Learnings from the State of Screening Compliance

Sara Korolevich
February 07, 2024
6 min read

Checkr’s inaugural State of Screening Compliance report reveals a lack of confidence by employers in understanding complex screening laws, widespread uncertainty around background check compliance requirements, as well as inconsistent policies that may expose employers to litigation.

What lessons can those of you involved in employment background screenings learn from this report?

If you’re like the majority of our survey respondents who lacked confidence that their background check policy was compliant, you’ll want to look at your organization’s approach to background checks and consider, in consultation with your legal counsel, how you can incorporate insights from this report into your screening program. (Survey respondents were not Checkr customers.)

To help get you started, we’re sharing six key takeaways to consider as a foundation for a compliant screening program. When you’re ready to dig deeper, read our guide, The Employer’s Guide to Navigating Background Check Compliance.

6 takeaways to support screening compliance at your organization

1. A comprehensive background check policy is critical.

Putting your background check policy in writing is key to supporting compliance. Providing rules for conducting background checks, creating an adjudication matrix, and outlining how and when to conduct individualized assessments using the EEOC’s “nature-time-nature” test helps ensure screenings are carried out in a consistent and unbiased manner. Stay on top of legislation and update your policy to take new laws into account.

2. Employers can identify a task force to monitor screening regulations

Staying on top of new background check laws, particularly in jurisdictions where you hire, allows your organization to be proactive rather than reactive. These include Ban the Box, Clean Slate and automated expungement laws, credit, salary and wage history laws, and drug testing laws, but may also include updates to the FCRA, guidance on use of AI, and more. Depending on the size of your organization, the task force can be one person, or a small group of individuals.

3. FCRA compliance is essential, and manageable.

Compliance with the FCRA is foundational for mitigating risk. A thoughtful and comprehensive background check policy can simplify matters by providing required documents and detailing processes your organization might follow, such as giving candidates notice and obtaining consent prior to a background check, conducting an individualized assessment, and following the adverse action process. Find out how Checkr technology supports compliance with the FCRA.

4. Support fairness in hiring no matter where you hire.

Our report shows that an increasing number of states and jurisdictions across the US are implementing laws to support fairness in hiring, including support for justice-impacted individuals through Clean Slate and Ban the Box laws, salary transparency, and cannabis testing laws. However, you don’t need to wait for a law to be passed to start practicing fair hiring. Being thoughtful about what matters to your business and which records are relevant to your industry and positions will benefit your organization, your workforce, and your community.

5. Consider forming a panel that conducts individualized assessments.

Your background check policy should outline what types of records get escalated for further review. One way to support consistency, decrease the potential for bias, and improve fair hiring best practices is to form a cross-functional group of team members that conduct individualized assessments instead of having one decision maker handle the process. This can help ensure adjudication happens fairly for all records that need further review.

6. Regular compliance training is important.

For anyone involved in the background check process, ongoing compliance training helps ensure that no matter which team “owns” the process, screenings are performed correctly.

Turn to a trusted provider for compliance support

Partnering with a forward-thinking, compliance-minded background check partner like Checkr can help your organization get started with background check compliance. Or, if you’re already familiar with the basics, help you take your compliance know-how to the next level as you scale your hiring and screening needs. 

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The resources and information provided here are for educational and informational purposes only and do not constitute legal advice. Always consult your own counsel for up-to-date legal advice and guidance related to your practices, needs, and compliance with applicable laws.

About the author

Sara Korolevich serves as checkr.com’s editor and content manager. In this role, she produces educational resources for employers on a broad range of screening topics, including background check compliance and best practices. She also writes about Checkr’s company and product news to keep customers updated and informed.

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