As an employer that conducts background checks, you’re probably familiar with the federal Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) and know that there are certain obligations you may have under it (as well as under its state and local counterparts).
You’re probably well aware that, when ordering an FCRA regulated background report (called a “consumer report” under the FCRA) for employment purposes, the FCRA indicates that you, the employer, need to provide your applicants and employees with certain notices and forms at specific times. For example, before you take adverse action (refusing to hire, terminating, etc.) against an applicant or employee due to information in a consumer report, the FCRA says you should provide them with:
- A copy of their report; and
- A written description of their rights under the FCRA
Trying to create this written description of rights may sound like an impossible task for anyone except an FCRA-attorney. Fortunately, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), a federal consumer protection agency tasked with enforcing the FCRA, has done the heavy lifting for you and created a model description for employer use, titled “A Summary of Your Rights Under the Fair Credit Reporting Act.” Providing an applicant or employee with the model description at appropriate times can help ensure that you are taking steps to comply with the FCRA.
Did you know, though, that the “Summary of Rights” was recently changed? In 2018, the FCRA was amended to include, among other things, provisions regarding the placement of national security-freezes on consumer reports. The amendment, effective as of September 21, 2018, requires that applicants and employees receive a notice regarding security freezes at any time they receive a “Summary of Rights.” In response to the amendment, the CFPB released an updated Summary of Rights for employers to use. Find the newest version on the CFPB’s website or by clicking here.
So, you may want to make sure that your Summary of Rights document is up-to-date and contains the latest required information.
Navigating the obligations that you have as an employer can be extremely difficult, not to mention trying to keep track of any changes in the law! In this post, Verified Credentials, as a trusted background screening provider, is trying to help you keep track of some changes in the legal landscape surrounding consumer reports. Of course, however, nothing should substitute talking with your legal counsel about your obligations under federal and state background screening laws to ensure you remain in compliance.