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The Fair Credit Report Act (FCRA) was introduced by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) to regulate how online background checks are conducted. Sometimes referred to as a consumer report, background checks may include criminal, driving, educational, credit and identity verification reports
Before You Order a Background Screening Check
Prior to requesting a consumer report, or background screening check, an employer must certify the following:
1. The company is using the report strictly for employment purposes, such as to help assess whether to hire a job applicant or promote an existing employee
2. The company cannot violate any federal or state equal employment opportunity law
3. The employer must provide a clear disclosure to the applicant or employee and obtain the applicant’s consent before ordering a consumer report
4. If the employee background check results in adverse action taken against the applicant, the employer must give the applicant an appropriate notice5.Employers who have selected an investigative report that includes personal interviews must disclose to applicants their right to a description of the investigation
Please make Note:
It is important to understand that an online background checks that will help you make an informed decision. Be sure to never make hiring decisions based on race, sex, religion, disability, or any other characteristics defined by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC).
if the report leads you to not hire an applicant, you must first provide the copy of the background screening report and a copy of “A Summary of Your Rights Under the Fair Credit Reporting Act”. This gives the applicant an opportunity to explain any discrepancies or negative data. Once this is complete, the employer must notify the applicant of the reason they were rejected and provide the name of the consumer reporting agency used.
-What is a criminal history record check?
The term “background check” is often used interchangeably with “criminal history check” or
“criminal history record check” which causes some confusion. Some companies use the
phrase “background check” to include driver’s record, credit history, or interviews with
neighbors and employers. From the Florida Department of Law Enforcement (FDLE)
perspective, a background check is a criminal history record check to determine if a person
has been arrested and/or convicted of a crime. For the purposes of this paper, it is a search
of the following databases:
• the Florida Computerized Criminal History (CCH) Central Repository for Florida
arrests (State Check),
• the Florida Computerized Criminal History Central Repository for Florida arrests
AND the national criminal history database at the FBI for federal arrests and arrests
from other states (State and National Check) and
• the Florida Crime Information Center for warrants and domestic violence injunctions
(Hot Files Check).
National criminal history record checks, as well as state checks, are based on the
submission of fingerprints.
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-What are Level 1 and Level 2 Background Checks?
Level 1 and Level 2 Background Checks are terms used in Florida Statutes to convey the
method of the criminal history record check and the extent of the data searched. However,
the terms may also refer to certain disqualifying offenses if certain statutes are referenced.
Level 1 and Level 2 are terms that pertain only to Florida and are not used by the FBI or
other states. They are defined in Chapter 435, Florida Statutes (F.S.), but are used
elsewhere in statute without definition and appear not to be associated with all of the
provisions in Chapter 435, F.S.
• Level 1 generally refers to a state only name based check AND an employment
• Level 2 generally refers to a state and national fingerprint based check and
consideration of disqualifying offenses, and applies to those employees designated
by law as holding positions of responsibility or trust. Section 435.04, F.S., mandates
Level 2 security background investigations be conducted on employees, defined as
individuals required by law to be fingerprinted pursuant to Chapter 435, F.S.
It should be noted that both the state and national criminal history databases can be
searched for arrests, warrants, and other information pertaining to an individual.
However, neither database has the capability of searching for specific offenses
within an individual record.
-Why is important to screen or request a background check a possible hire?
Background checks are essential for employees, some of the benefits are:
-Work Place safety for other employees and customer.
-Provides information for company regulatory hiring procedures.
-Low Employee turnover.
-Avoids Legal lawsuits involving theft and other type of crimes to the public while an employee is on duty.
-What information is required to be provided to an employee prior to a Background Check?
Employers should provided the following information:
A written consent from the prospect employee to run the background check.
what are the basis for disqualification for the position in regards of the report.
The employer shall notify in a timely matter after the report arrived of final decision.
-What information is available on a Background Check?
Mainly a background check requested by an Employer, will verify and identify the prospect employee name, DOB and possible listed addresses, along with important information collected from our database in regards of possible criminal records, including probation, prison time and sexual offenses if there is any available from traffic violations, misdemeanor and felony court cases.
-What are the requirements for a state criminal history record check and
national criminal history record check?
State Check: May be obtained by submitting a name request or by submitting a fingerprint
National Check: The following must be in place, as required by the FBI, to receive a
national criminal history record check:
• A statute must exist as a result of a legislative enactment;
• It must require the fingerprinting of applicants who are subject to a national
criminal history record check;
• It must expressly (“submit to the FBI”) or by implication (“submit for a national
check”) authorize the use of FBI records for the screening of applicants;
• It must identify the specific category(ies) of licensees/employees falling within its
• It must not be against public policy;
• It may not authorize receipt of the criminal history record information by a private
• The recipient of the criminal history record check results must be a governmental
• The entity must sign a User Agreement indicating it will comply with the terms and
conditions set forth in rule by the FBI; and
• The fingerprint submission must be first processed through the state repository for
a search of its records.
-Besides the agencies statutorily required to conduct criminal history record
checks, are there others who are allowed to request criminal history checks
Yes. Private citizens, companies and governmental entities are authorized under Florida’s
public records law to request a state only criminal history record check (See Question 4).
Examples of these entities include grocery stores, taxi drivers, summer camp employees,
etc. Additionally, provisions of the National Child Protection Act, implemented through
FDLE’s Volunteer and Employee Criminal History System (VECHS) program, authorize
criminal history record checks for employees and volunteers of certain qualified entities that
provide care to children, the elderly or disabled persons. See the VECHS section below for
more information about the program.
What information should an employee consider before denying employment base on a criminal record?
The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) has issued an provide guidance explaining how employers can screen and consider applicants who may have a criminal record and at the same time pose an unreasonable risk without engaging in discrimination. The Employer must consider:
-the nature and gravity of the criminal offense or conduct in regards of the crime.
-how much time has passed since the offense or sentence took place
-the nature of the job in relation with the crime.
According to Florida Statute, the law prohibits state and local agencies from denying someone over a person a license, permit, or certificate to engage in a particular profession or industry because of a criminal record and conviction, unless the conviction was for a felony or first-degree misdemeanor and is directly related to the type of work the person will do in that profession.
Does an arrests, dismissed, expunged cases will show on Background Check?
Arrest will possible show up on a background check, depending of the State, some laws prohibit certainly information available to the public, this regulations are created to avoid an employment decision to hire a potential employee, since an arrest is not a proof of guilt or an accusation of a crime committed.
Dismissed cases, will show on a background check, yet it is recommended for the employer to identify and understand the final court disposition of the case before making a final decision, many cases are disposed in the legal system with not enough proof of conviction and such information still available to the public.
Expunged cases, are intended to be sealed cases and convictions information should not be available on a background check, in many instances if the Expunged case was not file correctly the convictions may still show in a background check.
If a state and national criminal history record check is conducted, is it
necessary to conduct a separate check of the sex offender registry for
registered sex offenders?
No. If the state and national fingerprint based criminal history record check is completed,
the agency will be notified of all persons designated as sexual predators or offenders in
Florida and in the national system.
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