Handling a negative result found during a background check can be a sensitive and challenging task for employers. It’s important to approach this situation carefully and in compliance with legal requirements. Here are a few things to keep in mind as you respond to a disappointing result found during a background check:

First, it’s important to verify the information. Before taking any action, it’s essential to verify the report and confirm that the negative result is accurate. You are required by law to give the candidate a copy of any negative report. Hold off from taking any action — including taking the applicant out of consideration for a new job — until they have had a chance to respond. You should allow them at least a few business days. You may need to speak with your background check provider or the relevant authorities to confirm the information, and to understand the context and circumstances surrounding the discrepancy or negative result. Errors in court records can and do happen! Identity confusion is common as well — most criminal records are indexed only by name and date of birth, with the social security number used to confirm the person’s full name and location at that time. For very common names, the possibility of errors becomes greater.

Second, it’s important to comply with legal requirements. There are many laws and regulations regarding background checks, and it’s particularly important to follow them in this situation. For example, the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) requires employers to provide the candidate or employee with a copy of the background check report and a notice of their rights before taking any adverse action based on the report. If the criminal report was created by a background check company, you must give them the company’s name and phone number. Your state or local municipality may have additional rules. Sadly, we live in a litigious society; a job candidate who feels their rights have been abridged can easily find a free lawyer to file a lawsuit. Following the rules and treating people with respect is a smart thing to do.

It’s worth mentioning here that only a background report from a consumer reporting agency such as SentryLink is legal to use for employment purposes. If you picked some random site off the internet — don’t use that report!

A reputable background check provider can help you work through these issues. At SentryLink we will reinvestigate any disputed criminal records free of charge, and communicate with you and the employee regarding the results. We also provide resources with the necessary legal documents and information to get you started on your background check program. Hire with confidence.

Add a comment