Consumer Reporting Agencies (CRAs) have seen their roles and responsibilities transform in recent years as a more litigious, more highly-regulated, and increasingly complex compliance environment has officially taken shape. Compliance requirements are significant and stakes are high as regulators, employers, and employees each strive to create equal employment opportunity and safe workplaces.
While not on the front lines of the consumer reporting and hiring decision-making process, public records research providers, like Wholesale Screening Solutions, play an important supporting role. This is how:
1. CRAs expect their public records research providers to supply accurate and complete information.
This seems obvious, but the foundation of compliance is only as strong as the information provided is accurate and complete. For example, the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) states, when CRAs prepare a consumer report the CRA must follow “reasonable procedures to assure maximum possible accuracy of the information concerning the individual about whom the report relates.”
Working from accurate data is the foundation of FCRA compliance. It’s also what gets employers and CRAs in the most trouble when inaccurate or incomplete information is used by an employer to make decisions that impact a person’s employment or a workplace’s safety. CRAs rightly expect their public records research provider takes the necessary steps to deliver accurate and complete information in the first place.
2. In the event of regulatory enforcement or legal action, CRAs lean on the processes of the public records research provider.
We’ve already established that employment screening companies/CRAs expect their public records research provider to supply accurate and complete information in accordance with the CRA’s requirements. The accuracy and completeness of this information directly impacts the CRA’s legal compliance obligations. So, what happens if the CRA faces legal action? In a recent case, a background screening company faced a multi-million dollar fine for failing to adequately ensure the accuracy of the information it provided to employers. In other cases, CRAs have come under fire as a result of legal action against their employer-customers. In addition, negligent hiring cases often point back to the public record research process that allowed the wrong employee to be hired in the first place.
In the case of mitigating the risk of litigation or building a solid defense in the case of actual litigation, the public record research provider’s processes for retrieving accurate and complete public records becomes the de facto processes of the CRA. As a result, public records research providers must be increasingly sophisticated and must clearly and consistently document their processes and procedures so the CRA can rely on their provider.
At Wholesale Screening Solutions, compliance and quality are woven into the fabric of the company in very tangible ways. The well-documented policies and procedures that guide our research processes can ultimately make a difference to our customers with respect to maintaining their employer-customer relationships, mitigating the risk of regulation enforcement action or litigation, and defending themselves against actual enforcement activities or litigation. Wholesale Screening Solutions’ well documented quality and compliance procedures provide solid support to the compliance programs and legal defense strategies of our CRA-customers.
Interested in learning more? Read our latest Q&A with Wholesale Screening Solutions’ compliance experts, Vince Pascarella and Gregg Hyde.