Was White House Chief of Staff John Kelly aware of the findings uncovered during a routine background screening conducted by the FBI on staff secretary Rob Porter?
That’s the question buzzing in the media. Porter left his job amid allegations of domestic abuse filed by his two ex-wives. The FBI claims a completed report documenting Porter’s questionable past was released. Kelly denies this was the case.
At worst Kelly was involved in a coverup. At best, but still worrisome, there is a potential disconnect in the White House when it comes to vetting employees.
With this news story top of mind, many organizations may be questioning their own background screening process:
Do we have an effective, compliant background screening process in place?
If so, what happens when a routine check reveals that a candidate has a record?
“It’s not necessarily a deal breaker,” says Lisa Salcido, Director of Balance Point’s Human Resources Consulting Service, BPHR. “You should review the EEOC published guidance on background checks, factor in the nature and severity of the offense, along with the time that has passed and the nature of the position they are seeking.”
When deciding whether or not to disqualify a candidate, you must stay compliant with state and federal screening laws while providing a safe environment for your employees. “This isn’t an easy position to be in,” adds Lisa. “Clients look to us to help them stay up-to-date with the state and federal regulations, to help analyze the results of the report—which can sometimes be confusing, and to establish a standard policy so that they can make consistent and fair decisions.”
Lisa went on to share the steps to take when considering an adverse action based on the results of a background screening.
BEFORE Taking an Adverse Action
Prior to rejecting an applicant or taking any other adverse employment action, you must give the applicant:
- A notice that includes a copy of the report you relied on to make your decision
- A copy of “A Summary of Your Rights Under the Fair Credit Reporting Act,” which the company that gave you the report should provide
Doing this gives them the opportunity to review the report and tell you if it is correct.
AFTER Taking an Adverse Action
If you take an adverse action based on information in a consumer report, you must notify the applicant. An adverse action notice tells people that adverse action was taken against them because of information in their report and alerts them about their rights to see information being reported about them and to correct inaccurate information. The notice must include:
- The name, address, and phone number of the company that supplied the report
- A statement that the company that supplied the report did not make the decision to take the unfavorable action and can’t discuss it
- A notice of the person’s right to dispute the accuracy or completeness of any information the reporting company furnished, and to get an additional free report from the company if the person asks for it within 60 days
Background screenings are essential to hiring moral and trustworthy employees. Taking appropriate action when issues arise ensures a safe and compliant workplace. If your organization could benefit from more guidance on this matter, click here to check out what BPHR has to offer.