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What Do Employers Need to Do When Performing Background Checks?

A. Here is a list that every employer must do in conducting an employee background check.

1. The person doing the hiring must be sufficiently trained before accessing CORI. The employer must keep a list of trained individuals.

2. Response option-An applicant must be given an opportunity to dispute the record's accuracy and to explain why he or she should not be excluded from employment.

3. Keep the Applicant Informed-This goes back to having your employees properly trained. If an employer is going to use the CORI system as its basis not to hire a prospective employee, state law in most jurisdictions requires that the employer provides a copy of the record, identify that part of the record that served as the basis for disqualification from employment, provide a copy of the employer's CORI policy, and provide information on how to correct an inaccurate CORI report.

4. Always case by case-Generally, an employer cannot institute a blanket ban on hiring individuals with criminal records. The employer should conduct an individualized assessment of whether to hire an applicant.

5. Keep the CORI confidential-These records must be kept confidentially and only disseminated if and when absolutely necessary. Records must be stored separately from other employment files in a secure location. Any electronic files created in connection with CORI reports must be encrypted and password-protected at all times.

6. Interviews-If an employer is going to inquire verbally about an individual's CORI state law may restrict it to certain offenses. Make sure that you know the boundaries.

7. The notice-federal law requires that certain notices and disclosures be made if an employer uses a consumer reporting agency for the background check.

8. Get Authorization-You must get any and all prospective employees to provide authorization for an employer to get a CORI.

9. You may need a written policy- If you conduct at least five criminal background checks annually an employer must maintain a written CORI policy that meets the state's minimum requirements.

10. Don't Ask at the outset-When it comes to initially written employment applications, employers may not ask about criminal offender record information.

If you have any further questions, please contact us at the Katz Law Group, P.C. at 508-480-8202.

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