• Abide by the Equal Employment Opportunity (EEO) laws. For example, it’s illegal to check the background of applicants and employees when that decision is based on a person’s race, national origin, color, sex, religion, disability, genetic information (including family medical history), or age (40 or older).
• Tell the applicant or employee you may use the information for decisions about his or her employment. This notice must be in writing and in a stand-alone format. The notice can’t be in an employment application.
• Tell the applicant or employee of his or her right to a description of the nature and scope of any “investigative report”—a report based on personal interviews concerning a person’s character, general reputation, personal characteristics, and lifestyle.
• Get the applicant’s or employee’s written permission to do the background check. This can be part of the document you use to notify the person that you will get the report. If you want the authorization to allow you to get background reports throughout the person’s employment, make sure you say so clearly and conspicuously.
• Again, apply the same standards to everyone, regardless of their race, national origin, color, sex, religion, disability, genetic information (including family medical history), or age (40 or older).
• Before you take an adverse action, you must give the applicant/employee/volunteer a notice that includes a copy of the consumer report you relied on to make your decision as well as a copy of “A Summary of Your Rights Under the Fair Credit Reporting Act,” which you should have received from the company that sold you the report.
• After you take an adverse action, you must tell the applicant/employee/volunteer (orally, in writing, or electronically) that he or she was rejected because of information in the report and that they have a right to dispute the accuracy or completeness of the report, and to get an additional free report from the reporting company within 60 days.
• Any personnel or employment records you make or keep (including all application forms, regardless of whether the applicant was hired, and other records related to hiring) must be preserved for one year after the records were made, or after a personnel action was taken, whichever comes later. This requirement may be extended for educational institutions and for state and local governments.
• Once you’ve satisfied all applicable record keeping requirements, you may dispose of any background reports you received. However, the law requires that you dispose of the reports—and any information gathered from them—securely.