Background Screening Services – Is Yours Up to Snuff?

by Zandy Ahern, FCRA Certified through NAPBS

HR Expertise and Support,  Member Matters

A few background-screening services have been in the news lately for failing to serve their clients well. Some have received substantial fines. Any back­ground-screening service must establish and implement written policies and procedures regarding the accuracy and integrity of information they furnish to an employer.

Guidelines are in Appendix A to Furnisher Rule Part 660, and we have included some of them below:

  • Must be appropriate to the nature, size, complexity, and scope of your activities
  • Must be reviewed periodically and updated, as necessary
  • Should ensure that information provided to a client is for the right person and reflects the consumer’s performance or behavior
  • Require maintenance of records for a reasonable amount of time


Information should:

  • Be substantiated by records when it is furnished;
  • Include consumer identifiers, like name(s), date of birth, Social Security number, telephone number(s), or address(es); and
  • Be furnished in a standardized form and specify the time period it pertains


To understand how we follow these requirements, please review our process:

  • Employers Council, as a Consumer Reporting Agency (CRA), abides by federal and state laws under the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA).
  • All background screens require an FCRA authorization, signed by the applicant. Some states or international searches require an additional authorization form for background checks and driving records.
  • The FCRA definition of what can be searched in a background check is expansive, including, criminal history, MVR, credit history, references, education verification, employment verifi­cation, etc. Employers Council only processes the search an employer is requesting.
  • We assist employers in using our background-screening services for employment purposes, and for the term of employment of an individual who has authorized a background screen.
  • Court information should come directly from the court records, to ensure the information being reported is current and accurate information. Nationwide database searches should not be used for a court search, as the information is not updated regularly and may not have valid identifying information; therefore, the information is not current and not accurate.
  • Social Security Traces are beneficial, as the information shows if a social security number is valid, when it was issued, and what state issued it. It also gives an address history of the person associated with the number, and allows Employers Council to run a thorough court search.
  • The employers has access to completed reports, authorization forms, and adverse action letters through Employers Council’s background check website.
  • Applicants have access to the Employers Council background-screening team in case there is a need to dispute any information reported on the background screen.
  • Employers Council follows the FCRA guidelines when processing disputes.

If you have any questions about our processes and how we help employers, please contact me at 800.884.1328 or I am proud of the services we provide to members every day, knowing that we work hard to provide accurate information to members. We follow legal guidelines to do this and make corrections when necessary.

About the author
Zandy Ahern, FCRA Certified through NAPBS

As the Manager of the Pre-Employment Screening Department at Employers Council, Zandy is committed to helping MSEC members with their background screening needs by providing high quality service and accurate information. Zandy has an AA in Paralegal Studies from Arapahoe Community College and through NAPBS (National Association of Professional Background Screeners) has received her FCRA (Fair Credit Reporting Act) Certification.