Why is a Background Check Authorization Form Necessary?
State and federal laws, including the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA), require employers to have written consent from a candidate before they can conduct a background check on them.
Once a background check has been completed, candidates may request a copy of the report as well as the details of the company that conducted the check. They are also entitled to dispute the results of their background check and request that a correction be made if applicable.
What to Include in Your Background Check Authorization Form:
- Include FCRA-required language that details what background information will be obtained and inform applicants that this information is for employment purposes only.
- Businesses with workers and/or operations in California, Minnesota, and Oklahoma must include a checkbox for candidates to indicate if they would like a copy of their report.
- Include a summary of the candidate's rights under the FCRA.
- Include space for the candidate to fill in their full name, date of birth, Social Security number, driver's license number and issuing state, and their physical address(es) for the last seven years.
- Ensure that your consent form is clear and concise and that it is a stand-alone document isolated from all other documents in the application.
- In addition to the authorization form, you must include a disclosure form stating that candidates can request a copy of the report, dispute the results, or request the reason for dismissal.
Certain states have instituted Ban the Box legislation, which centers on the section in a consent form that requires candidates to disclose their criminal backgrounds. Ban the Box restricts employers from requesting this information until later in the interview process or until after a conditional offer of employment has been made.
Several states have additional statutes outside the FCRA that should be included in your background check authorization form. To ensure compliance with state and federal legislation, you should remain abreast of local laws and regularly review your authorization form.