A recent Bloomberg article is warning workers to prepare for rolling background checks at their company. This is the practice of conducting background checks at regular intervals after the initial employment screening process.
This process is fueled by a concern that something might have been missed when screening the individual the first time around. Understandably, companies want to know who is working for them and if anything major has changed. Employment lawyers and background screening companies are noticing the uptick in rolling background checks and the interest from companies looking for help with regular background checks.
“Me Too?” Employers Worry About Backlash, Legal Action
It’s possible that the #MeToo movement plays a role, as business owners worry that they may have hired people who could pose a risk in the workplace. Rolling background checks could be part of the solution to these concerns, verifying that those who have been hired still display the level of integrity and character they appeared to when they were hired.
Rolling background checks can determine if someone was convicted of a crime in the interim, became delinquent on bills, filed for bankruptcy, or any other incident or life event that could impact their eligibility for their job.
However, just like initial background checks and employment screening, rolling checks must also be done in full compliance with the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA). The FCRA refers to a federal statute requiring written consent from the employee before an employer conducts certain kinds of background checks. Disclosure requirements and other specific notices may also be required; it is advisable to check with legal counsel to verify what is required.
Specific written consent is essential to rolling background checks. FCRA Background checks should be:
- In writing
- In a stand-alone format (not part of another document such as an employment application)
- Applicant or employee must be told that the information provided will be used in a background check
- Applicant or employee must give their written permission.
For employers to have the authorization to allow the conducting of these background check services throughout the employee’s tenure at the workplace, the stated intent to conduct the rolling background check must be clear. The notice as well as the consent form must outline permission conspicuously, otherwise a new notice must be provided each time.
Adequate Communications and Permissions Are Key
Alternatively, if an employer decides to implement rolling background checks from the outset, a one-time blanket disclosure may be used in some cases. Again, the disclosure must be “clear and conspicuous,” outlining the employer’s intent to perform a background check at regular intervals in addition to at the outset of employment. It should be clear to the worker that the disclosure statement and consent form will remain in effect all through the duration of the employee’s tenure with the company.
Pre-employment background checks as well as rolling background checks are key to ensuring the best employees are selected and retained. Enlisting a professional background screening service takes the guesswork out of the process and ensures the checks are conducted in compliance with current laws.