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 ESR Top Ten Background Check Trends for 2016

Written By ESR News Blog Editor Thomas Ahearn

Due to increased pressure and scrutiny from both the federal government and private attorneys seeking multi-million dollar judgments, background screening firms, human resources (HR) professionals, and employers will be focused on legal compliance and accuracy issues in 2016. This is the number 5 trend selected by Employment Screening Resources® (ESR) Founder and CEO Attorney Lester Rosen for the 9th annual ESR Top Ten Background Check Trends for 2016.

“As compliance gets more complicated and the federal government and private attorneys show more interest in legal compliance and accuracy, it will be important for background screening firms to have procedures and technology that covers both,” says Rosen, author of ‘The Safe Hiring Manual’ and a noted background screening expert. “Every employer should inquire of a background screening firm how their processes and technology ensures compliance and accuracy, as well as turnaround time and ease of use.”

Background screening firms that doubt the need for compliance and accuracy need look no further than the news for proof. In October 2015, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) ordered two of the nation’s largest background screening firms to provide $10.5 million in relief to harmed consumers and pay a $2.5 million civil penalty for allegedly failing to take steps to ensure the information they reported about job applicants was accurate, according to a news release on the CFPB website.

The CFPB – a federal agency responsible for consumer protection in the financial sector – claimed that the two background screening firms violated the federal Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) by failing to employ reasonable procedures to assure the maximum possible accuracy of information contained in reports provided to potential employers of consumers. By entering into a consent decree, the two firms consented to the order without admitting or denying any findings of facts or conclusion of law.

The Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act signed into federal law by President Barack Obama in 2010 authorized the creation of the CFPB which has the authority to take action against institutions or individuals engaging in unfair, deceptive, or abusive acts or practices or violating federal consumer financial laws. The CFPB claimed “serious inaccuracies” reported by the background screening firms potentially affected the employment eligibility of consumers and caused them harm.

The fact that technology will continue to decrease time and effort needed for background screening checks is one of the reason Rosen picked this particular trend as one of the ‘ESR Top Ten Background Check Trends of 2014’ In the coming year, employers can expect to see even more robust background screening systems where applicants perform the data entry and also integration with Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS) where employers can simply click a button to start the background screening process.

“However, the use of new technology to facilitate communication between a background screening firm and employer is, in fact, mere window dressing that is now old hat and secondary to what is the most critical to employers – that the background screening technology should be optimized to ensure accuracy and compliance,” says Rosen, a frequent speaker on background check and due diligence issues who founded ESR in the San Francisco, California area back in 1997.

“For example, a number of states such as California, Massachusetts, and New York have special language and attachments that are required,” says Rosen. “Three states – California, Minnesota, and Oklahoma – have special rules for free reports.  A number of states also have special rules when it comes to requesting credit reports. Those rules should be incorporated in the consumer authorization and disclosure using background screening technology.”

For example, Employment Screening Resources® (ESR) realizes compliance with laws governing background screening can be confusing and utilizes proprietary technology called ESR Assured Compliance® to make compliance easy through a fully automated system that is constantly updated with required changes in hiring and employment laws making compliance with new regulations virtually painless in a paperless environment. For more information, visit

“Accuracy has become one of the most important considerations for the background screening industry,” Rosen explains. “Employers will need background screening firms with technology focused on such issues as quality control, looking at matching criteria, and facilitating processes to achieve the accuracy requirements under the FCRA. Much of this revolves not around how a background screening firm connects to partners, consumers, or employers, but rather on a background screening firm’s in-house processes and procedures, especially around criminal records and verification of employment and education. That requires domain expertise and goes well beyond just technology.”

ESR Is an NAPBS Accredited Background Screening Firm

Employment Screening Resources® (ESR), a global background screening firm, is accredited by the National Association of Professional Background Screeners (NAPBS®) Background Screening Agency Accreditation Program (BSAAP) for background screening procedures as they relate to six critical areas: Consumer/Data Information Protection; Legal Compliance; Client Education; Product Standards; Service Standards; and General Business Practices. For more information about ESR, call 888.999.4474 or visit

© 2015 Employment Screening Resources® (ESR) – Making copies or using of any part of the ESR News Blog or ESR website for any purpose other than your own personal use is prohibited unless written authorization is first obtained from ESR.


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