Employer Certification: What is it, and why does it matter?

signature If you have requested an employment-related credit or background check from AAA Credit Screening recently, you may have been notified of a requirement you were missing from your request: an employer certification form. You may have found yourself asking: what is an employer certification form, and what is the purpose of this document?

The employer certification form is required for AAA Credit Screening’s compliance with the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA)1. The FCRA mandates that a consumer reporting agency such as AAA Credit Screening can only supply reports for employment purposes if:

“the person who obtains such report from the agency certifies to the agency that […] (i) a clear and conspicuous disclosure has been made in writing to the consumer at any time before the report is procured or caused to be procured, in a document that consists solely of the disclosure, that a consumer report may be obtained for employment purposes; and (ii) the consumer has authorized in writing […] the procurement of the report by that person” (§ 604 – 15 U.S.C. § 1681b)

In short, this section of the FCRA requires that any employer requesting a consumer report for “employment purposes” must give “certification,” or written confirmation, to their reporting agency that they have given the proper disclosures to and obtained an authorizing signature from an individual before requesting an employment screening on said individual. The easiest way to comply with this certification requirement is to simply complete and sign the employer certification form that AAA Credit Screening Services provides for our clients.

Note that the employer certification form must be completed every time you request a screening. In this way, it is different from our Client Service Agreement or Criminal Reporting Policies Form, which are one-time requirements for sign-up with AAA Credit Screening Services. The one exception is during batch orders or multiple orders on the same applicant. The Federal Trade Commission (FTC), who controls the FCRA, has stated2 that “blanket certification” is acceptable in the case of multiple orders made on the same day “as a practical matter.” Additionally, they have said that it is acceptable “if an employer submits a blanket certification for purposes of obtaining consumer reports on an employee during the term of that individual’s employment.”

It is AAA Credit Screening Services’ duty as a consumer reporting agency to comply with the FCRA. To stay informed about employment screening and how the FCRA affects your company, be sure to follow the AAA Credit Screening blog!

www.hrbackground.com

1 For the full document of FCRA online
2 As stated in “Advisory Opinion to Kilgo” (07-28-98)
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