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Written By ESR News Blog Editor Thomas Ahearn

Informing clients of legal responsibilities and requirements imposed by the federal Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) and state screening laws is necessary for background screening firms accredited by the National Association of Professional Background Screeners (NAPBS®). Employers must learn their legal responsibilities when using background checks for employment purposes. This blog is the third in a six part series about the NAPBS Background Screening Agency Accreditation Program (BSAAP).

‘Client Education’ is the third of six sections of the BSAAP created for Consumer Reporting Agencies (CRAs) – the technical term for background screening companies – along with ‘Consumer Protection,’ ‘Legal Compliance,’ ‘Researcher and Data Product Standards,’ ‘Verification Service Standards,’ and ‘General Business Practices.’ The BSAAP contains 58 clauses that CRAs must follow to be NAPBS Accredited. The ‘Client Education’ section contains the seven clauses below:

  • 3.1 Client Legal Responsibilities – CRA shall have procedures in place to inform client that they have legal responsibilities when using consumer reports for employment purposes. CRA shall recommend that client consult their legal counsel regarding their specific legal responsibilities.
  • 3.2 Client Required Documents – CRA shall provide sample documents or inform client of specific documents which are needed to meet legal requirements regarding employer’s procurement and use of consumer reports.
  • 3.3 Truth in Advertising – CRA shall communicate to clients the nature of the original source, limitations, variables affecting the information available and scope of information provided by each consumer reporting product offered by the CRA.
  • 3.4 Adverse Action – CRA shall inform client that there are legal requirements imposed by the federal FCRA and, in some instances, state consumer reporting laws, regarding taking adverse action against a consumer based on a consumer report. CRA shall recommend to client that they consult with counsel to develop a legally compliant adverse action policy.
  • 3.5 Legal Counsel – CRA shall communicate to client that they are not acting as legal counsel and cannot provide legal advice. CRA shall communicate to client the importance of working with counsel to develop an employment screening program specific to their needs. CRA shall also communicate to client the necessity to work with counsel to ensure that client’s policies and procedures related to the use of CRA-provided information is in compliance with applicable state and federal laws.
  • 3.6 Understanding Consumer Reports – CRA shall provide guidance to client on how to order, retrieve, read and understand the information provided in consumer reports provided by the CRA.
  • 3.7 Information Protection – CRA shall provide information to client regarding (1) the sensitive nature of consumer reports, (2) the need to protect such information and (3) the consumer report retention and destruction practices as outlined in the federal FCRA and the DPPA.

Governed by specified requirements and measurements, the BSAAP is becoming a widely recognized seal of achievement that brings national recognition to background screening organizations.  This recognition will stand as the industry “seal,” representing a background screening organization’s commitment to excellence, accountability, high professional standards, and continued institutional improvement. To learn more about the BSAPP, visit

Founded as a not-for-profit trade association in 2003, the NAPBS represents the interests of more than 880 member companies around the world that offer employment and tenant background screening. NAPBS Member companies are defined as “consumer reporting agencies” pursuant to the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) and are regulated by both the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB). To learn more about the NAPBS, visit

To read other blogs about the NAPBS, visit

ESR Is Accredited by the NAPBS

Founded in the San Francisco, California-area in 1997, Employment Screening Resources® (ESR) is a global background check firm that is accredited by the NAPBS®. ESR also undergoes annual SOC 2® audits to protect the privacy, security, and confidentiality of consumer information. ESR founder and CEO Attorney Lester Rosen wrote the book on background checks with “The Safe Hiring Manual” (3rd Edition published in January 2017). To learn more about ESR, visit

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.

© 2017 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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