Full Disclosure: Getting to Know Massachusetts Background Report Compliance Notices

Background checks from a background screening company start after a few basic steps. Consent forms must be signed, and disclosures presented. Once complete, we can get to work on a background report – and your candidates get to work for you. It’s not just federal compliance that drives disclosure and authorization forms. Some states have unique disclosures too. In addition to states like California, Massachusetts has disclosures for select background reports. Let’s get to know what those are.

Finding out if you need a Massachusetts disclosure

A Massachusetts-specific disclosure is not required for every background report. The requirements apply to investigative consumer reports on job candidates and employees.

You may want to check your definitions to apply this disclosure. Massachusetts law defines an investigative consumer report to help you know when it’s needed. Generally, it’s how you’re looking for information on the candidate or employee. If it comes from “personal interviews with neighbors, friends, or associates,” it could be an investigative consumer report.

If a candidate or employee lives and works in Massachusetts, it may be time to present them with this disclosure. What should that disclosure include? Let’s see what the state law indicates.

Pre-background check disclosure requirements

Maybe you’re nodding along already. Who you’re hiring and what information you’re checking is ticking these requirements. To create your disclosure, you need to know what to include. Here are some requirements to address before ordering a background report. Job candidates and employees need to hear specific language (in writing!) from you, including:

  • Clearly and accurately disclose that “an investigative consumer report commonly includes information as to [their] character, general reputation, personal characteristics, and mode of living.”
  • Provide the “precise nature and scope of the investigation requested.”
  • Inform them of their “right to have a copy of the report upon request.”
  • Obtain written permission from them to obtain the investigative consumer report.

Still not sure where to start? We offer sample compliance documents to our clients to help. Verified Credentials clients can access a sample Massachusetts disclosure to review when creating your own. Simply log into your Verified Credentials Employee account and go to the Resource Library. Take a look at the “Massachusetts Investigative Consumer Report Disclosure.” Download the sample to get started.

Getting started with state-specific background check disclosures

A state-specific disclosure for Massachusetts may apply to you if:

  • You have job candidates or employees that live or work in Massachusetts
  • AND you order background check information obtained via personal interviews (e.g. reference checks and some employment history verifications)

You may want to review your disclosure documents to size up compliance with Massachusetts law. Sitting down with your legal counsel is the best way to double-check that your background screening practices are compliant.

Once you have your disclosure language tied up with your legal counsel, talk to us. We can help you get this in front of job candidates. It’s easy to update language in your candidate portal for background checks (Candidate Verification Center). The online delivery puts your disclosure up on your job candidate’s screen for easy compliance.

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