About the FCRA, EEOC, and Background Screening

US Federal Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) and the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC)

The US Federal Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA), 15 U.S.C. 1681 et seq. is the federal law that governs the preparation, dissemination, and use of background screening reports for employment purposes (consumer reports).

The Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) imposes, among other obligations, the requirement of using consumer reports accessed for employment purpose in compliance with federal and state Equal Employment Opportunity (EEO) regulations. The U.S. EEOC (Equal Employment Opportunity Commission) is responsible for enforcing Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. An employer is covered under Title VII if it has at least 15 employees.

Information relating to employment issues and the EEOC can be found on the EEOC’s Employers page http://www.eeoc.gov/employers/index.cfm.

The EEOC recently issued updated guidance explicitly relating to the use of arrest and conviction records in employment decisions. The guidance document, Enforcement Guidance on Consideration of Arrest and Conviction Records in Employment Decisions Under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 is available on the EEOC’s website http://www.eeoc.gov/laws/guidance/arrest_conviction.cfm.

In addition to the recommended best practices, the EEOC has provided a Q & A document that answers issues related to the guidance: http://www.eeoc.gov/laws/guidance/qa_arrest_conviction.cfm.

To ensure compliance with this newly issued Guidance, employers are encouraged to evaluate their current on-boarding practices to determine compliance and consult with legal counsel.


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