Pinnacle Investigations

Database searches Leave You Vulnerable

Author: Pinnacle Investigations

 

Many employers are relying on “national criminal records databases” or “instant” background checks. Unfortunately, this leaves businesses with a false sense of security while opening themselves up to huge liability concerns from both sides of the litigation equation. Many of these companies are preying on small organizations with the promise of lower fees and claiming they are protected when they are actually leaving them vulnerable to lawsuits and problems in the workplace.

Database searches are not complete. Many states are not covered and others usually contain incomplete information or Department of Corrections records only.  When a database search is used, companies are not getting the whole picture and could still be putting their employees and assets at risk by hiring someone who they normally would not if the information were complete. The FCRA requires public records are accurate and up-to-date at the time they are reported. Criminal charges from a database search cannot be guaranteed accurate or current.  This means any charges found must be verified at the court of record. If you read the fine print, these databases will tell you that it is not a court record search, not FCRA Compliant, and any information should be verified.  Just look at the disclaimer from one of the largest companies offering database searches for criminal history.

DISCLAIMER: The information in this report such as the public records and criminal records is compiled from and processed by various third-party sources. [major database background screening company] does not guarantee, warrant or assume any responsibility for the accuracy of the information obtained from other sources and shall not be liable for any losses or injuries now or in the future resulting from or relating to the information provided herein.

Most people don’t see this disclaimer when signing up for these background checks.  In a cost conscious business world, HR directors are rightfully trying to save money where they can and these companies are promising low cost with fast turnaround – there is a reason for that.  We really do get what we pay for and when an organization chooses to save money by using a database company, they can often face a negligent hiring lawsuit because they didn’t get the full picture on the background check. 

Conversely, when there is a hit on the database search it is often outdated and may not contain current information on dismissed or dropped charges.  Denying someone employment because of a criminal record found in a database search could land you in court facing a discrimination lawsuit.  Too often, companies are getting reports from these providers with a false sense of security and putting their organizations and reputations at risk. 

The only way to avoid the dangers associated with database searches is to use a reputable provider for your background checks that is well versed on the FCRA and uses the most complete and up to date methods. Ask your provider if they are members in good standing with the National Association of Professional Background Screeners (NAPBS): NAPBS exists to promote ethical business practices, promote compliance with the Fair Credit Reporting Act and Equal Employment Opportunity Laws and foster awareness of issues related to consumer protection and privacy rights within the background screening industry.  Also ask if they are members of Concerned CRAs: a group of like-minded CRA's (Consumer Reporting Agencies) who are concerned about the future of the employment background screening industry. We believe that certain data practices employed by some CRA's place our profession at risk. Your provider should be able to explain to you where the information came from and what methods were used to ensure you are getting the most accurate and up to date information available.

Pinnacle Investigations is a full-service risk management and investigation company that provides accurate, thorough and timely background investigations. Pinnacle is committed to the highest ethical standards and quality control practices and is committed to educating our clients about due diligence, applicable state and federal laws and the risks and liability associated with modern Human Resource Management.  Our experienced team provides personalized customer service to each of our clients and strives for 100% satisfaction with the delivery of a superior product. Contact us today for more information


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