Updated ESR White Paper - 21 Shortcuts and Traps that Can Lead to Inaccurate Criminal Records

Written By ESR News Blog Editor Thomas Ahearn

Employment Screening Resources® (ESR) – a leading global background check firm – has released an updated version of its white paper entitled “21 Shortcuts and Traps that Can Lead to Inaccurate Criminal Records” that summarizes ways screening firms could potentially take shortcuts that may undermine the accuracy of criminal records.  The complimentary white paper is at www.esrcheck.com/Tools-Resources/Whitepaper-Library/21-Shortcuts-Lead-To-Inaccurate-Criminal-Records/.

The white paper explains how background checks can vary in quality is because there are many moving parts when searching for criminal records and also numerous ways a screening firm can cut corners.  A screening firm may appear to be doing a complete job and yet take shortcuts under the hood that may allow them to advertise faster turnaround times or to lower internal costs and increase profits. But the real question is whether employers and job applicants are well served. Some of these shortcuts include:

  • Using a so-called “national” criminal database: So-called “national” criminal databases offered by private firms are a source of confusion and potential mistakes.
  • Using incomplete statewide system: Some screening firms may try to save time and money by using statewide databases to avoid the cost and trouble of performing county court searches.
  • Instant searches: The words “instant” and “criminal checks” simply do not belong together in the same sentence.
  • Failure to have internal process or procedures to analyze if a criminal matter is reportable: Another related matter is to have internal processes, procedures, and training material to help a screening firm make decisions on what criminal matters are reportable.
  • Ignoring consumer complaints that can lead to discovering errors in a background firm’s process: Another warning sign that a screening firm may not have processes in place to promote accuracy is the failure to examine complaints from consumers to determine if there is a pattern or practice that is leading to errors in reporting criminal records.
  • Failure to advise employer about Ban the Box or Individualized Assessment rules: Another area of potential liability for employer and screening firms is providing criminal information without advising employers on the limits on using criminal records under applicable “Ban the Box” rules and discrimination rules.
  • Reporting arrests or non-convictions: This is an area that can get employers and background screening firms sued.

The white paper “21 Shortcuts and Traps that Can Lead to Inaccurate Criminal Records” also concludes with “21 Suggested Questions for a Background Screening Provider” that employers may want to ask their background screening providers to avoid receiving criminal record information that is incomplete, incorrect, or not actionable. The complimentary white paper is at www.esrcheck.com/Tools-Resources/Whitepaper-Library/21-Shortcuts-Lead-To-Inaccurate-Criminal-Records/.

Employment Screening Resources® (ESR) – which is headquartered in the San Francisco, California area – is accredited by the National Association of Professional Background Screeners (NAPBS), undergoes annual SSAE 18 SOC 2® audits, adheres to the Privacy Shield Framework, is General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) compliant, and won the 2018 TekTonic Award from HRO Today Magazine for innovation and disruption in background screening technology. To learn more, visit www.esrcheck.com.

ESR White Paper Library

Employment Screening Resources® (ESR) offers employers an extensive White Paper Library  with  information on “Ban the Box” laws, social media background checks, volunteer screening, how to choose an Applicant Tracking System (ATS), how to comply with the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) criminal record guidance, and reasons for lawsuits over violations of the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA). To learn more, visit www.esrcheck.com/Tools-Resources/Whitepaper-Library/.

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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