COMMON QUESTIONS

 


& ANSWERS

Today with the ever increasing pressure of starting, growing, and maintaining a healthy business; one area needing particularly close attention is making the right hiring decisions based upon accurate information from a background screening provider you can trust. 

Negligent hiring and negligent retention lawsuits are becoming more common and courts are becoming less sympathetic to companies that should have known the background of the employees they do hire and keep. 

Today employers lose more than 79% of negligent hiring and/or negligent retention cases, and the average settlement is more than $1,000,000; that’s settlement not jury verdict, which are much higher!  

To answer the question of why you should worry with background screening applicants and employees, the answer is simple; You can’t afford not too! 

Whether you are hiring a new employees or staffing volunteers, the benefits of preforming quality background checks far out weigh the possible consequences.  Running background checks and consistent yearly rechecks will allow you to confidently assure your customers, employees, and the public that your organization cares about keeping people safe and providing a consistent experience time and time again.

To have that level of confidence, its more important than ever to choose the right screening partner for your organization, a screening partner like EDIFY Background Screening! 

If there is one piece of advise we can share with any organization thinking about running background checks it’s this; “Beware of Ultra-CHEAP background checks!!! ”

WE see these advertised most often on TV & through Google ads titled, “Cheap Background Checks or Check Anybody, Anywhere, Anytime“.  While attractive for price (usually less than $10) and often advertised as “Instant”, these checks are a lawsuits waiting to happen from an employment perspective because they are illegal for employment, volunteer, or business purposes.  The reason is because the companies offering them are not CRA’s (Consumer Reporting Agencies) that must adhere to the FCRA; they are entertainment companies without a lawful purpose to provide employment screening records.  If you read the fine print on these sites you’ll see the cold hard truth… that you are wasting your money… & potentially setting your organization up for a costly lawsuit. 

(i.e. from a large TV & Google advertised firm’s Terms of Service page- Aug2015:  XYZ Company DOES NOT PROVIDE PRIVATE INVESTIGATOR SERVICES, AND IS NOT A CONSUMER REPORTING AGENCY AS DEFINED BY THE FAIR CREDIT REPORTING ACT (“FCRA”) BECAUSE THE INFORMATION PROVIDED BY ________________IS NOT COLLECTED OR PROVIDED, IN WHOLE OR IN PART, FOR THE PURPOSE OF SERVING AS A FACTOR IN ESTABLISHING A PERSON’S ELIGIBILITY FOR (a) CREDIT OR INSURANCE TO BE USED PRIMARILY FOR PERSONAL, FAMILY, OR HOUSEHOLD PURPOSES; (b) EMPLOYMENT PURPOSES; OR (c) IN CONNECTION WITH A BUSINESS TRANSACTION INITIATED BY AN INDIVIDUAL CONSUMER FOR PERSONAL, FAMILY, OR HOUSEHOLD PURPOSES.)”

You shouldn’t have to worry about searching through the fine print buried in a terms of use page to figure out if your provider is a legitimate Consumer Reporting Agency.  A reputable firm will make it a point to let you know they are a CRA and are members of the National Association of Professional Background Screeners, pledging to provide information in accordance with Federal, State, & Local law that can be used for employment purposes.

Another problem we see is to make a quick buck, some firms sell subscriptions to public records that are nothing more than database search results by name only, with no other identifiers available to confirm the identity in a “Hit” record matches your applicant.   Now you have a mess to sort through, because how many John Smith’s do you think there are in the United States?  

This type of check is a waste of your money and not a true background check!   Using this type of information for a pre-employment background check can set your organization up for serious legal and potentially dangerous situations because the identity of the offender has not been confirmed; nor has the FCRA been followed by establishing final disposition from the originating source to ensure the information is accurate, timely, and confirmed before being reported to you the end-user.

A reputable background screening firm is a full-fledged CRA (Consumer Reporting Agency) and has a responsibility to their clients, applicants, the public, and regulating agencies to do their jobs well.  Therefore, they are not going to provide background check information that hasn’t been put through stringent quality control process and made ready for client to use.  And should a dispute arise, a reputable firm will have procedures in place to help resolve your applicants concerns before it escalates into a potential lawsuit against you, the prospective employer! 

So how much is a background check going to cost?  

The answer depends on many factors including how many places the applicant has lived and the level of the position for which you are hiring.  Background checks vary in price depending on the type of search needed, how in-depth an investigation is needed, what state the applicant lives in, and if you are needing a county, state, and/or federal searches.

Edify Background Screening packages run typically between $12-$48.  Once we learn more about your specific needs, we would can set up a special package that meets your background screening needs without spending unnecessary amounts of money.

Give us a call and we will prepare a specific quote based on your unique needs.    

This is a question we get quite often and the only true answer is; it depends!

It depends on where the applicant has lived, if they have criminal convictions, if you’re checking education, reference, and civil records.  All of these can and will impact the time it takes to deliver results.

Our average turn-around time is under 11 hours for all searches; with approximate 75% returned to clients in under 7 hours.  In the event of on-site search where we have to send a researcher to the courthouse for record retrieval, it can take 24-48 hours to complete on average. Domestic Education, Employment, and Reference Verification can take 2-10 business days to complete depending on the locations and organizations involved.  While International checks can take days or even weeks to complete.

We get this question often, especially when our company is being compared to an incumbent firm or to what is available to an industrious person doing their own Google check.

The short answer to the question is, NO, you won’t always see everything there is to see.

There are many legitimate reasons as to why you won’t and can’t see everything; but the most common one we have to carefully explain is the 7 yr reporting rule contained within the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA).

The reporting of arrests and/or dismissed records that are older than 7 years are not reportable.  In most cases, according to the FCRA, unless a charge results in a conviction or judgment it becomes non-reportable after 7 years from the date of the original adverse action, which is most often the date of the original charge.  That means employers should not even see those records… but many screening firms short-cut QA controls and processes to save money… and send everything they uncover in an investigation; leaving it up to their client to recognize that the information cannot be used in employment decisions and doing so is breaking Federal law. 

Your provider should have the technology platforms and strict QA standards in place to streamline reporting and eliminate non-reportables, before they ever get to your screen or report.  You shouldn’t have to worry whether or not you can see or use something because your screening provider didn’t do what you paid them to do!

Unfortunately, there is no such thing as a Nationwide Criminal database and not even the FBI’s fingerprint database is close to having all the criminal data from around the county.  That’s because there are no centralized or standardized reporting system for the over 10,000 court houses and 3800 criminal jurisdictions, plus hundreds of local, state, & federal agencies to report information into.   What are being called Nationwide Checks are actually private databases of historical public records that may or may not be accurate, timely, or up to date with the latest information… plus with only approx. 60% of criminal records even available digitally… it’s a long way from being Nationwide.  That’s why the FCRA mandates any criminal “hits” recovered from any database must be verified at the local originating source, typically the local county court house where the record originated. 

Not even the so called “”Gold Standard”” FBI fingerprint database is complete… because the FBI acknowledges they are missing over 50% of  the dispositions for the records they house and they have no way of verifying the accuracy of the information that is submitted matches the applicant that it is associated to!  While useful as an indicator, public & private databases are not the best source of information for a background check… nor are they the definitive source for final dispositions. 

Your Background Screening partner should educate you on the limitations of database searches, including the FBI Fingerprint database, and have nationwide coverage in every local county & jurisdiction to fill in the gaps as needed on behalf of your organization; and they should verify the results of any database “hit” before they are reported keeping compliant with Federal Law.

Unfortunately, there is no such thing as a Nationwide Criminal background check… because there are no centralized or standardized reporting system for the over 10,000 court houses and 3800 criminal jurisdictions, plus hundreds of local, state, & federal agencies to report information into.  

What are being called Nationwide Checks are actually private databases of historical public records that may or may not be accurate, timely, or up to date with the latest information… plus with only approx. 60% of criminal records even available digitally… it’s a long way from being Nationwide!  

That’s why the FCRA mandates any criminal “hits” recovered from any database must be verified at the local originating source, typically the local county court house where the record originated.  Not even the so called “”Gold Standard”” FBI fingerprint database is complete… because the FBI acknowledges they are missing over 50% of  the dispositions for the records they house and they have no way of verifying the accuracy of the information that is submitted matches the applicant that it is associated to!  While useful as an indicator, public & private databases are not the best source of information for a background check… nor are they the definitive source for final dispositions. 

Your Background Screening partner should educate you on the limitations of database searches and have nationwide coverage in every local county & jurisdiction to fill in the gaps as needed on behalf of your organization; and they should verify the results of any database “hit” before they are reported keeping compliant with Federal Law.

If you hear an attorney describe the answer to this question they will say something to the effect that, “Due Diligence is whatever a jury says it is!” 

Attorney Lester Rosen states in his Employment Manual,  “Nevertheless, to pass due diligence scrutiny, you just need to show that you did the best that you could be expected to do, not that you did a perfect investigation.  Naturally, he adds, high risk employers, such as firms that send workers into homes, will have a higher duty of care. Workers in uniform have the “color of authority,” Rosen says.

If you haven’t done due diligence,typical defenses won’t help you. For example, don’t try to claim that:A background check would not have revealed any red flags or lack of causation

  • A background check would not have revealed any red flags or lack of causation
  • Conducting a check would have been too costly
  • The applicant lied
  • Others firms in our industry do not conduct background checks

So to preformed Due Diligence you must do what a jury is going to deem reasonable; and objecting to spend a few dollars to conduct a proper background is not going to seem reasonable when comes to a persons health and safety!

This one can be hard to detect unless you specifically ask but many large firms, to save money, send your company and applicant data to back-end processors in India, Indonesia, and other foreign countries for processing because it is cheaper than using American labor. 

This exposes your company & applicant’s sensitive information to 3rd party processors outside of US privacy and protection laws.  Unfortunately, the result can be identity theft on a very large scale, as Personally Identifiable Information (PII) is commonly copied & sold to the highest bidders around the globe by criminal employees of these offshore processors.

Although debatable, we feel your background screening provider should be a member of Concerned CRA’s where we make a pledge to never outsource any of our domestic work outside the USA.  

At EDIFY, we are members of Concerned CRA’s and we DO NOT outsource because we care about the privacy of you & your applicants; and we care about our employees and their families more than making an extra buck by outsourcing!

We started this company with the goal to provide professional background screening and personalized service to organizations viewed as “small potatoes” by most screening firms because of low volume.  Seven years later, this remains one of our core competencies, as we have continued to enhance and expand our capabilities to provide premium Fortune 500 level background screening products and services to any size organization, anywhere in the country.

Plus we realized no two organization are alike, so we began by not forcing our clients to settle for a “canned” solution and make them pay for things they don’t need or worse, not give them what they do, because it’s not in the “pre-configured can“; Instead we take time to understand our client’s needs and work with them to tailor our products and services into custom packages to meet the unique needs of their organization.

These goals were founding principals when we started and have remained our focus today, allowing us to grow exponentially without losing sight of what makes us special, and that is; Caring about our clients success as much as we care about our own!  

So what you can expect from EDIFY is for us to fulfill our mission: 

“Provide the Information our Clients need to Succeed!”

We started this company with the goal to provide professional background screening and personalized service to organizations viewed as “small potatoes” by most screening firms because of low volume.  Seven years later, this remains one of our core competencies, as we have continued to enhance and expand our capabilities to provide premium Fortune 500 level background screening products and services to any size organization, anywhere in the country.

Plus, we realized no two organization are alike, so we began by not forcing our clients to settle for a “canned” solution and make them pay for things they don’t need or worse, not give them what they do, because it’s not in the “pre-configured can“.  Instead we take time to understand our client’s needs and work with them to tailor our products and services into custom packages to meet the unique needs of their organization.

These goals were founding principals when we started and have remained our focus today, allowing us to grow exponentially without losing sight of what makes us special, and that is; Caring about our clients success as much as we care about our own!  This is what makes us unique in the background screening industry!

 

Yes, we are members of NAPBS! Plus, all of our employees have achieved FCRA Basics Certification administered by the NAPBS.
Yes, we keep an ongoing relationship with competent legal counsel on an as needed basis. Plus, we subscribe to multiple professional services for legal updates helping keep us and ultimately our clients current on local, state, and federal changes to the laws affecting the use of background screening products and services. Additionally, our status as a Preferred Partner enables our back-end software to automatically notify our processors of any applicable law or regulation in real time based on the jurisdiction searched for an applicant. These combine to help us help you; by remaining in compliance with the FCRA, and other rules and regulations related to the proper administration of background checks within a safe hiring program.
Yes, we provide these in the form of public blog posts submissions, electronic newsletters, whitepapers, additions to our website, and private status updates available only for our clients through our secure Client Interface.
No, and we strive every day to keep it that way by taking a conservative approach to how we process and report findings to our client; ensuring we and they remain compliant with applicable Federal and State law.
Yes, unlike most screening firms, we are members of Concerned CRA’s, a membership of screening firms dedicated to never outsourcing background checks outside the United States; In the event of an international criminal records request for one of our clients hiring foreign workers, it is sometimes necessary to contract with foreign sources to gain access to the international records needed to perform the requested searches. However, we do not outsource any of our domestic work.
Yes! Our clients are able to access through our secure “Client Interface” background check status, view partial results available, review completed reports, access archive results, pay their invoices, and manage their account.
Yes, we offer all our clients a customized 100% web-based “Client Interface” at no charge for input, retrieval, viewing, and archiving all of their background checks requests and results. Including the ability to upload and store any required release forms with their applicant information.
No, there is never a charge to setup your account, your web interface, or for storage of documents uploaded to your Client Interface. However, if you require us to build a custom integration to use with your internal HR or ATS, credit reporting, or plan to utilize our Form I9/eVerify service then there will be additional fees as necessary to ready your account to support these highly specialized services. We are up front with our pricing and explain the circumstances that can add to the cost of completing a background check at the very beginning of our relationship with you and keep you informed of changes along the way!
Yes, absolutely! Our clients have 24/7 access through our secure “Client Interface” to place new orders, review previous order statuses, view partial results, review completed reports, and access archive results, pay their invoices, and manage their account.
Online through our “Client Interface” web-portal; and/or via email with password protected attachments. However, we strongly recommend our client retrieve the reports directly from the Clint Interface for security and privacy purposes.  We automatically send notification emails to your organization’s appropriate contact as soon as a record is completed so you can access the results as soon as possible.
Yes, we utilize on-site county level court searches and/or other primary sources as necessary to adjudicate subject information prior to reporting to our clients. Additionally, unlike some firms, we do not report database “hits” without verifying them first at the originating source per FCRA requirements.
Yes, per FCRA guidelines, all criminal “hits” are verified at the originating source before being reported to our clients.
Yes, we make this a standard practice in accordance with the directives of our clients.
Our system is designed to automatically halt process when a “hit” is uncovered flagging our trained account specialists to review every criminal “hit” according to our reporting guidelines before it gets uploaded for reporting to our clients. Upon review, and further adjudication if necessary, our specialists will release the QA hold and upload verified results to the Client Interface for reporting.
Yes, our system is set up to alert on any criminal “hit” or discrepancy; this includes attaching an alert icon beside the record in the “Client Interface” when it is reported. We leave it to our clients to determine the severity of the offence with regard to their requirements of the position being sought and whether or not it disqualifies an applicant from further consideration.
Yes, we strive to keep our clients updated on any changes in the FCRA and other laws that might affect their organization. However, we always recommend working with competent legal counsel and Human Resources professionals in your specific area to ensure you are following all employment laws and regulations applicable to your situation.
Our average turn-around time is under 11 hours for all searches; with approximate 75% reported to clients in under 7 hours. In the event of on-site search that requires sending a researcher to the courthouse for record retrieval, it can take 24-48 hours to complete on average. Domestic Education, Employment, and Reference Verification can take up to 2-5 business days to complete depending on the locations and organizations involved.
Yes; you will receive a status update via your “Client Interface” update section and/or an email notification if there are unexpected delays in processing or interruption to services.

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DISCLAIMER: Nothing on this page should be construed as legal advice, guidance or counsel.  Employers should consult their own attorney about their compliance responsibilities under the FCRA and applicable federal, state, or local law.  Edify Administration Professionals, Inc. expressly disclaims any warranties or responsibilities or damages associated with or arising out of any information, forms, sample documents, or links provided.  You agree to indemnify and hold harmless Edify Administration Professionals, Inc., and it’s employees and agents from any and all liability or damages resulting to you, your family, heirs, associates, or to your organization at any time from using these in part or entirety.