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Update Your Background Check Forms

By William E. Parker - Seaton Peters & Revnew

October 30, 2018

On September 21, a provision in the new Economic Growth, Regulatory Relief, and Consumer Protection Act kicked in that required employers to update their background check forms to advise applicants and employees that a “national security freeze” was available to protect them from identity theft.

The law, passed in May 2018, requires a “national security freeze” to be provided by consumer reporting agencies to consumers, free of charge. The freeze restricts access to an individual’s background report, which helps prevent identity theft. Pertinent to employers, however, is that the law provides that a notice regarding the availability of a security freeze must be included any time the Fair Credit Reporting Act requires a “consumer” to receive a Summary of Consumer Rights. Employees or applicants are “consumers” for FCRA purposes when an employer seeks a background check on him or her, so any time such a report is ordered on an applicant or employee, that individual must receive a notice of the national security freeze. An updated model version of the Summary of Consumer Rights can be accessed at https://www.consumerfinance.gov/about-us/newsroom/bureau-consumer-financial-protection-issues-updated-fcra-model-disclosures/.

Accordingly, if you are an employer who obtains background checks from applicants or employees for use in hiring or termination decisions, it is important to ensure that your background check forms are updated to include the newly required notice.

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