Client Education Necessary for Background Screening Companies Accredited by the NAPBS

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Written By ESR News Editor Thomas Ahearn

Educating clients that use consumer reports about responsibilities imposed by laws such as the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) and Driver’s Privacy Protection Act (DPPA) is necessary for background screening companies accredited by the National Association of Professional Background Screeners (NAPBS).

The NAPBS, a non-profit trade association representing the background screening industry founded in 2003, offers Consumer Reporting Agencies (CRAs) – the official name for background screening companies – a way to be accredited through its Background Screening Agency Accreditation Program (BSAAP).

CRAs accredited by the BSAAP are committed to uphold and deliver the highest level of industry standards for six critical areas that include “Information Security,” “Legal and Compliance,” “Client Education,” “Researcher and Data Standards,” “Verification Services Standards,” and “Business Practices.”

“Client Education” is the third of six areas covered by the BSAAP standard – which was updated in 2018 – and includes 4 clauses that CRAs must follow in order to become accredited by the NAPBS. There are 68 clauses in the entire BSAAP standard. Here are the clauses for “Client Education”:

  • 3.1 Truth in Advertising – CRA must have and follow a procedure to communicate to clients the original source type (county records, state records, employer, academic institution, etc.), limitations, variables affecting the information available and scope of information provided by each consumer reporting product offered by the CRA.
  • 3.2 Legal Counsel – CRA must have and follow a procedure to inform client that CRA is not acting as legal counsel and cannot provide legal advice. CRA must inform client of the importance of working with counsel to develop an employment screening program specific to their needs and to ensure that client’s policies and procedures related to the use of CRA-provided information are in compliance with all applicable legal and regulatory requirements.
  • 3.3 Understanding Consumer Reports – CRA must have and follow a procedure to provide guidance to client on how to order, retrieve, read and understand the information provided in consumer reports provided by the CRA.
  • 3.4 Information Protection – CRA must have and follow a procedure to inform client of: 1) the sensitive nature of consumer reports, 2) the requirement to protect such information, and 3) the consumer report retention and destruction practices as outlined in the federal FCRA and the DPPA.

To become accredited by the NAPBS, CRAs must demonstrate initial and ongoing compliance with the accreditation standard as prepared by the Background Screening Credentialing Council (BSCC). Compliance is demonstrated through rigorous audits completed by an independent third-party auditor.

CRAs must document each of their policies and processes as required in each of the areas within the standard and demonstrate visible compliance with their policies to the auditor. Accreditation lasts for a period of five years, after which time firms are required to recomplete the process to remain accredited.

Founded as a non-profit trade association in 2003, the NAPBS currently represents more than 880 members engaged in background screening across the United States. NAPBS member companies range from Fortune 100 firms to small local businesses. To learn more about the NAPBS, visit www.napbs.com.

In May of 2019, the NAPBS selected Dawn Standerwick, Vice President of Strategic Growth at Employment Screening Resources® (ESR), as the “NAPBS Volunteer of the Month.” Standerwick currently serves as Chair of the Ethics Committee and is active with the Finance and Government Relations Committees.

In October of 2018, Standerwick was recognized as longest serving Board Member in the history of the NAPBS with nine years of service that included four years as a Regular Director and five years serving on the Executive Committee as Secretary, Treasurer, Chair Elect, Chair, and Immediate Past Chair.

Employment Screening Resources® (ESR) is a “Founding Member” of the NAPBS and is accredited under the BSAAP. ESR Founder and CEO Attorney Lester Rosen was the Chairperson of the steering committee that founded the NAPBS and served as first co-Chair. To learn more about ESR, visit www.esrcheck.com.

NOTE: Employment Screening Resources® (ESR) does not provide or offer legal services or legal advice of any kind or nature. Any information on this website is for educational purposes only.

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