A Candidate’s Bill of Rights: 12 Steps to Ensure Background Screening Compliance

Nick Fishman

Compliant Background Checks

How many blog posts have we spent reviewing regulatory legal actions, class action litigation, and general bad publicity caused by employers or their background screening companies for their less than compliant background check practices? In our opinion, way too many.

In addition, lost in much of the negative publicity is the fact that an overwhelming majority of employers like you (and accredited background screening companies like us) are doing things right when it comes to employee background checks.

You want to make sure that you operate compliant background screening programs and that your candidates’ rights are kept at the forefront to maintain the best possible candidate experience. After all, these are people that you want to hire. You’ve already invested a significant amount of time and money finding and recruiting top talent, interviewing them, and selling them to your organization—only to have the whole thing blow up in their face over a background check? No doubt, there will be some candidates whose past behavior will raise red flags. But when that happens, it should be based on accurate and reliable information obtained in compliance with all applicable federal and state laws and addressing areas such as privacy, non-discrimination, accuracy, etc.

A Candidate’s Bill of Rights

That said, we thought it would be helpful to create a “Candidates’ Bill of Rights” for employers to use both as an important checklist and even to share with their job candidates. If you are looking for a great place to start developing a compliant background screening program or want to reinforce your practices, this list is for you. Check it out.

You have the right to….

1.  Receive a written disclosure and give consent to a background check before it is conducted
2.  Know the type of background check is being conducted
3.  Be informed of who is conducting the background check
4.  Know if your background check has been used against you
5.  Receive adverse action notifications including a copy of your report in the event that the background check turns up negative information that could prevent employment
6.  Receive a copy of the “Summary of Rights” required under the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) when your receive adverse action notification
7.  Request a copy of your background check upon showing of proper ID, and usually this disclosure is free
8.  Be measured against the same criteria as all others applying for the same position
9.  Be entitled to an accurate background check based on maximum possible accuracy
10. Be afforded the right to dispute the information found on the background check
11. Have incomplete, inaccurate, or unverifiable information removed or corrected within 30 days
12. Have the access to your background check limited to those who you have authorized and who have a permissible purpose under the FCRA

Have we missed anything?  We’d love your feedback.  Please consider leaving a comment.


Nick Fishman
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Nick Fishman

Nick Fishman is the co-founder of EmployeeScreenIQ, a leading, global employment background screening provider, and serves as the company’s executive vice president and chief marketing officer. He pioneered the creation of EmployeeScreen University, the #1 educational resource on employment background checks for human resources, security and risk management professionals. A recognized industry expert, Nick is a frequent author, presenter and contributor to the news media. Nick is also a licensed private investigator in the states of Ohio and Texas.
Nick Fishman
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