are included in the background check report. For comprehensiveness purposes, Checkr furnishers initially employ overinclusive search methodologies with higher levels of tolerance for potential matches (such as name spelling variations, or partial identifier matches). After initially casting a wide net on the search, Checkr’s identity-based post-processing serves as a crucial step for background check accuracy. Checkr furnishers are instructed to return all available identifiers associated with a record. Based on the identifiers returned, Checkr determines whether the identifiers sufficiently match the candidate’s personally identifiable information (PII). Records determined to be not associated with the candidate are excluded from the final report.

    The most common identifiers evaluated during identity-based post-processing are:

    • Name (including aliases)
    • Date of Birth
    • Social Security Number
    • Address
    • Driver License

    Based on the presence and calculated similarity of the above identifiers, as well as the demographic statistics of the relevant geographic location, Checkr computes probabilistic scoring that informs the inclusion criteria of a given record.

    Additionally, records without PII sufficient to establish matching confidence scores are sent to Quality Assurance for additional review and research.

    Compliance-based post-processing

    To ensure background check reports are compiled in compliance with Consumer Reporting Agency (CRA) requirements, Checkr follows all federal and state-specific rules on reportability. These rules take into consideration factors such as the age of the record, the charge type (criminal vs. non-criminal), disposition (convictions vs. non-convictions), and other exemptions (listed below). Based on the following information, Checkr makes a determination regarding a record’s reportability in a specific jurisdiction.

    Age of record

    As a CRA, Checkr complies with FCRA and comparable state-specific laws. These laws determine whether a given record can be reported based on the record’s age, as well as how the record’s age is calculated. For example, the age of a conviction is calculated based on the most recent case activity date available, whereas the age of non-conviction records is calculated using the filing date.

    Charge type

    Record reportability is also dependent on the nature of the offense. Specifically, non-criminal information (such as petty offenses and civil infractions) are only reportable for 7 years. As a result, non-criminal records older than 7 years are excluded from the background check report.

    Disposition

    Dispositions may be generally classified as convictions and non-convictions. The FCRA and state laws govern the reportability of these two disposition types.

    Convictions: Under the FCRA, convictions can appear on a background report regardless of when they occurred. However, some states have limited the scope of conviction reporting to seven years, including California, Kansas, Maryland, Massachusetts, Montana, New Mexico, New York, New Hampshire, and Washington.

    Non-conviction: A "non-conviction" includes arrests, dismissed cases, not-guilty verdicts, alternative adjudications (programs that result in dismissed charges if the defendant completes certain conditions), and “nolle prosequi” (formal abandonment of prosecution).

    Under the FCRA, non-convictions are reportable for seven years from the filing date. For most states, non-convictions are therefore reported for 7 years. However, four states (California, Kentucky, New York, and New Mexico) prohibit the reporting of non-convictions. In these states, and absent some exemption, there will be no reporting of non-convictions.

    Jurisdiction-specific rules

    To determine which jurisdiction’s reporting rules to apply to the report, Checkr evaluates the following pieces of information:

    • Report’s “Geo”
    • Candidate’s “Geo” (The state for the last (most recent) Geo associated with the candidate.)
    • Candidate’s zip code
    • Account’s default compliance state

    Other exemptions

    Federal and state-specific exemptions to the aforementioned reporting rules include salary exemption as well as Transportation Network Company (TNC) exemption where applicable. Such exemptions will extend the reporting period beyond the standard scope.

    Record deduplication

    To comply with the FCRA and to avoid misleading or duplicate reporting, Checkr performs record deduplication. Duplicate records that are excluded from the background check reports generally fall into two categories:

    • Transferred cases: When a case is shown to be transferred to another court jurisdiction, Checkr reports only the information from the court to which the case was transferred. This ensures that the reported information is the most up-to-date case information for the specific record.
    • Duplicate cases: When a case is determined to be a duplicate of another case, Checkr displays only one instance of the case on the report.
  • What is the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA)?

    Read More

    This article will help you understand:

    The Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA)

    The FCRA is a federal law that governs how companies order, use, and consider consumer reports, (including background or credit checks).   

    For the purposes of employment, the FCRA applies to both full-time employees and independent contractors.

    Enforcement of the FCRA is overseen by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) as well as the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB). The law was enacted to promote the accuracy, fairness, and privacy of consumer information contained in the files of consumer reporting agencies like Checkr. To that end, it provides safeguards and rights for the consumer (the subject of the background report, for example the candidate or employee).

    The Consumer Reporting Agency (CRA, such as Checkr) providing the consumer report and the company that ordered the report (the End-User) must adhere to certain safeguards.

    The FCRA places responsibilities and obligations on the End-Users of consumer reports to ensure consumers’ rights are protected.

    Your Responsibilities as an End-User

    As an end-user under the FCRA, your responsibilities and duties may vary depending on the purpose for which you obtain a consumer report, including but not limited to insurance underwriting, tenant screening, or employment-- i.e. the enumerated “permissible purposes” for obtaining a consumer report allowed by the FCRA.  End-users have specific duties and obligations under the FCRA when they obtain a background check report for employment purposes (such as screening, hiring, or promoting job applicants, employees, or independent contractors).  These duties include:

    1. Obtain a consumer report(s) for a FCRA-enumerated permissible purpose(s) (Permissible Purpose);
    2. Provide notice to the consumer in writing that you intend to obtain a consumer report for employment purposes (Written Disclosure);
    3.  Obtain the consumer's  written consent to run a report (Written Authorization); 
    4. Provide the consumer with a “pre-adverse action notice,” a summary of their rights under the FCRA, and a copy of their report if you intend to make an adverse decision (such as declining them for employment or promotions) based on the information in the report (Pre-Adverse Action);
    5. Waiting Period: Give the consumer a reasonable waiting period to dispute the information contained within his or her consumer report before making a final adverse decision (Waiting Period);
    6. Notify the consumer in writing when an adverse action is taken (Final Adverse Action Notice);
    7. Identify the CRA that provided the report, so that the accuracy and completeness of the report may be verified or contested by the consumer.

    As your partner in background check screening, Checkr helps facilitate your compliance with the FCRA by:

    • Written Permission. If you are utilizing Checkr’s hosted-flow process, and as part of the authorization process, Checkr will provide the candidate with the summary of rights and requisite federal, state and/or local disclosure notice(s) as applicable. Checkr hosts these forms and, with your approval, they are incorporated into the consumer’s background check process. See our disclosure and authorization article for more information.
    • Adverse Actions.  You can use Checkr’s dashboard to help with the adverse action process. Specifically, Checkr can send pre-adverse action notices (as required by the FCRA for employment screening) and will automatically follow up with the required post-adverse notice following the statutory waiting period. See our adverse action article for more information.

    That said, Checkr is assisting you in your duties -- under the law, you are ultimately responsible for knowing and meeting your responsibilities under federal, state and/or local law.

    Checkr's Responsibilities as a CRA

    As a consumer reporting agency (CRA), Checkr’s responsibilities are different from an end-user’s under the FCRA, including:

    • Credentialing end-users to run background checks which includes confirming end-users have a permissible purpose to obtain the report;
    • Maintaining strict procedures to ensure maximum possible accuracy of information in reports, or sending a contemporaneous notice to consumers when we report potentially adverse information;
    • Providing consumers with all information in their files upon request (also known as a Full File Disclosure);
    • Re-investigating inaccuracies and disputes by candidates as to information within their background check reports within 30 days; and
    • Not reporting obsolete information, such as non-convictions older than seven years.

    Note again that these are different from your responsibilities as an end-user. For example, while CRAs are restricted on what can or cannot be reported in a background check (such as inaccurate or obsolete information), end-users are responsible for how the information is reviewed and what actions they can take.

    Following the above procedures ensures that candidates are aware of their rights under the FCRA and are given the opportunity to address concerns about their background check.

    Legal Disclaimer

    Checkr's guidance should not be construed as legal advice, guidance, or counsel. Companies should consult their own legal counsel about their compliance responsibilities under the FCRA, Title VII, and applicable state and/or local laws. Checkr expressly disclaims any warranties or responsibility or damages associated with or arising out of information provided.

  • Disclosure and authorization: gaining consent to run background checks

    Read More

    This article will help you:

    • Set up disclosure and authorization forms
    • Disclose to candidates that you will be running a background check
    • Gain candidates’ authorization to proceed
    • Avoid common legal risk from improper disclosures

    Many employers open themselves to risk by not properly disclosing that they will run a background check, or by failing to gain the candidate's authorization. This is true both for full-time employees and independent contractors. Avoid this risk by telling your candidates you intend to run a background check report on them and asking for permission.

    To learn the basics of disclosure and authorization, watch our Checkr Check-In video on the topic:

    Proper disclosure and authorization requires:

    • A standalone disclosure (consisting only of the disclosure) informing the candidate that you will be running a background check. Non-standalone disclosures are an extremely common area of legal risk.
    • State disclosures (if applicable). Some states, like California, require specific disclosures and formatting.
    • An Authorization Form seeking consent from the candidate to run the background check.

    If you use the Checkr-hosted application flow (set up by default), Checkr will help automate disclosure and authorization for you by providing sample disclosure notices and authorization language.

    If you are running background checks through Checkr’s API or the manual order feature, make sure that you are still showing candidates a disclosure, gaining authorization, and storing them securely. You’re required to do this under the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA).

    Here’s what the candidate will do in the Checkr-hosted flow:

    1. Enter their personally identifiable information (PII) so Checkr can validate their identity and run the background check.

      applicant_flow_-_welcome.png

    2. Read and acknowledge A Summary of Your Rights Under the Fair Credit Reporting Act, which we include to help consumers understand their rights.

      applicant_flow_-_your_rights_1.png

    3. Read and acknowledge the Disclosure Regarding Background Investigation. This is what’s known as the sole disclosure and it must not have anything else added to it, including liability waivers, application effectiveness periods, disclaimers of accuracy, or any other extraneous information. The FCRA specifically requires that the disclosure be “clear and conspicuous” and consist “solely of the disclosure.”

      Your disclosure should look similar to the image below, otherwise you expose yourself to one of the most common areas of legal risk. If you add extraneous information to the disclosure, you may leave yourself vulnerable to a class action with a large class size, because every single candidate going through a background check will be exposed to your disclosure before proceeding.

      applicant_flow_-_disclosure_checked.png

      If the candidate or job location is in a state with its own disclosure requirements, based on the screening components and candidate’s ZIP code, Checkr will automatically provide the state-specific disclosure as a separate step.

      applicant_flow_-_ca_disclosure.png


    4. Read and acknowledge the authorization for a background check. Included in this authorization is any state-specific language required by law. The candidate can choose to be emailed a copy of the report, then e-signs with their full name (which much match the name they entered earlier in the process).

      applicant_flow_-_authorization_checked.png

    5. Click Submit, and now the background check process begins. 

    To recap, one of the more frequent areas of litigation around background checks involves the requirement to have a document that consists “solely” of the disclosure. You may be tempted to add to or modify your disclosures, but by doing so, you may be vulnerable to legal action from plaintiffs’ attorneys who file thousands of FCRA lawsuits each year.

    Legal Disclaimer

    Checkr's guidance should not be construed as legal advice, guidance, or counsel. Companies should consult their own legal counsel about their compliance responsibilities under the FCRA, Title VII, and applicable state and/or local laws. Checkr expressly disclaims any warranties or responsibility or damages associated with or arising out of information provided.

  • How does Checkr manage a candidate's consent form?

    Read More

    Candidates must consent to being screened before a background check is requested. These consent forms will be handled differently depending on whether you use Checkr's Dashboard or API to request background reports.

    Consent through the Checkr Dashboard

    If you are using Checkr directly through the Dashboard and requesting reports via invitation links sent by Checkr, we will store completed consent forms on your behalf.

    Once a candidate e-signs the “Acknowledgement and Authorization for Background Check” form, a PDF version of this document is generated and stored on Checkr’s servers.

    Consent through the API

    If you request consumer reports through the Checkr API, you are required to store and maintain the candidate's consent form. Collecting proof of authorization is a requirement of the end-user of background reports(the company hiring or engaging candidates).

    If you are audited, you must must be able to furnish copies of the authorization for background check.

    Copies must be stored for at least five (5) years. This means that your custom API flow must include a mechanism for storing the candidate's consent. We recommend the following:

    • Make sure the user is identified by username and password
    • Have the candidate type their name in signature box
    • Upon submission of authorization, generate a PDF of the authorization form and store this PDF on your internal system
    • On the PDF, store date/timestamp and store candidate IP Address
  • What are "Ban the Box" laws?

    Read More

    This article will help you:

    • Understand the scope of Ban the Box laws
    • Account for Ban the Box laws in your fair-hiring process
    • Determine which localities have Ban the Box laws

    Here's a quick video overview of Ban the Box Laws:

    Hundreds of cities, counties, and even states have implemented Ban the Box rules that prohibit questions about criminal conviction history on job applications. Initially, the “box” referred to the box on a job application where candidates would indicate whether they had criminal histories, but these regulations have often expanded to govern when employers are allowed to ask about criminal histories.

    Each Ban the Box law contains unique requirements, so be sure to check the laws in locations where you hire contractors or employees. For example, some laws govern whether you can ask about criminal history on a job application, and others go further to restrict you from asking about criminal history until a conditional offer is made.

    Which states and municipalities ban the box?

    As of April 2018, 31 states have implemented Ban the Box regulations.

    ban_the_box_map_april_2018.png

    The following have implemented laws for private employers:

    • California
    • Colorado
    • Hawaii
    • Illinois
    • Massachusetts
    • Minnesota
    • New Jersey
    • Oregon
    • Rhode Island
    • Vermont
    • Washington

    The following have implemented laws for public employers only:

    • Arizona
    • Connecticut
    • Delaware
    • Georgia  
    • Indiana  
    • Kentucky
    • Louisiana
    • Maryland
    • Missouri
    • Nebraska  
    • Nevada
    • New Mexico  
    • New York
    • Ohio
    • Oklahoma
    • Pennsylvania
    • Tennessee
    • Utah
    • Virginia
    • Wisconsin

    In addition to states, over 100 cities and counties now require Ban the Box practices for private employers. They include:

    • Austin, TX
    • Baltimore, MD
    • Buffalo, NY
    • Chicago, IL
    • Columbia, MO
    • Washington, D.C.
    • Kansas City, MO
    • Los Angeles, CA
    • Montgomery County, MD
    • New York City, NY
    • Philadelphia, PA
    • Portland, OR
    • Prince George’s County, MD
    • Rochester, NY
    • San Francisco, CA
    • Seattle, WA
    • Spokane, WA

    Ban the Box legislation is just one example in a growing trend of state and municipal fair-hiring laws. While Ban the Box typically governs when an employer can inquire about criminal history, some cities have instituted “Fair Chance Ordinances” that govern how criminal history is considered and require a show-your-work rule when denying applicants due to criminal records. Based on the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission’s guidance, you should evaluate offenses on background reports individually, rather than blanket exclusions. For more information, see our article on individualized assessment.

    How do I incorporate Ban the Box laws into my hiring process?

    Whether these laws apply to you depends on multiple factors, including:

    • Your company size
    • Where you’re located or where you hire employees
    • Whether you’re a government agency or private employer
    • What industry you’re in (health care, child care, law enforcement, education, banking, accounting, insurance, transportation & security, and others often fall under different regulations)

    Consult with your counsel to determine which Ban the Box laws apply to you, and based on that guidance you may want to review the language on your job descriptions and applications, and/or ensure that your hiring or engagement managers are not asking about criminal history as part of the interview process.

    For example, some employers choose to replace language such as “Candidates with felonies in the past 7 years need not apply” with language such as “This position is subject to a background check for any convictions directly related to its duties and responsibilities. Only job-related convictions will be considered and will not automatically disqualify the candidate,” providing a more accurate statement of how individualized assessment works.

     

  • Checkr's candidate alias process

    Read More

    This document describes Checkr’s process in collecting and determining aliases for candidates when conducting background check screenings, and includes the following information:

    Alias sources

    Aliases are different names or permutations of the same name associated with a candidate. When applicable, Checkr uses aliases to identify records under names that differ from the candidate’s provided name, thus increasing the comprehensiveness of the background check report.

    Aliases are identified through names returned from various sources, including candidate creation, SSN Trace records, Motor Vehicle Records check, and document transcriptions. These returned names are stored as “name occurrences”, and evaluated to generate aliases.

    • Candidate submission: The information submitted by the candidate to Checkr acts as a starting point for the candidate’s profile.
    • SSN Trace: Checkr identifies additional names from SSN Trace data. These names are aggregated into the candidate’s record and stored.
    • Motor Vehicle Records: MVR checks often return name variants. These names are aggregated into the candidate’s record and stored.
    • Document transcription: Customer and Checkr support team document transcriptions may introduce additional names for the candidate.
    • Name normalization: Checkr software identifies potential nicknames for a candidate. For example, if a candidate submits Bob as a first name, our software automatically recognizes that Bob is a nickname for Robert and stores Robert as a first name for that candidate.

    Checkr uses name occurrences from all previous reports associated with an individual candidate when computing aliases

    Alias types

    Checkr leverages a variety of algorithms to evaluate returned name occurrences, and aggregates this raw data to generate aliases for a candidate. Two types of aliases are generated in this process:

    • Request alias: Request aliases are used to initiate screenings for the candidate. Package configuration will determine whether and how many distinct aliases are used in requests.
    • Validation alias: Validation aliases are used to confirm that the records returned by our vendors match the candidate. In order to ensure accuracy, alias matches are only one of several identifiers used to match.

    Request alias name selection

    The selection process of request aliases ensures that distinct name components are represented and therefore searched. When generating request aliases, Checkr evaluates all available first, middle, and last names for each candidate returned in the sources listed above.

    First name evaluation

    When two different first names are collected, Checkr will select both as request aliases. For example, given Patricia Stewart and Martha Stewart, Checkr will select both Patricia and Martha as distinct request aliases.

    Last name evaluation

    When two different last names are collected, Checkr selects both as request aliases. For example, given Martha Jones and Martha Stewart, Checkr will select both Jones and Stewart as distinct request aliases.

    Middle name evaluation

    When evaluating multiple middle names, Checkr selects the most representative name variation as the request alias, allowing our providers to return all data that is likely to be related to the candidate.

    • Given Patrick and P, Checkr selects Patrick
    • Given Patrick, Pete and Paul, Checkr selects P
    • Given Patrick and Neal, Checkr selects neither

    Validation alias name selection

    While request aliases are selected to broaden search coverage and increase comprehensiveness, validation aliases are generated to ensure all components from various name occurrences are represented when validating records.

    The following example is constructed to illustrate these differences.

    For example: Checkr receives the following name occurrences for a candidate from various sources:

    • JOHN J SMITH
    • JOHN SMITH
    • JOHN S SMITH
    • JOHN SAM SMITH
    • JOHN JONES SMITH

    Because “JOHN SMITH” is the name that can represent all other name occurrences, Checkr will select the name “JOHN SMITH“ as a request alias.

    And, to ensure all name components are represented in record validation, Checkr will use both “JOHN SAM SMITH” and “JOHN JONES SMITH” as validation aliases to ensure maximum possible accuracy.

    Alias use

    Checkr enables the use of aliases for the following screenings:

    • National Criminal Database Check
    • Sex Offender Registry Check
    • Global Watchlist Records Check
    • Federal Criminal Records Check
    • Federal Civil Records Check
    • County Criminal Records Check
    • County Civil Records Check
    • State Criminal Records Check
    • Municipal Criminal Records Check

    Partial name handling

    In some cases, candidates may not have both first and last names. In these cases FNU is used in place of first name to designate First Name Unknown, and LNU is used in place of last name to designate Last Name Unknown. Because the same designations are also used in public records, Checkr accepts FNU and LNU as valid name input, as they will function as regular name values in searches, and provide a basis for matching records to be returned.

    While it’s common for candidates to have no “first” name (or FNU) on the record, it is very rare for candidates to have no “last” name (or LNU). Candidates with a single name often submit it as their last, rather than their first for United States documents.

    Checkr does not accept single letter last names as valid input, and customer API calls that POST single letter last names will be responded to with an error.

    Checkr does accept single character first names as valid input.

  • What happens when there is a "hit" on a National Criminal Records Check?

    Read More

    Question

    The National Criminal Database Search casts a wide net to search for potential records. Although this search is extensive, the records returned are often incomplete, lacking identifying information and/or the final disposition of the case (for example, whether the case was dismissed). 

    When a potential record is identified in the National Criminal Database Search, what happens next? 

    Answer

    The report is automatically upgraded using County Level Verification to ensure that public record information is complete and up to date. This means that Checkr then runs a search in the county indicated by the National Criminal Database, with the goal of obtaining:

    • Additional identifiers to determine whether or not the record belongs to the individual in question; and 
    • Up-to-date case information (such as disposition or status)

    In addition, Checkr also sends a “Contemporaneous Notice” or “613 Notice” to the candidate. The County Level Verification and the notice help Checkr comply with Section 613 of the Fair Credit Reporting Act.

    When a County Criminal Check was not ordered as part of the background check package but there is a hit on a National Criminal Database Check, please expect a County-Level Verification fee and possible county-level passthrough fees to appear on your invoice. 

    Also see What are the additional fees on our invoice?

  • Individualized Assessment: Making hiring decisions when reviewing adverse information

    Read More

    This article will help you:

    This article is for the following user roles: admin, adjudicator

    As more states pass fair hiring laws encouraging you to assess the individual circumstances of each candidate’s background check, Checkr helps you keep your hiring process fair and compliant through individualized assessment tools.

    For a quick overview of individualized assessment, see our Checkr Check-In video below:

    What is individualized assessment, and why is it important?

    Individualized Assessment refers to how you review criminal records on a pre-employment background check. Rather than focus simply on the name of an identified criminal offense, individualized assessment means that you take into account the specific circumstances of the candidate and the crime(s) to make a fairer and more job related determination. All of this happens before you initiate Adverse Action against a candidate.

    Unlike the Adverse Action process, which is required under the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA), your Individualized Assessment responsibilities stem from federal, state, and municipal fair hiring laws. 

    In 2012, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), under title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, issued guidelines advising employers to consider the specifics of each candidate who may be denied employment based on a background check.

    Here’s how the EEOC defines Individualized Assessment:

    Individualized assessment generally means that an employer informs the individual that he may be excluded because of past criminal conduct; provides an opportunity to the individual to demonstrate that the exclusion does not properly apply to him; and considers whether the individual's additional information shows that the policy as applied is not job related and consistent with business necessity.

    The EEOC specifically mentions three criteria to consider when reviewing criminal records, known as the "nature/time/nature" test:

    • The nature and gravity of the offense
    • The time that has passed since the offense, conduct, and/or completion of sentence
    • The nature of the job held or sought

    In other words: “How severe was the offense? How much time has passed since the offense? How relevant is the offense to the job?”

    The EEOC encourages you to consider other factors, such as:

    • The facts or circumstances surrounding the offense or conduct.
    • The number of offenses for which the individual was convicted.
    • The candidate's age at the time of conviction, or release from prison.
    • Evidence that the individual performed the same type of work, post-conviction, with the same or a different employer, with no known incidents of criminal conduct.
    • The length and consistency of employment history before and after the offense or conduct.
    • Rehabilitation efforts, such as education or training.
    • Employment or character references and any other information regarding fitness for the particular position.
    • Whether the individual is bonded under a federal, state, or local bonding program.

    Also note the disposition of the records as you review them, because even dismissed records can still be reported in most states.

    No individualized assessment is needed when there is a “demonstrably tight nexus” between the job duties and responsibilities and the offense or conduct. This occurs in specific and limited situations, for example:

    • A recently convicted sexual predator applying to work supervising children at a day care.
    • A candidate with recent convictions for identity theft applying to work in a position handling sensitive personal financial information like Social Security and credit card numbers.

    Create an individualized assessment process

    The best practice is to create and document a fair individualized assessment process that goes hand-in-hand with your adverse action process. You should then distribute and train your adjudicators and hiring managers on these processes. In general, these processes may govern:

    • Which offenses wouldn’t adversely affect an employment decision because they are minor, irrelevant, etc. (our Positive Adjudication Matrix helps you filter these automatically).
    • Which factors to examine on a criminal record during an individualized assessment.
    • When, if at all, to ask about criminal history (to comply with “Ban the Box” laws).
    • How to reach out to candidates to gain additional information or context on a criminal record.
    • How to account for severity, age, relevance, and disposition during adjudication.
    • How to document individualized assessments for candidates with whom you will initiate an Adverse Action process.

    For example, you may create a worksheet similar to the following:

    Factors considered

    Specific question(s)

    Nature and gravity of offense

    Misdemeanor?

    Felony?

    Plea/Conviction?

    Age of offense How many years ago did the offense occur?
    Number of offenses How many offenses?

    Facts/circumstances surrounding offense

    What happened?

    Age at time of conviction(s) and/or plea(s)

    DOB and date of conviction(s)/plea(s)

    Work history pre-conviction/plea

    Similar job?

    Work history post-conviction/plea

    Similar job?

    Rehabilitation efforts

    What education has the candidate received?

    What training has the candidate received?

    Employment/character references provided?

    Yes/No

    Is candidate bonded?

    Yes/No

    Show your work” laws and ordinances

    Taking the EEOC guidance a step further, some municipalities (for example, the cities of New York and Los Angeles) specifically require that employers not only conduct individualized assessments, but also “show their work” to candidates. These jurisdictions require that you send a written analysis to the candidate explaining why the criminal record disqualifies them from employment in a given position.

    For example, in July of 2017, the City of Los Angeles began enforcement of the Fair Chance Initiative for Hiring Ordinance. In keeping with a general trend towards increased transparency in the hiring process, the Ordinance requires employers to provide their written individualized assessment with the pre-adverse action notice (i.e. “show your work”). New York City implemented a similar requirement in August 2017.

    Individualized assessment in the Checkr platform

    To assist you in conducting compliant individualized assessments, Checkr provides two useful features.

    First, Checkr’s Positive Adjudication Matrix allows you to automatically filter out minor or irrelevant offenses that wouldn’t disqualify a candidate, so that those reports will clear without you needing to conduct individualized assessment. Not only will this result in fairer and more consistent hiring practices, but it will also free up your employees’ time from having to review these reports.

    Checkr also allows you to add your written individualized assessment directly into the adverse action notice.

    Specifically, if you’re hiring candidates in locations with “show your work” laws or ordinances, such as the cities of Los Angeles and New York, or the state of Illinois, Checkr will prompt you to use our Individualized Assessment tool during the adverse action process.

    We use the following logic to determine whether to activate the Individualized Assessment Tool:

    • If your candidate's Work or Home ZIP code is in New York City or Los Angeles, we will activate the assessment form for that candidate.
    • If your candidate is in California, Illinois, or New York Geo, we will activate the assessment form for that candidate.
    • By request, we can activate the assessment form for all candidates. Please contact Checkr Customer Support.
    We recommend that you add Geos (location-based rules) for your candidates to segment candidates in locations with “show your work” laws or ordinances. By doing this, you can ensure that the form activates for candidates who may have a ZIP code outside of New York City or Los Angeles, but live in NY or CA states and will work in one of those locations.

    pre-adverse_notice_with_individualized_assessment_filled_in.png

    Provide your rationale in the Initial Assessment field.

    For candidates in the cities of New York or Los Angeles, use the Upload document section to download the New York or Los Angeles Individualized Assessment forms, fill in the details, and then upload directly into the form. Whatever you enter or upload will also be sent to the candidate with the Pre-Adverse Action notice.

    When you preview the Pre-Adverse Notice, you’ll see the individualized assessment show up as well. In the screenshot below, the text inside the red box (“Company’s Initial Assessment”) comes directly from the text you entered on the previous screen within the “Initial Assessment” field.

    pre-adverse_preview_with_individualized_assessment.png

    The candidate has 7 days by default to provide an explanation or to dispute the accuracy of the report by visiting the Candidate Portal. Based on the information that the candidate provides, conduct a reassessment or consider the additional information in the Reassessment field.

    If, based on this reassessment, you decide that you would like to hire the candidate, you can cancel the Pre-Adverse Action notice at this point.

    Some employers choose to document individualized assessment for all candidates, regardless of their locality. If you would like to enable this feature for all candidates, please contact Checkr Customer Support.
  • How are independent contractors treated by the FCRA and other employment laws?

    Read More

    If your company engages contractors (using a 1099 tax form) instead of full-time employees (using a W-2 form), you may wonder whether you have the same obligations under the Fair Credit Reporting Act, Equal Employment Opportunity Commission guidelines, and state "Ban the Box" laws as you would for full-time W-2 employees.

    Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA): According to commonly accepted interpretations of the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA), purchasing and reviewing background checks as part of the screening process for independent contractors or volunteers falls under "Employment Purposes," making reports for contractors/volunteers subject to the same FCRA guidelines as for employees.

    EEOC guidelines and state/local laws: Each state and local law (such as "Ban the Box" laws that are becoming more common) takes a slightly different position on how it applies to independent contractors. That said, the spirit of the EEOC guidelines and the guidance they provide on non-discrimination is intended to cover all types of employment relationships.

    Co-employment Risk: Co-employment risk arises when individuals hired as contractors (often through staffing agencies) are effectively treated like full-time employees, and must then be subject to the same employer obligations as full-time employees. Just because you engage 1099 contractors instead of full-time employees, it is not a guarantee that you are exempt from co-employment risk. The IRS lists 20 factors that are used to determine whether an independent contractor relationship is valid. Having even some of those factors, not all, may lead to the determination that your 1099 contractors are actually in an employment relationship with you.

  • How does the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) apply to background checks?

    Read More

    The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, prohibits employers from making certain automatic decisions that would adversely affect the hiring decision based on criminal records and/or credit reports.

    The reasoning behind this prohibition is "disparate impact," where a seemingly neutral policy (like denying someone based on information in their background report) disproportionately affects certain groups, such as underrepresented minorities.

    The EEOC put forth new guidance in April, 2012 with respect to individualized assessment when considering criminal records in the hiring process. Among the guidelines in the EEOC's 2012 guidance, the factors featured most prominently in the guidance are:

    • The nature and gravity of the offense
    • The time that has passed since the offense, conduct, and/or completion of sentence
    • The nature of the job held or sought 

    This is known as "nature-time-nature." In other words: “How severe was the offense? How much time has passed since the offense? How relevant is the offense to the job?”

    When reviewing background reports in line with the EEOC's guidance, you should always consider these three factors before making a final decision.

    When potentially adverse information appears on a report, Checkr marks the report as consider, which draws the attention to the portion(s) of the report which may contain the adverse information. This encourages adjudicators to review reports individually, instead of making blanket pass/fail decisions.

    Additionally, Checkr's Positive Adjudication Matrix helps you comply with EEOC guidance more effectively and consistently by de-emphasizing offenses in line with your adjudication criteria that are less severe, further in the past, or irrelevant to your job.

     

  • How do I gather evergreen consent to run ongoing background checks?

    Read More

    Evergreen consent is a candidate's permission for you to run background checks for the duration of their employment.

    When you run a background check, you’re required by law to gain the candidate’s consent. This means you need to disclose the nature of the check, and gain the candidate’s authorization to proceed. 

    Checkr obtains evergreen consent from all candidates applying through our Checkr-Hosted Apply Flow. If you order background checks manually, or by some other means that does not take advantage of our Apply Flow, you will be required to obtain evergreen consent from your candidates directly.

    For example, if you create a manual invitation for a candidate, and then wish to re-run their background check using Checkr’s subscriptions feature, you are required to obtain their “evergreen consent”.

    Please consult with your legal counsel on whether and how to use evergreen consent. Consider the following points:

    Do you place evergreen consent language in the disclosure form or the authorization form?

    • Many companies place the evergreen consent notice in the authorization form, so as not to violate the “sole disclosure” requirement in the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA).
    • Upon request, Checkr can provide you with template authorization forms that include evergreen consent language, but you are ultimately responsible for the language you use.

    How are you complying with state laws?

    • Some state laws, notably California’s Investigative Consumer Reporting Agencies Act (ICRAA), are ambiguous on the topic of evergreen consent. Although the Federal Trade Commission has interpreted the FCRA to allow for consent throughout the course of employment, ICRAA’s language is more ambiguous.
    • You may consider asking for disclosure each time you re-run a check for candidates living or working in California.




  • Can a candidate with "evergreen consent" withdraw consent?

    Read More

    Question

    I worked with my legal team to ensure we have “evergreen consent”. If a candidate withdraws consent, does this apply to us?

    Answer

    Regardless of whether or not Evergreen Consent is used, if a candidate withdraws consent, it is considered withdrawn by Checkr and the client must collect new consent from the candidate if they wish to run a new report on them.

    See Disclosure and consent: Gaining permission to run background checks for more information

    Legal disclaimer

    This does not constitute and is not intended to be construed as legal advice. Please consult your legal counsel regarding your compliance obligations and best practices.

  • Withdrawn Consent: What if the candidate changes their mind and wants to have a report run on them?

    Read More

    Question

    What if the candidate changes their mind and wants to have a report run on them after withdrawing consent? Should I send a new invitation?

    Answer

    Yes, a new invitation should be sent to the candidate to collect consent. 

    See Disclosure and consent: Gaining permission to run background checks for more information

    Legal disclaimer

    This does not constitute and is not intended to be construed as legal advice. Please consult your legal counsel regarding your compliance obligations and best practices.

  • When should I use the Delete Candidate Data feature?

    Read More

    Question

    When should I delete candidate data?

    Answer

    This feature is designed in accordance with the CCPA and should be used only when a candidate requests their data to be deleted. This feature also provides candidates the option to reach out to Checkr to remove their personal information. 

    Checkr has made this feature available to maintain FCRA obligations and align with CCPA/CPRA. It provides transparency and gives candidates control over their data.

    For more information on the CCPA and your candidate's checks, feel free to check out this article: What CCPA Compliance Means in the Context of Background Checks

    Important: Deleted reports cannot be reinstated. To obtain this information again, a new report will need to be ordered.

    Note: This does not constitute and is not intended to be construed as legal advice. Please consult your legal counsel regarding your compliance obligations and best practices.

  • How do background check reporting requirements vary by state?

    Read More

    This article will help you:

    • Familiarize yourself with various state-by-state reporting requirements that affect background checks
    • Determine why you may not see all possible criminal records reported
    • Determine why you may or may not see dismissed records reported

    In addition to existing federal laws that pertain to background screening, end-users of consumer reports (employers or contractees) should be aware of the reporting requirements under individual states’ rules.

    Similar to how the FCRA restricts consumer reporting agencies (or “CRAs” like Checkr) from reporting non-convictions over seven years old, some states have passed their own legislation that further restricts CRAs like Checkr from reporting both conviction and non-conviction information. For this reason, you may not see information reported in an employment background check even if it is available on an unvetted source (like a mugshot database).

    Checkr automates reporting in line with each state’s requirements using our Compliance Engine to help you avoid seeing information that is not reportable.

    Which states restrict reporting on convictions?

    Under the FCRA, convictions can appear on a background report regardless of when they occurred. However, some states have limited the scope of conviction reporting to seven years, including California, Kansas, Maryland, Massachusetts, Montana, New Mexico, New York, New Hampshire, and Washington.

     

    State_Reporting_Restrictions_on_Convictions.png

     

    Which states restrict reporting on non-convictions?

    Under the FCRA, non-convictions are reportable for seven years from the file date and can appear on a background report for seven years.

    However, some states entirely prevent non-convictions from being reported. These states are California, Kentucky, New York, and New Mexico.

    A "non-conviction" could include dismissed cases, not-guilty verdicts, alternative adjudications (programs that result in dismissed charges if the defendant completes certain conditions), and nolle prosequi (formal abandonment of prosecution).

     

    Screen_Shot_2019-11-13_at_2.35.15_PM.png

    While the states listed above don't allow dismissed records to be reported, Checkr is able to report dismissed records in the states that permit it. It's important to consider the totality of the record being reported, charge(s), disposition (guilty, dismissed, pending) and sentencing, and give an individualized assessment.

    Note: By default, the setting to show dismissed records is turned off. This means that customers will not see dismissed records unless they request to. Contact Customer Support to request a change to this setting. 

    Why don’t I see all possible criminal records?

    You may notice that not all criminal records are reportable on a background check, which might lead you to question whether the report is accurate. In fact, a record may not be reportable due to state laws.

    Some states limit the scope of reporting criminal conviction records to the last 7 years. That said, how the scope is defined can vary, depending on the availability of data. For example, the 7 years can start from:

    • the date of disposition
    • the date the defendant is released from incarceration
    • the date parole is completed (parole from the original crime)
    Public court records often do not include release information. When these later dates are unknown, scope is measured by the earlier available date.

    For more information on the scope of a check, see our article on lookback periods

    Other Considerations

    Below is a non-exhaustive list of other state-specific and industry-specific considerations to be aware of.

    • California:
      • Marijuana Misdemeanors: Non-Felony (Misdemeanor) convictions for marijuana possession can only be reported for 2 years from the disposition date. Furthermore, end users (employers) are also prohibited from seeking or considering this information when making employment decisions.
      • Transportation Networks (TNC): Regulatory exception under AB1289 allows consumer reporting agencies (Checkr) to report convictions beyond 7 years when preparing reports for TNCs. Under this regulatory reporting exception, TNCs can see convictions for CA candidates regardless of when they occurred.
    • Maryland: Transportation Networks (TNCs) are required to search the "entire adult history" of candidates for TNC roles.
    • Kentucky: Pending criminal cases are never reportable.
    • Salary exceptions: Some states provide salary exceptions, allowing convictions to remain reportable for candidates who expect to make over $20,000 ($25,000 in New York).

    What other location-specific laws should be considered?

    This article deals with common state-based reporting requirements for CRAs like Checkr, which helps explain why certain records may not appear on the background check report.

    Keep in mind, however, that states and municipalities also have specific laws regarding how end users and employers use and consider criminal records during an employment pre-screening process.  The laws include individualized assessment of offenses, “Ban the Box,” salary bans, permissible purposes for employment credit checks, disclosure and authorization, and waiting periods for adverse action notices.

    Checkr uses in-product compliance features to assist with many of these, but you should also consult with your legal counsel on the specifics of the localities where you hire candidates.

     

  • What's the role of fingerprinting or biometrics in background checks?

    Read More

    This article will help you:

    • Compare name-based background checks with biometric/fingerprinting approaches
    • Understand the limitations of each type of check

    The term “background check” can refer to either name-based checks (which are used by the majority of background check companies) and biometric or fingerprint checks (which are used primarily by law enforcement).

    Fingerprinting or biometricchecks such as "Live Scan" are required by law for certain industries, and it is also used in law enforcement, but the approach has drawbacks that many employers aren’t aware of.

    Name-based checks

    The majority of pre-employment background checks are conducted using a name-based approach.

    When background check companies conduct a name-based checks, they use a candidate’s personally identifiable information (PII) to search for criminal history and other information. PII includes not just the candidate’s name, but also information like:

    • Date of Birth (DOB)
    • Social Security Number (SSN)
    • Driver’s License Number

    The candidate’s PII allows the background check company to look broadly for information using national and local sources. If the check turns up records that match the candidate’s PII, that information will be used as a “pointer” to specific county, state or federal jurisdictions. The background check company then conducts a search, at the source, in these jurisdictions.

    As a result of this process, name-based searches can return information from national and local databases, as well as federal and county courts, in a matter of days.

    Fingerprinting and biometric checks

    Certain law enforcement groups, such as the Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI), use fingerprinting or other biometric data as a way to find suspects’ criminal histories. FBI database screenings are only available to employers who have legal authority. In other words, access is authorized by statute, and not all parties can be granted access.

    The FBI fingerprinting database, like many other criminal record databases, collects criminal record information from state and local law enforcement sources. Checks return an FBI Identification Record, which contains information tied to arrests, federal employment, naturalization, or military service -- in other words, times when an individual would have been fingerprinted.

    However, because the information in the database is meant for law enforcement and not for employers, it is often missing information such as the final disposition of a record.

    In other words, it may reveal an arrest record, but not show that the arrest later led to a dismissal. This type of information is missing in roughly 50% of cases, according to the U.S. Attorney General’s report (https://www.gao.gov/assets/670/668505.pdf page 19).

    According to the National Association of Professional Background Screeners (NAPBS), fingerprint-based background checks are a useful tool when conducting background screening, but they don’t provide a comprehensive history and should not be solely relied upon for obtaining complete and up-to-date information.

    Comparing name-based and fingerprinting approaches

    While both name-based and fingerprint-based approaches both have pros and cons, it is widely accepted among background check experts that name-based checks are the preferred method for conducting background checks for employment-related or tenant screening purposes. The primary exception is for industries or locations that require fingerprint searches by law -- and even then, they should be used to supplement, not replace, name-based searches.

    Consider the following when comparing fingerprinting to name-based checks.

    Comprehensiveness

    Although there is a commonly held belief that fingerprinting is the most comprehensive way to identify criminal records, the FBI database (like any individual source) does not always contain complete information. A fingerprint check only reflects information received by the FBI from states and municipalities. When you use the FBI database, you’ll find information collected when a suspect was arrested and fingerprinted, which doesn’t apply to 100% of the information in a background check.

    In 2015, the Government Accountability Office (GAO) found significant gaps in the FBI database as many state and local jurisdictions fail to report arrest records or dispositions to the FBI.

    Among the GAO’s recommendations:

    • To improve disposition reporting that would help states update and complete criminal history records, the Director of the FBI should task the FBI Advisory Policy Board to establish a plan with timeframes and milestones for achieving its Disposition Task Force's stated goals.
    • To better equip states to meet the regulatory requirement to notify individuals of their rights to challenge and update information in their criminal history records, and to ensure that audit findings are resolved, the Director of the FBI, in coordination with the Compact Council, should determine why states do not comply with the requirement to notify candidates and use this information to revise its state educational programs accordingly.   

    According to a report from the U.S. Attorney General, “The FBI’s system is not a complete national database of all criminal history records in the United States” and that it was not intended to be used for pre-employment background checks. Furthermore, “Users may not want to rely exclusively on an FBI and state repository checks and may also want to check other record sources, such as commercial databases and local courthouses, to obtain more complete and up-to-date information.”

    Accuracy

    Consumer Reporting Agencies (CRAs) like Checkr are required by federal law to conduct checks with “maximum possible accuracy.” This means that we must ensure that the records returned are as complete and up-to-date as possible.

    According to research by the Consumer Data Industry Association (CDIA), FBI database information can take as long as 24 days to report, and court disposition information can take over a month. This means that information in the FBI database may not be as up-to-date as information from a CRA.

    Additionally, when you evaluate criminal records, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission advises you to avoid disparate impact, where a seemingly neutral policy actually has an outsized effect on minority populations. Remember that many FBI arrest records don’t include final dispositions; in some jurisdictions with active police presence, relying on incomplete arrest data can potentially lead you to consider records that were dismissed, or that aren’t relevant to the job position. Making decisions based on incomplete information can unnecessarily disqualify candidates and create legal risk for your business.

    Unlike pre-employment background checks, FBI records are not affected by consumer protection laws like the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA). They often lack personally identifiable information (PII), such as full name and date of birth. If this PII is missing, it becomes difficult to ensure maximum possible accuracy of records, increasing the risk of litigation.

    Turnaround time

    For pre-employment background screenings, turnaround time is essential. As you support your candidates’ placement and onboarding schedules, you generally don’t want to wait any longer than possible for sources to return information.

    Another overlooked difference between name-based and fingerprint background checks is access to fingerprinting facilities. Because name-based background checks do not require the physical submission of biometric data, they introduce much less friction into the onboarding process. Individuals living in small towns and rural areas may find it difficult and time consuming to access a fingerprinting facility.

    The average name-based background check takes three to five days to complete, while FBI fingerprinting results typically take longer -- in some cases, even weeks.

    In summary, while fingerprinting may be used as a component of background checks in certain regulated industries, they should neither be used as the only source of information, nor regarded as a comprehensive source of records. Name-based checks return more comprehensive data than fingerprints, are completed faster, and ensure maximum possible accuracy of records.



  • Why do I need to be credentialed before I can request background checks?

    Read More
    Looking for more information

    Credentialing refers to a process where Checkr collects certain information from new customers before we can begin the background screening process for you.

    Why do we need to credential new customers?

    One of our obligations under the FCRA is to verify that you have a permissible purpose to run background checks. We must also make sure that you represent a legitimate business entity.

    We need to credential you to ensure compliance with the FCRA, applicable state and/or local laws, and other contractual or regulatory obligations. This helps to ensure that consumers’ privacy is protected.

    How does credentialing work?

    You’ll receive a form that collects a few key pieces of information about your business such as business type, trade or business name (your “DBA”), and a functioning website.

    Once this information is submitted, along with your signed Master Service Agreement (MSA), we review it to verify the legitimacy of your business entity and your permissible purpose.

    If any further information is required or clarity needed, a member from our team will reach out to you via email.

    How long does credentialing take?

    Credentialing takes approximately one to two business days. To optimize your credentialing turnaround time, please make sure you provide the key pieces of information listed above to our team as soon as possible.




  • Location-specific reasons for requesting pre-employment credit reports

    Read More

    This article will help you:

    • Decide whether to request a pre-employment credit report based on location
    • See which locations have requirements around permissible reasons for pre-employment credit requests

    In recent years, it has become less common to request credit checks as a standard pre-employment process. A candidage's credit history has little bearing on most job positions, especially those that don't directly involve financial transactions. Barring candidates for non-financial job positions based on credit history can result in an unnecessarily small candidate pool, as well as potential violations of disparate impact under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

    Many states and municipalities have created requirements for when a credit check can be performed for pre-employment purposes.

    To help you decide when to run credit checks, we've compiled a list of location-specific permissible reasons for requesting pre-employment credit reports. This is not an exhaustive list, but it does provide several examples of permissible reasons.

    Scroll to the bottom of this article to see it as a downloadable PDF.

     

    California

    Reason Description
    Managerial position A managerial position covered by the executive exemption set forth in subparagraph (1) of paragraph (A) of Section 1 of Wage Order 4 of the Industrial Welfare Commission
    Department of Justice A position in the state Department of Justice
    Law enforcement A sworn peace officer or other law enforcement
    Required by law A position for which the information contained in the report is required by law to be disclosed or obtained
    Financial transactions for the company A position which the person can enter into financial transactions on behalf of the company
    Confidential/proprietary information A position that involves access to confidential or proprietary information
    Access to $10k cash A position that involves regular access to $10,000 or more

     

    Colorado

    Reason Description
    Managerial position A position that constitutes executive or management personnel or professional staff to executive or management personal and the position involves setting the direction or control of the company, a division, or a unit
    Managerial position with fiduciary relationship A position that constitutes executive or management personnel or professional staff to executive or management personal and the position involves a fiduciary relationship to the company
    Managerial position with access to financial information A position that constitutes executive or management personnel or professional staff to executive or management personal and the position involves access to personal or financial information other than information customarily provided in a retail transaction
    Managerial position with authority to issue payments, collect debts, or enter contracts A position that constitutes executive or management personnel or professional staff to executive or management personal and the position involves the authority to issue payments, collect debts, or enter into contracts
    Federal contracts in defense or national security A position that involves contracts with defense, intelligence, national security, or space agencies of the federal government
    Financial institution/credit union A position that is with a bank or financial institution 
    Required by law  A position that is required to have a credit report by law

     

    Connecticut

    Reason Description
    Managerial position A position that is a managerial position which involves setting the direction or control of a business, division, unit or an agency of a business
    Confidential/financial information A position that involves access to customers', employees' or the employer's personal or financial information other than information customarily provided in a retail transaction
    Fiduciary responsibility A position that involves a fiduciary responsibility to the employer, including, but not limited to, the authority to issue payments, collect debts, transfer money or enter into contracts
    Expense account/corporate credit card A position that provides an expense account or corporate debit or credit card
    Confidential and proprietary information A position that provides access to (i) confidential or proprietary business information, or (ii) information, including a formula, pattern, compilation, program, device, method, technique, process or trade secret that: (I) Derives independent economic value, actual or potential, from not being generally known to, and not being readily ascertainable by proper means by, other persons who can obtain economic value from the disclosure or use of the information; and (II) is the subject of efforts that are reasonable under the circumstances to maintain its secrecy
    Access to over $2,005 in non-financial assets A position that involves access to the employer's nonfinancial assets valued at two thousand five dollars or more, including, but not limited to, museum and library collections and to prescription drugs and other pharmaceuticals 

     

    District of Columbia

    Reason Description
    DC law Where an employer is required by District of Columbia law to inquire into an employee's credit information
    Law enforcement A position as a police officer, as a special police office or campus police officer, or in a position with a law enforcement action
    Office of the Chief Financial Officer of DC Employees within the Office of the Chief Financial Officer of the District of Columbia
    Security clearance Where an employee is required to possess a security clearance under District of Columbia law
    DC government disclosures To disclosures by District of Columbia government employees of their credit information to the Board of Ethics and Government Accountability or the Office of the Inspector General, or to the use of such disclosures by agencies
    Confidential/financial information  To financial institutions, where the position involves access to personal financial information
    Court order/law enforcement investigation  Where an employer requests or receives credit information pursuant to lawful subpoena, court order or law enforcement investigation

     

    Hawaii

    Reason Description
    Bona fide qualification Credit information directly relates to a bona fide occupational qualification
    Permitted by law The employer is expressly permitted/required to inquire into credit history for employment purposes by law
    Financial institution/credit union The employer is a financial institution in which deposits are insured by a financial agency having jurisdiction over the financial institution
    Managerial position A managerial position, for which the employee formulates and effectuates management policies by expressing and making operative decisions of the employer
    Supervisory position with authority to make employment decisions A supervisory position, for which the employee has the authority to hire, transfer, suspend, lay off, recall, promote, discharge, assign, reward, or discipline other employees, or responsibility to direct them, or to adjust their grievances, or effectively to recommend such action, with independent discretion

     

    Illinois

    Reason Description
    Financial institution/credit union The Company is a bank holding company, bank, savings and loan association, credit union, or trust company
    Insurance/surety The Company is engaged in insurance or surety
    Law enforcement A position with municipal law enforcement or investigation
    Debt collection A position with a debt collector, as defined under state or federal law
    Bonding/security required by law A position that requires bonding or security under state or federal law
    Custody of assets $2,500 or more The duties of the position include custody of assets valued at $2,5000 or more
    Signatory power over $100 per transaction The duties of the position include signatory power over assets of $100 or more per transaction
    Managerial position The position is a managerial position involving setting direction or control of the business
    Confidential/financial/national security information The position involves access to sensitive information, financial information, trade secrets, or state or national security information
    Credit as bona fide qualification under law A position for which federal or state law indicates that credit history is a bona fide occupational qualification
    Required by law A position for which credit history is required under the law

     

    Maryland

    Reason Description
    Managerial position A position that is managerial and involves setting the direction or control of a business, or a department, division, unit, or agency of a business
    Personal information A position that involves access to personal information, as defined in Section 14_3501 of the Commercial Law Article, of a customer, employee, or employer, except for personal information customarily provided in a retail transaction
    Fiduciary responsibility A position that involves a fiduciary responsibility to the employer, including the authority to issue payments, collect debts, transfer money, or enter into contracts
    Expense account/corporate credit card A position that is provided an expense account or a corporate debit or credit card
    Confidential/financial information A position that has access to information, including a formula, pattern, compilation, program, device, method, technique, or process, that derives independent economic value, actual or potential, from not being generally known to, and not being readily ascertainable by proper means by, other persons who can obtain economic value from the disclosure or use of the information; and is the subject of efforts that are reasonable under the circumstances to maintain its secrecy; or other confidential business information

     

    Nevada

    Reason Description
    Permitted by law The Company is expressly required to inquire into credit history for employment purposes by law
    Candidate violated law The Company reasonably believes that the employee/prospective employee violated a state or federal law
    Bona fide qualification  The information contained in the credit report is "job related" to the position, meaning that the position involves responsibility for financial assets, access to confidential information, supervisory responsibility, responsibility for access to another person's financial information or employment with a licensed gaming establishment

     

    New York, NY

    Reason Description
    Authorized third-party or $10k A position with signatory authority over third party funds or assets valued at $10,000 or more
    Digital security systems A position with regular duties allowing an employee to modify digital security systems designed to prevent the unauthorized use of the employer's or client's networks or databases
    Trade secrets/national security A non-clerical position with regular access to trade secrets or national security/intelligence information
    Securities Exchange Act of 1934 The employer is required to use an individual's consumer credit history for employment purposes under state or federal law/regulations or by a self-regulatory organization (as defined by the Securities Exchange Act of 1934)
    Law enforcement A position as a police officer or peace officer
    Bonding A position requiring bonding under federal law
    Security clearance A position requiring security clearance under federal or any state law

     

    Oregon

    Reason Description
    Financial institution/credit union The Company is a bank or credit union that is federally insured
    Required by law The Company is required by state or federal law to use individual credit history for employment 
    Law enforcement You are seeking to work as a police officer for any: city, port, school district, mass-transit district, county, university, Indian reservation, the Superintendent of State Police, the Criminal Justice Division of the Department of Justice, the Oregon State Lottery Commission or the Governor or as a regulatory specialist for the Oregon Liquor Control Commission, and would be responsible for enforcing the criminal laws of this state or laws or ordinances related to airport security
    Confidential/financial information The position involved in this employment decision involves, as an essential function, access to financial information not customarily provided in a retail transaction such as an exchange of cash, checks, credit or debit cards (i.e. the processing of loans or extension of credit)
    Insurance or surety/fidelity bond The position involved in this employment decision requires the Company to obtain credit history as a condition of obtaining insurance or a surety or fidelity bond

     

    Philadelphia, PA

    Reason Description
    Bonding A position that requires bonding under City, state, or federal law
    Managerial position A supervisory or managerial position involving setting the direction or policies of a business or direction thereof
    Significant financial responsibility A position involving significant financial responsibility to the employer, including authority to make payments, transfer money, collect debts, or enter contracts, but not including handling retail transactions
    Confidential/financial information A position requiring access to financial information pertaining to customers, other employees, or employers, other than information provided in a retail setting
    Confidential or proprietary information A position requiring access to confidential or proprietary information that derives substantial value from secrecy

     

    Rhode Island

    Reason Description
    Disclosure to candidate The Company has provided advance notice to the candidate of the request for the credit report in connection to prospective employment

     

    Vermont

    Reason Description
    Required by law The information is required by state or federal law or regulation
    Confidential/financial information You seek to be/are employed in a position that involves access to "confidential financial information" (defined as sensitive financial information of commercial value that a customer or client of the employer gives explicit authorization for the employer to obtain)
    Financial institution/credit union The Company is a financial institution as defined in 8 V.S.A. Section 11101(32) or a credit union as defined in 8 V.S.A. Section 30101(5)
    Law enforcement You seek to be/are employed in a position as a law enforcement officer
    Fiduciary responsibility You seek to be/are employed in a position that requires a financial fiduciary responsibility to the Company or a Company' clients
    Company payroll You seek to be/are employed in a position that involves access to the Company's payroll information
    Reliable predictor of performance The Company can demonstrate that credit information is a valid and reliable predictor of employee performance in the your specific position of employment

     

    Washington

    Reason Description
    Required by law A position that is required by state or federal law to include individual credit history
    Confidential/financial information A position that involves access to financial information such as an exchange of cash, checks, credit or debit cards (i.e., the process of loans of extension of credit)
    Insurance or surety/fidelity bond A position that requires the company to obtain credit history as a condition of obtaining insurance or a surety or fidelity bond
    Financial institution/credit union A position with a financial institution
    Public safety A public safety position
    Fiduciary responsibility A position that requires a financial fiduciary responsibility to the Company or the Company's clients, including the authority to issues payments, collect debts, transfer money or enter into contracts

     

     

     

  • How do I know that candidates are who they say they are?

    Read More

    This article will help you:

    • Differentiate between SSN Traces (a common step in background checks) and ID verification
    • Decide which level of identity verification is necessary for your business

    High-volume, online onboarding differs from traditional hiring

    Companies who hire independent contractors at scale, like on-demand, marketplace, or online staffing businesses, must embrace high-volume hiring processes. These processes differ from traditional face-to-face hiring processes, where a candidate walks in for an interview, brings a resume, and often submits personal or professional references.

    In a traditional hiring model, identity verification is built into the process--someone on the employer side sees the candidate and has the opportunity to catch false information during the interview and reference checks. Furthermore, with full-time employees, you can verify their identities when they submit their information for an I-9 (employment eligibility verification) form.

    For businesses that hire independent contractors at scale, most of these steps don’t occur. While some businesses have in-person onboarding centers, many don’t, meaning that they will never actually see the candidate in person. Absent traditional verification procedures, these businesses rely on other mechanisms to ensure an individual's submitted information is valid.

    What personal information is checked during a background check?

    In most cases, the Consumer Reporting Agency (CRA) performing the background check also never sees the candidate in person. Employers generally pass on their candidates information to the CRA as a last step after most of the hiring process is completed. The CRA receives personally identifiable information (PII) like the candidate’s name, date of birth, and Social Security Number (SSN), to find previous addresses, aliases, DMV records, and possible criminal records.

    Because the candidate has provided a SSN, the CRA can run a trace to identify known names and addresses associated with that SSN. The SSN Trace also identifies which state the SSN was issued in, and approximately which year. The CRA can also detect whether the candidate is using a SSN that is known to be false based on the structure of the number itself.  

    Is a Social Security Number trace the same as ID Verification?

    A SSN trace is not the same thing as ID verification. The SSN trace is designed to check whether submitted information (like the candidate’s name and age) matches commercially available  database information associated with the particular SSN. The SSN Trace is not designed to determine whether the person entering that information is who they claim to be.

    If John Doe enters the legitimate information belonging to Steve Smith (e.g., both Steve’s name and SSN), the SSN Trace will not alert either the CRA or the employer that John Doe was actually the one entering the information.

    To alleviate this issue, some companies use additional Identity Verification (IDV) or Knowledge-Based Authentication (KBA) services as part of their onboarding process.

    IDV or “identity proofing” is used for purposes ranging from opening a bank account, to age verification, to onboarding for high-volume hiring companies. KBA provides an additional level of verification by asking candidates to answer certain questions that hopefully only they would know the answers to. These questions are often based on their credit history, such as what street they lived on or which bank they have a line of credit with. However, because these questions are often based on credit history, KBAs won’t work for every type of candidate, such as younger or first-time workers who lack a sufficient credit history.

    That said, no matter what technology you use, you’re still relying on technology to prove that a person is who they say they are, and technology can be susceptible both to fraud and to imperfect information -- for example, in the case that a person changed their name, got married, or simply made a typo when entering information, you may still end up in a situation where the information entered does not precisely match other available records.

    Although Checkr is not an ID Verification service, we flag areas where we find data discrepancies and reach out to the candidate for more accurate information.





  • Background check regulations in the global sphere

    Read More

    While background screening is a common practice in most countries, navigating each jurisdiction’s unique regulations can be challenging for companies with a global presence. This resource is intended to provide companies with a general overview of common regulatory principles as well as illustrative examples of specific legislation governing data privacy and background check processing.

    Legal disclaimer

    This information is provided for educational purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice. All companies are encouraged to seek your own counsel to ensure compliance with all applicable laws prior to requesting Checkr services.

    Data Privacy Legislation

    Background checks inherently involve the collection and processing of sensitive personal information. And while there are many laws affecting the proper usage of the information collected (such as industry specific employment and anti-discrimination laws that vary by country), data privacy laws tend to impart the most stringent requirements on on all parties involved in the collection and processing of that personal information.

    The primary example is the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), which is the overarching law governing companies processing personal data on individuals residing in the European Union (EU). Today, the GDPR offers the most comprehensive list of data rights granted to the individual, as well as broader data protection principles. Many companies choose to align their global data collection practices with GDPR as they scale their international hiring in the EU and beyond.

    GDPR Party Classifications

    The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) is the primary data privacy law in the European Union (EU). It came into effect on May 25th, 2018, replacing the EU’s Data Protection Directive. This legislation introduced new data privacy and security principles and regulations on companies handling personal data collected  on individuals residing or located in the EU.

    GDPR covers three classifications of persons and organizations: (1) data subjects, (2) data controllers, and (3) data processors. The law primarily protects the rights and freedoms of data subjects while placing regulations on organizations controlling and processing their personal data. Below is a description of each party classification and how the relationship between Checkr and the company requesting the background check fits into them.

    Category

    Explanation

    Data Subject: A natural person whose personal data is being processed and whose rights are being protected under the law.

    The candidate you are requesting us to run a background check on.

    Data Controller: Body who determines the purposes for processing and what types of personal data is being processed.

    Checkr customers are the Data Controllers because you determine the purpose of processing and the type of data that will be processed. Example: Customers pass PII to Checkr exclusively to run the background check--That restriction on use, specified in our agreement, is the “control” placed on Checkr.

    Data Processor: Body that processes the personal data only on behalf of the data controller.

    Checkr is your Data Processor, as we process the data at your request. Data processing includes collecting, recording, organizing, storing, etc. based on the instructions of the Data Controller.

    General Data Protection Principles

    Article 5 of the GDPR outlines a set of principles related to processing of personal data (which includes background check information). These principles are outlined broadly below. As the responsible party, Data Controllers may incorporate these principles beyond their EU regional compliance to scale their global privacy program.

    Lawfulness, Fairness and Transparency

    Prior to requesting international background checks from your Data Processor, you as the Data Controller must (1) establish a lawful basis for processing, and (2) ensure that the data processing is being conducted in a fair and transparent manner. When considering the lawful basis for processing outlined in Article 6, companies often rely on the consent of the data subject (see Article 6(1)(a)). Some Member States do not accept consent as a legitimate basis (see Country Specific Analysis section for examples), leading many companies to instead rely on the balance of interests assessment, which indicates that you, as the data controller, have a legitimate interest for processing that is not overridden by the interests or rights of the data subject (see Article 6(1)(f)). It is your responsibility to specify which lawful basis (or bases) your company relies upon.

    Under GDPR, lawfulness must also be met with fair and transparent processes, including respecting the rights allotted to data subjects and providing clear, plain, and intelligible information to them regarding the purpose and means of processing, such as through an updated Privacy Policy and notices to candidates prior to the background check request (see Article 5(1)(1)).

    Prior to requesting background checks with Checkr, customers must ensure they have a legal basis on which to process personal data. The GDPR provides a list of approved conditions on which processing may be deemed as lawful. They are:

    • Data subject has provided consent
    • Processing is necessary for contract fulfillment
    • Processing is necessary for a legal obligation
    • Processing is necessary to protect the interests of the data subject
    • Processing is for the public interest
    • Processing is necessary to support the legitimate interests of the data controller and those interests do not outweigh those of the data subject

    In addition to supporting and complying with the GDPR’s fairness and transparency principles for EU residents, Checkr follows those principles for all candidates, regardless of location. We provide insight into our data practices for both candidates and businesses in our Privacy Policy as well as background check notifications to candidates directly. Checkr also hosts aCandidate Portal, where individuals can access their background check results, make requests for data access, request rectification (also known as dispute), or provide additional context around their records. For more information, read Checkr’s Fairness commitment.

    Purpose limitation

    This principle relates to your specific purpose for requesting processing of the data. The GDPR states that personal data shall be, “collected for specified, explicit and legitimate purposes” and indicates that use of the data should be limited to that specific purpose (see Article 5(1)(b)). Determining this purpose is the control you are exercising as the Data Controller.

    When requesting background checks with Checkr, our customers certify that they have a specific and lawful purpose for the request, and that use of the data will be limited to fulfilling that request. This purpose determination is the primary control that our customers exercise as the Data Controllers.

    As your Data Processor, Checkr also ensures that the data collected on your behalf is not used for any of our own purposes (such as marketing resources) outside of fulfilling our contractual obligation with customers.

    Data minimisation

    The personal data that’s collected and processed must be limited to what’s adequate, relevant and necessary for the purpose you specified in your agreements with Checkr and the data subject (see Article 5(1)(c)). When determining which international screenings to request from Checkr, it is important to consider the nature, scope, and context of your purpose to ensure you are only requesting what is relevant and necessary to fulfilling that purpose. This relevancy and necessity criterion is prevalent in nearly every country’s data privacy law.

    Country-Specific Analysis

    While the general principles described above are applicable in most jurisdictions, individual countries often introduce additional requirements in the collection, processing and proper use of personal data. These country specific regulations may introduce additional risks for Data Controllers as the users of such information .

    Listed below are a few examples of legal parameters particular to individual countries. This list is non-exhaustive and is meant to highlight the need for companies to conduct their own country-specific analysis prior to requesting screenings from Checkr.

    The Netherlands and Spain

    Even within the EU, the GDPR does not provide for a uniform law to comply with as Member States are permitted to implement specifications, restrictions or additions that meet the needs of their respective countries. For example, in the Netherlands and Spain, consent is not considered to be ‘freely given’ in the employment context due to the imbalance of power between the candidate and the potential employer. Thus consent is not a reliable basis for processing and companies must ensure they are covered by an alternative basis when requesting screenings in these countries. (See Lawfulness, Fairness and Transparency section above.)

    Israel and Ireland

    In the international landscape, the most common background checks include education and employment verifications. Criminal screenings are less common and multiple countries restrict the permissibility of conducting such checks to limited circumstances. In Israel, access to criminal records from the national registry is strictly prohibited for private employers except in limited circumstances, such as where there are specific legal restrictions on hiring applicants with criminal convictions (e.g., positions at schools, daycares and hospitals). Similarly, Irish law specifies the specific situations under which criminal checks are permissible, including when the roles involve working with children or vulnerable persons, working for the State in sensitive areas, or working as security staff. As the Data Controller and ultimate user of this information, Companies must ensure they meet such local requirements and only request information permitted by law.

    Brazil and Mexico

    In both Brazil and Mexico, background screening has been strongly prevalent and contested in consumer litigation. A number of court filings have resulted from candidates being rejected based on background check information that was not directly related to the position they applied for. Court rulings have often been in favor of the candidate, deeming the background check process to have violated their right to privacy and/or right to work. Again, to mitigate risk of litigation, it is important to ensure you are only requesting information that is directly relevant to the position at hand and are able to demonstrate that relationship.

  • What are state salary exceptions?

    Read More

    This article will help you:

    • Determine why you may not see certain crimes reported for candidates in certain states
    • Create exceptions (if necessary) for candidates earning above a certain salary threshold

    Under the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA), criminal convictions are reportable on a background report, with no time restriction - reported convictions can go back to even 30 years.

    However, nine states have laws restricting the reportability of criminal convictions to seven years maximum.

    State_Reporting_Restrictions_on_Convictions.png

    Of those nine states, five decided to allow an exception to their normal rule of reporting criminal convictions (which is normally seven years max).

    This exception, called the salary exception, is only triggered when the employer states that the candidate has the potential to make a certain salary. When that exception is triggered, then the employer can see any criminal convictions beyond the seven years.

    What are the state salary exception thresholds?

    In each of the following states, convictions cannot be reported beyond seven years unless the candidate's potential salary is at least $20,000 (or $25,000 in New York).

    State_Salary_Exceptions_to_Reportability.png

    Candidate's Potential Salary Threshold Candidate's Potential Salary Threshold

    Kansas

    $20,000

    Maryland

    $20,000

    New Hampshire

    $20,000

    New York

    $25,000

    Washington

    $20,000

    A New York state candidate is applying for a job where the employer states that the candidate has the potential to make $30,000/year. The candidate has a criminal conviction and the latest available date is from 13 years ago. Will the conviction appear on the background report?

    Yes. In New York, there is a salary exception for candidates who can potentially make $25,000/year or more. Because the employer has certified that the candidate is applying for a job where they will make over $25,000/year and the candidate lives in New York, the salary exception is triggered. Now, the conviction will appear on the background report.
    A Kansas state candidate is applying for a job where the employer states that the candidate has the potential to make $22,000/year. The candidate has a criminal conviction from 8 years ago. Will the conviction appear on the background report?

    Yes. In Kansas, there is a salary exception for candidates who can potentially make $20,000/year or more. Because the employer has certified that the candidate is applying for a job where they will make over $20,000/year and the candidate lives in Kansas, the salary exception is triggered. Now, the conviction will appear on the background report.

    Can my company use the salary exception?

    Checkr’s platform allows employers to control whether they want to use the state salary exception. By default this feature is not turned on. Please contact Checkr Customer Support for more information on whether your company can get the salary exception feature enabled.

  • How does Checkr match candidates and criminal records?

    Read More

    As a Consumer Reporting Agency, Checkr must maintain processes to ensure maximum possible accuracy when reporting criminal records. Record matching is the process and standard we follow to avoid over-reporting or under-reporting of criminal records. In other words, we maintain processes to avoid (1) reporting an offense for a person other than the candidate, and (2) not reporting a reportable offense for the candidate.

    A few factors affect record matching for most consumer reporting agencies:

    • Social Security numbers are usually not available on public access to match records, so other information must be used -- generally, this is Personally Identifiable Information (PII).
    • Many name combinations are common (i.e. John Smith or Jose Garcia), so there's a likelihood that different individuals may have the same identifying information.
    • Variants of common names (suffixes, hyphens, nicknames, aliases, misspellings, etc.) may add complexity when trying to determine whether a candidate and criminal record match each other.

    In general, for a criminal record to be reported, there must be at least two pieces of matching PII. For common names, and other cases, that threshold may be higher. Checkr does additional manual and automated work to QA (quality assure) accuracy of reports and maximize the probability of correct record matching.

    That said, candidates always have the right to dispute the accuracy of their report if any potential discrepancies arise. 

    Also see How do I know that candidates are who they say they are?

     

  • What is a 613 notice?

    Read More

    A background check report for employment purposes may include public record information that is likely to have an adverse effect on a candidate’s ability to obtain employment.  Where there is public record information that is likely to have an adverse effect on the candidate’s employment, the consumer reporting agency (CRA) has two options under the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA).  The CRA, i.e. Checkr, must either: 

    1. Notify the consumer at the time the public record information is reported, that such public record information is being reported by the CRA (with the name and address of who the information is being reported to, i.e. the end-user a.k.a. employer).  This is what is often called a “613 notice.”

    or

    2. Maintain strict procedures to ensure that public record information is complete and up-to-date.

    When a CRA sends the 613 notice, or Option 1 above, it satisfies this section of the FCRA.

  • Legislation: Expungements and criminal justice reform

    Read More

    This page lists legislation related to expungements and criminal justice reform.

    As states expand the number and type of records eligible for expungement, employers should revisit their review procedures and evaluation criteria to ensure eligible records are not being considered. Taking adverse action on charges that are otherwise eligible for expungement may create inconsistency in your adjudication practices because not all individuals will know about or be able to afford expungement services. 

    Legal disclaimer

    This information is meant for educational purposes only. It should not be construed as legal advice and all businesses should consult their own legal counsel to ensure their specific compliance needs are met. Importantly, this is not an exhaustive list of all legislation. Most industries have their own specific hiring and compliance requirements. Our goal here is to provide updates about relevant legislation related to background screening that affects the majority of our customers.

     


     

    Date enacted Legislation

    6/10/21

    CT S.B.1019

    Summary: Provides requirements and instructions for courts to erase certain conviction records, including classified or unclassified misdemeanor offenses, class D or E felonies, or an unclassified felony offense carrying a term of imprisonment of not more than five years. Provides certain exceptions to these erasure requirements. Effective date: 7/1/21;  SB 1019 details

    6/07/21

    VT S.7: An act relating to expanding access to expungement

    Summary: Provides increased expungement opportunities for individuals, including those who committed a crime prior to the age of 25 and those who were convicted of motor vehicle violations and completed their sentence. Certain exceptions apply. Effective date: 07/01/21; S.7 details

    5/26/2021

    TN H.B.0910: Public Records

    Summary: Revises present law provisions that classify certain records as confidential to include records of persons arrested or charged but not convicted of an offense. HB 0910 details

    05/20/21

    CO HB21-1090: Criminal Marijuana Offenses

    Summary: Eliminates the marijuana possession offense for possession of 2 ounces of marijuana or less, raises the limit for illegal possession by an underage person from one ounce to 2 ounces of marijuana or less, requires the court to seal a conviction record for a marijuana possession offense if the person files documents with the court that the person has not been convicted of a criminal offense since and allows a person who was convicted of a class 3 felony marijuana cultivation offense to petition to have his or her conviction record sealed. HB21-1090 details

    5/10/21

    WA S.B. 5180: Vacating Certain Convictions

    Summary: Allows individuals who have been discharged under RCW 9.94A.637 to apply to the sentencing court for a vacation of their conviction record. Provides courts with instructions on how to determine if the individual is eligible for a record-clearing. Effective date: 7/25/2021; SB 5180 details

    4/20/21

    OK H.B.1799: Modifying qualifications for juvenile court record expungements

    Summary: Increases access to expungements for individuals with juvenile court records. Effective date: 11/01/21; HB 1799 details

    4/20/21

     

    AL S.B.117 An Act Relating to Expungement 

    Summary: Expands expungement eligibility for individuals meeting certain criteria. New eligible charges include misdemeanor criminal offenses, violations,traffic violations, and municipal ordinance violations. SB 117 details

    Application: Customers should review their evaluation criteria on lower level offenses. Taking adverse action on charges that are otherwise eligible for expungement may create inconsistency in your adjudication practices because not all individuals will know about or be able to afford expungement services. Customers using tools like Assess may want to adjust their settings accordingly.

    4/15/21

     

    IN S.B. 255: Expungement

    Summary: Expands expungement eligibility for individuals meeting certain criteria. New eligible charges include felony convictions older than 8 years. SB 255 details

    Application: Customers should review their evaluation criteria on older records. Taking adverse action on charges that are otherwise eligible for expungement may create inconsistency in your adjudication practices because not all individuals will know about or be able to afford expungement services. Customers using tools like Assess may want to adjust their settings accordingly.

    4/7/21

    VA S.B. 1339/HB 2113 Criminal records; sealing of records

    Summary: Establishes a process for the automatic sealing of police and court records for certain convictions, deferred dispositions, and acquittals and for offenses that have been nolle prossed or otherwise dismissed. The bill also allows a person to petition for the sealing of police and court records relating to certain convictions. SB 1339 details

    Application: Customers should review their evaluation criteria on non-convictions such as dismissed charges. Taking adverse action on charges that are otherwise eligible for expungement may create inconsistency in your adjudication practices because not all individuals will know about or be able to afford expungement services. Customers using tools like Assess may want to adjust their settings accordingly.

    4/7/21

    VA S.B. 1406/ HB 2312 Marijuana; legalization of simple possession

    Summary: Eliminates criminal penalties for simple possession of up to one ounce of marijuana by persons 21 years of age or older; modifies several other criminal penalties related to marijuana, and imposes limits on dissemination of criminal history record information related to certain marijuana offenses. SB 1406 details

    Application: Customers should review their evaluation criteria on mariuana possession records. Taking adverse action on charges that have since been decriminalized may create inconsistencies in your adjudication program. Customers using tools like Assess may want to adjust their settings accordingly.

    04/05/21 

    KY H.B. 497

    Summary: Requires the Department of Corrections to issue to released prisoners documentation of their criminal history, institutional history and a certificate of employability and to assist prisoners with resume-writing and more.  Bill H.B.497 details

    Application: Customers should review their individualized assessment procedures to ensure important documentation and context provided by the candidate is being considered during the review process. Taking adverse action consistently on candidates with records creates risk of noncompliance with mandated individualized assessment requirements. Customers using tools like Candidate Stories may want to review their adjudicators’ review practices.

    04/01/21

    AZ H.B. 2067 Criminal conviction; set aside applicability

    Summary: Except for certain charges (as specified in section N), allows a person convicted of a criminal offense, to apply to the court to set aside the guilty judgment upon fulfillment of the conditions of probation or sentence and discharge by the court. Also specifies conditions under which a person may be granted a Certificate of Second Chance. Bill HB 2067 details

    Application: Customers should review their evaluation criteria on non-conviction charges and conduct individualized assessment to consider a candidate’s successful completion of their sentence. Taking adverse action on charges that no longer have a guilty judgment may create inconsistencies in your adjudication program. Customers using tools like Assess may want to adjust their settings accordingly. Customers may want to consider using Candidate Stories for a streamlined individualized assessment process.

    03/31/21

    NY S854-A/ A.1248-A Marijuana Regulation and Taxation Act

    Summary: Authorizes the lawful use of marijuana for adults 21 and older; Mandates the automatic expungement of certain marijuana-related convictions. Bill S854-A/ A.1248-A details

    Application: Customers should review their evaluation criteria on mariuana possession records. Taking adverse action on charges that have since been decriminalized may create inconsistencies in your adjudication program. Customers using tools like Assess may want to adjust their settings accordingly.

    03/25/21

    ND H.B. 1336 

    Summary: Allows for the sealing a criminal record of a driving under the influence offense under certain conditions, e.g., they have not pled guilty to, or been found guilty of, a subsequent violation within seven years of the first violation. Bill HB 1336 details

    Application:  Customers should review their evaluation criteria for consideration of time since offense and number of subsequent charges. Taking adverse action on charges that are otherwise eligible for expungement may create inconsistency in your adjudication practices because not all individuals will know about or be able to afford expungement services. Customers using tools like Assess may want to adjust their settings accordingly.

    03/25/21

    ND H.B. 1196

    Summary: Amends the North Dakota Century Code to change the grounds for which an individual may petition to seal their criminal record.

    • The individual pled guilty to or was found guilty of a misdemeanor offense and the individual has not been convicted of a new crime for at least three years before filing the petition; OR 
    • The individual pled guilty to or was found guilty of a felony offense and the individual has not been convicted of a new crime for at least five years before filing the petition. 

    Bill HB 1196 details

    Application: Customers should review their evaluation criteria for consideration of time since offense and number of subsequent charges. Taking adverse action on charges that are otherwise eligible for expungement may create inconsistency in your adjudication practices because not all individuals will know about or be able to afford expungement services. Customers using tools like Assess may want to adjust their settings accordingly.

    02/22/21

    NJ A.21 Cannabis Regulatory Enforcement Assistance, and Marketplace Modernization Act

    Summary: Legalizes personal-use cannabis for certain adults, subject to State regulation; decriminalizes small amount marijuana and hashish possession; removes marijuana as Schedule I drug.* Bill A.21 details

    Application: Customers should review their evaluation criteria on mariuana possession records. Taking adverse action on charges that have since been decriminalized may create inconsistencies in your adjudication program. Customers using tools like Assess may want to adjust their settings accordingly.

    02/22/21

    NJ A.1897 

    Summary: Provides for certain criminal and civil justice reforms, particularly addressing legal consequences associated with certain marijuana and hashish offenses as well as raising awareness of available expungement relief. A.1897 details

    Application: Customers should review their evaluation criteria on mariuana possession records. Taking adverse action on charges that have since been decriminalized may create inconsistencies in your adjudication program. Customers using tools like Assess may want to adjust their settings accordingly.

  • Legislation: Employment and Background Checks

    Read More

    This page lists legislation related to employment and background checks.

    Legal disclaimer

    This information is meant for educational purposes only. It should not be construed as legal advice and all businesses should consult their own legal counsel to ensure their specific compliance needs are met. Importantly, this is not an exhaustive list of all legislation. Most industries have their own specific hiring and compliance requirements. Our goal here is to provide updates about relevant legislation related to background screening that affects the majority of our customers.


     

    Enacted

    Effective

    Legislation

    12/11/21

    01/01/23

    NYC Admin. Code section 20-870, et seq.

    Summary: The law prohibits employers’ use of automated employment decision tools (and broadly defines what constitutes automated employment decision tools).  Employers may only use such tools if they have received a “bias audit” no more than one year prior to its use, the results of which must be made publicly available. The City, and not private litigants, will enforce the law.  

    Application: There are likely to be significant legal challenges to this law based on overbreadth and vagueness, which may impact the enforceability of the statute and any compliance guidance.

    12/06/21; 05/22/19

    01/01/22

    MI Date of Birth Redaction - Rule 1.109 (and ADM File No. 2017-28)

    Summary:  Michigan county courts no longer provide date of birth information for the purpose of background checks unless the researcher is on an authorized user list. 

    Application:  In order to ensure minimal disruption in our background check service, all of Checkr’s researchers are now on the authorized list. For more information on how date of birth redactions are affecting the background check process, check out this blog post.

    09/16/21

    09/16/21

    California AB 506

    Summary:  California’s AB 506 expanded coverage of Penal Code section 11105.3’s requirement for certain individuals who work with children to undergo a background check and be fingerprinted.  The requirement now includes administrators, employees, and/or regular volunteers of youth service organizations, among other changes. 

    Application:  This law may affect your internal processes for volunteer (or other) screening.  Checkr does not support fingerprinting but may still supplement your background check process by filling in the gaps in FBI records.

    01/01/18

     

     

    10/20/21 (enforcement efforts announced)

    LA Fair Chance Act

    Summary: On October 20, 2021 the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing (DFEH), the enforcement agency for California's civil rights laws, announced plans to conduct online audits to identify job postings and advertisements that violate the Fair Chance Act (FCA)

    Link to press release

    Application: Impacted customers should review their job ads, postings, and application language to ensure they're in compliance with the FCA guidelines. This includes ensuring that an initial application has no check boxes for criminal history and that there is also no statement or suggestion that those with criminal records are automatically disqualified from consideration--among other requirements. Please refer to the toolkit release by the DFEH for additional resources.

    07/06/21
     
    07/06/21

    ME L.D.1167 (H.P. 845)  An Act Relating to Fair Chance in Employment

    Summary: Prohibits employers from requiring or requesting criminal history of prospective employees until the conditional offer has been made. LD 1167 details 

    Application: Impacted customers should review the timing of their background check requests. Those using Checkr’s hosted flow to collect candidate information should ensure that invitations are only sent after a conditional offer is made.

    7/1/21 7/1/21

    HI H.B.264: Relating to Transportation Network Companies

    Summary: Extends to 9/1/2023 the motor vehicle insurance requirements for transportation network companies and transportation network company drivers established pursuant to Act 236. HB264 details

    Application: Customers operating in the TNC industry should review the requirements and permitting procedures to maintain insurance.

    6/16/21

     

    LA H.B.707: Relative to employment discrimination

    Summary: Prohibits an employer from considering or requesting an arrest record or charge that did not result in a conviction. Before considering other types of criminal record information, employers are required to conduct individualized assessments and perform nature-time-nature tests to evaluate if the record has a direct and adverse relationship with the specific duties of the job. HB 707 details

    Application:  Impacted customers should evaluate their settings in tools like Assess as they apply to LA candidates to ensure they are not considering records that didn’t result in conviction. Customers should also review their individualized assessment procedures to ensure important documentation and context provided by the candidate is being considered during the review process.

    03/23/21

     03/23/21

    IL S.B. 1480 

    Summary: Makes it a state civil rights violation for IL employers to discriminate against individuals based upon their conviction record unless (1) there is a “substantial relationship” between the offense at issue and the individual’s employment or (2) the individual’s employment involves an unreasonable risk to property or the safety of specific individuals or the general public. If either of these criteria are met, then an employer may consider an individual’s conviction record in making an employment decision. SB 1480 details

    Application: Customers should revisit their background check review procedures and update their adverse action notices. Those using Checkr’s adverse action tools should evaluate their Individualized Assessment functionality and request to have their hosted notices updated as needed.

    01/10/21

    07/29/21

    NYC Fair Chance Act (FCA) Amendments

    Summary: The city's amendments to the FCA expand the law's protections in numerous ways, most notably in its application to pending arrests and criminal accusations and criminal convictions during employment. The amendments also modify the required Fair Chance Process, including by introducing additional factors to consider when making the employment decision. This expansion applies to independent contractors and freelancers as well.  Int 1314 details

    Application: Customers should evaluate their settings in tools like Assess as they apply to NYC candidates. Those using Checkr’s adverse action tools should evaluate their individualized assessment functionality and request to have their notice content updated as needed.

    11/10/20

    02/19/21

    35-20 Montgomery County Amendments to County Code "Ban the Box"

    Summary: Prohibits employers with 15 or more full-time employees from requiring self disclosure of criminal records until after a conditional offer is made. Bill 35-20 details

    Application: Customers should review the timing of their background check requests. Those using Checkr’s hosted flow to collect candidate information should ensure that invitations are only sent after a conditional offer is made.

    09/15/20

    09/15/20

    HI S.B. 2193

    Summary: Limits the convictions that may be used in employment decisions, from all convictions in the most recent ten years, to felony convictions that occurred in the most recent seven years and misdemeanor convictions that occurred in the most recent five years.SB 2193 details

    Application: Customers should review their evaluation criteria and review procedures to ensure they are not considering convictions beyond the allowed year marks for felonies and misdemeanors. Customers using tools like Assess may want to adjust their settings accordingly.

    07/01/20

    07/01/20

    Waterloo Amendments to Code of Ordinances "Ban the Box"

    Summary: Prohibits private employers with at least 15 employees from inquiring into a candidate’s criminal history until after it has issued a conditional offer of employment. Also prohibits employers from making any employment decisions based on arrests or pending charges or convictions that have been erased, expunged, pardoned or nullified. Permits employers to rescind conditional offers of employment only if it can demonstrate a legitimate business reason to do so. Chapter 3 of the Waterloo Code of Ordinances details

    Application: Customers should review the timing of their background check requests. Customers should also review their evaluation criteria on non-convictions such as pending charges. Customers using Assess may want to adjust their settings accordingly. 

    01/01/20

    01/01/21

    St. Louis Ordinance 71074 “Ban the box” 

    Summary: Prohibits employers in the City of St. Louis from basing job hiring or promotion decisions on candidates’ criminal history, and inquiring about candidates’ criminal history until after it has determined a candidate is otherwise qualified for the position. Applies to employers in the City of St. Louis with ten or more employees. Ordinance 71074 details; Guidance 
    Application: Customers should review the timing of their background check requests.

    09/01/19

    09/01/21

    CO C.R.S. § 8-2-130 “Chance to Compete Act” 

    Summary: Colorado is expanding its ban-the-box measures to all private employers beginning September 1, 2021. CO already enforces its ban-the-box measure against private employers with 11 or more employees. With this expansion, employers have new restrictions on job advertisements that discourage individuals with criminal records from applying, and are further restricted from asking about criminal history in initial job applications. C.R.S. § 8-2-130 details

    Application: Employment-use customers should review their job advertisement and application material for CO candidates.Those using Checkr’s hosted flow to collect candidate information should ensure invitations are sent at the appropriate time in the hiring process and request to have their content updated as needed.