A bill introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives – ‘H.R. 2865 – Fairness and Accuracy in Employment Background Checks Act of 2013’ – seeks to provide safeguards with respect to the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) criminal background checks prepared for employment purposes. The complete text of H.R. 2865 is available at http://www.govtrack.us/congress/bills/113/hr2865/text.
Sponsored by Representative Robert C. “Bobby” Scott (D-VA), H.R. 2865 calls for the Attorney General to establish and enforce procedures to ensure the prompt release of accurate records and information exchanged for employment-related purposes through the records system created under section 534 of title 28, United States Code. The required procedures established under H. R. 2865 would include:
- (1) INACCURATE RECORD OR INFORMATION – If the Attorney General determines that a record or information is inaccurate, the Attorney General shall promptly correct that record or information or, if appropriate, promptly make any changes or deletions to the records or information.
- (2) INCOMPLETE RECORD OR INFORMATION – (A) If the Attorney General determines that a record or information is incomplete or cannot be verified, the Attorney General shall attempt to complete or verify the record or information, and if the Attorney General is unable to do so, the Attorney General may promptly make any changes or deletions to the record or information. (B) For the purposes of this paragraph, an incomplete record or information includes a record or information that indicates there was an arrest and does not include the disposition of that arrest. (C) If the record or information is an incomplete record or information described in subparagraph (B), the Attorney General shall, not later than 10 days after the requesting entity requests the exchange and before the exchange is made, obtain the disposition (if any) of the arrest.
- (3) NOTIFICATION OF REPORTING JURISDICTION – The Attorney General shall notify each appropriate reporting jurisdiction of any action taken under paragraph (1) or (2).
- (4) OPPORTUNITY TO REVIEW RECORDS OR INFORMATION BY APPLICANT – In connection with an exchange of such a record or information, the Attorney General shall – (A) obtain the consent of the applicant to exchange the record or information with the requesting entity; (B) at the time of consent, notify the applicant that the applicant can obtain a copy of the record or information; (C) provide to the applicant an opportunity to obtain a copy of the record or information upon request and to challenge the accuracy and completeness of that record or information; (D) promptly notify the requesting entity of any such challenge; (E) not later than 30 days after the challenge is made, complete an investigation of the challenge; (F) provide to the applicant the specific findings and results of that investigation; (G) promptly make any changes or deletions to the records or information required as a result of the challenge; and (H) report those changes to the requesting entity.
- (5) CERTAIN EXCHANGES PROHIBITED – An exchange shall not include any record or information – (A) about an arrest more than one year old as of the date of the request for the exchange, that does not also include a disposition (if any) of that arrest; (B) relating to an adult or juvenile non-serious offense of the sort described in section 20.32(b) of title 28, Code of Federal Regulations, as in effect on July 1, 2009; or (C) to the extent the record or information is not clearly an arrest or a disposition of an arrest.
Under H.R. 2865, the Attorney General may collect reasonable fees for all exchanges of records or information for employment-related purposes through the records system created under section 534 of title 28, United States Code. The Attorney General shall issue regulations to carry out this Act no later than one year after the date of the enactment. The bill has been referred to the House Committee on the Judiciary.
The accuracy of FBI background checks for employment purposes has come under greater scrutiny recently. A June 2006 Attorney General’s Report on Criminal History Background Checks estimated that approximately 50 percent of the arrest records in the FBI’s criminal databases did not include disposition information. The report is available at http://www.justice.gov/olp/ag_bgchecks_report.pdf.
In addition, The National Employment Law Project (NELP) released a report in July 2013 titled ‘Wanted: Accurate FBI Background Checks for Employment’ that found as many as 600,000 of the nearly 17 million employment background checks the FBI processed in 2012 contained inaccurate information. The NELP report is available at http://nelp.3cdn.net/bd23dee1b42cff073c_8im6va8d2.pdf.
Attorney Lester Rosen, Founder and CEO of Employment Screening Resources® (ESR), warns of issues regarding information in FBI databases in his book ‘The Safe Hiring Manual.’ The National Crime Information Center (NCIC) – the formal name for the automated database of criminal justice records maintained by the FBI – is not nearly as complete as portrayed in the movies and the information it does contain is predominantly arrest-related.
Employment Screening Resources® (ESR) is a nationwide screening firm accredited by the National Association of Professional Background Screeners (NAPBS®). For more information about ESR, visit http://www.esrcheck.com or call Toll Free 888.999.4474. For more information about ‘The Safe Hiring Manual’ by Attorney Lester Rosen, visit http://www.esrcheck.com/SafeHiringManual.php.
About Employment Screening Resources® (ESR):
Founded by safe hiring expert Attorney Les Rosen in 1997, Employment Screening Resources® (ESR) – ‘The Background Check Authority®’– provides accurate and actionable information that empowers employers to make informed hiring decisions for the benefit of their organizations, employees, and the public. CEO Rosen literally wrote the book on background checks with “The Safe Hiring Manual” and ESR is accredited by The National Association of Professional Background Screeners (NAPBS), a distinction held by a small percent of screening firms. Employers choosing ESR know they have selected an agency meeting the highest industry standards. To learn more about ESR, visit http://www.esrcheck.com or call toll free 888.999.4474.
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