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Heroes Act: Where the Pandemic and Background Checks Could Intersect

The coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic has a far-reaching impact on us all. We’ve had to monitor access to courthouse records during state closures, certainly. Verified Credentials also helps employers navigate new hiring challenges. But in many ways, background reports have not had to tangle with the pandemic.  That may be changing soon.  With pending legislation in response to the national emergency, COVID-19 could impact your background reports.

On September 29, 2020, Congress introduced the “Heroes Act” (HR 8406) as a potential COVID-19 relief measure.

Potential Changes to the FCRA

The Heroes Act includes proposed amendments to the Fair Credit Reporting Act (“FCRA”).  If passed, the Heroes Act could place new limits on the ability to include some adverse information in background reports.

Except for felony criminal convictions, The Heroes Act would amend the FCRA to:

  • Prohibit furnishers of information from furnishing certain adverse information if the adverse information was the result of any action or inaction that occurred during COVID-19 (or future declared major disasters); and
  • Prohibit background reports from containing certain adverse information if the adverse information was the result of any action or inaction that occurred during COVID-19 (or future declared major disasters)

To read the full text of the Heroes Act, click here. The proposed FCRA amendments are listed in Section 401.

What Could Change in Background Reports?

If passed, the Heroes Act could have an impact on what appears in your background reports.  The amendments could prevent certain adverse information from showing up in your background reports, including:

  • Criminal information
  • Professional license sanctions
  • Other adverse information restricted by the Heroes Act

The Heroes Act – and its effect on your background reports – is a developing topic. The Heroes Act has not become law and is still in the early stages of the legislative process.  Verified Credentials will continue to monitor this proposed legislation.

Want to prepare for potential FCRA changes? You may want to consult with your legal counsel early to understand how the proposed Heroes Act may impact you.

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