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Conduct Background Checks? Start Using Revised FCRA Form

by on
in HR Soapbox

If your organization uses a third-party company to run checks on applicants’ (or employees’) criminal records and credit histories, take note: Starting Jan. 1, 2013, you need to use a revised government form to notify employees about the results of these checks.

Here’s the deal: Organizations that conduct background checks must comply with the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA). The law requires employers to take certain steps before they receive a consumer report, and before and after they take any “adverse action” based on that report.

One important requirement: You must give people a copy of a government form (Summary of Rights under the Fair Credit Reporting Act) prior to taking action—such as rejecting a job application—based on information in the credit report or criminal check.

A revised version of that form has been issued and employers should have begun using it Jan. 1. The revisions include instructing employees to contact a new federal agency, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), and visit its web site to learn more about their FCRA rights. The revision doesn’t impose any new substantive requirements on your organization.

To access the new version of the form, go to: https://www.federalregister.gov/articles/2012/11/14/2012-27581/fair-credit-reporting-regulation-v-correction#h-13  

The company that provided the background check should also be able to provide such forms, but it’s best to make sure for yourself.

The CFPB has revised two other forms:

  • Notice to Furnishers of Information: Obligations of Furnishers Under the FCRA   
  • Notice to Users of Consumer Reports: Obligations of Users Under the FCRA  

These forms are also available at: https://www.federalregister.gov/articles/2012/11/14/2012-27581/fair-credit-reporting-regulation-v-correction#h-14.

Find more advice on how to legally use credit reports in back­ground checks, plus download a copy of the new form, at www.theHRSpecialist.com/FCRAsummary.


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