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  • myHRscreens Expert

FBI Fingerprints Aren’t As Accurate As You Think

Updated: Dec 10, 2023



Fingerprint

Many industries like healthcare, childcare, finance, and other safety-sensitive positions are required by law to do a FBI Fingerprint based background check. However, you should not ONLY rely on fingerprint background checks. This can give employers a false sense of security because the bulk of the information can often be incomplete.


The best practice in employee screening is to work with your screening and background check company to develop a tailored and accurate background screening plan to ensure your legal compliance and workplace safety needs.


It’s this simple – The FBI database was not created as a tool to be used for background screening. Therefore, relying only on fingerprint checks through the FBI database is a risky idea.


What is a FBI Fingerprint Based Background Check?


A fingerprint-based background check is done by cross-referencing an applicant’s prints with the FBI database. Once an applicant’s fingerprints have been scanned, at an approved collection location, those prints are then transmitted to the FBI electronically.


Although FBI fingerprints do show prior arrests and crimes included in the database, these records in the FBI database are not always up to date or accurate. And the fingerprint scan, won’t include a complete and accurate criminal history report on a person, including local, state, and federal information.


The FBI database is officially known as the Next Generation Identification (NGI). It was originally built to assist law enforcement agencies access and exchange critical information, but there is no uniformity or consistency between how agencies contribute information to the database.


The FBI database was not designed to provide employers with complete and reliable data for background checks.


It can also include erroneous information because the FBI database is often out-of-date and may show arrests that did not result in a conviction. This is dangerous for employers because the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) guidelines state arrests that do not result in convictions should not be considered when making an employment decision.


The Best Way To Screen With Compliance And Avoid Risk


As you are completing screening for your employees, we know you will be required by law to do a fingerprint-based background check. These industries (ex. healthcare, childcare, finance, and other safety-sensitive positions) shouldn’t rely ONLY on fingerprint background checks.


Instead, partnering with an experienced and accredited background screening firm like MyHRScreens will help you develop a tailored and accurate background screening program to ensure your applicants are treated fairly and your safe workplace hiring needs are met. Here’s a quick comparison between working with a CRA and relying just on FBI fingerprint checks:

  • Screening industry is regulated by Fair Credit Reporting Act laws – the FBI is not

  • Candidates can dispute background check results through CRA and get resolution in 30 days or less – fingerprint applicants may never get dispute resolved or not in a timely manner

  • Erroneous arrests and expunged records at the court level may still show up on FBI check

  • CRAs have fast turn-around times and deliver more in-depth and accurate information


Use FCRA Compliant Screening


Not all screening companies are created equal. All employee screening including continuous screening choices must comply with the federal Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA). Working with a reputable expert in employee screening means that you will perform all background checks and employee screenings with full compliance.


Be sure to follow federal and state laws regarding disclosure and authorization requirements and the adverse action process in the case that you choose to either not hire a candidate, or terminate an existing employee.


Is it legal to run background checks throughout a person’s employment? According to legal experts, you must be sure you say so clearly and conspicuously in the notice and consent beforehand.


Work with an FCRA-Compliant Screening Company


All screening companies work slightly differently. Working on screening when you have various departments and needs can often be complex. A screening company such as MyHRScreens can help you tailor your ordering and billing experience, to ensure FCRA compliance.


Some of the benefits of the customized MyHRScreens process include:

  • Location-specific ordering options

  • Consolidated billing subtotaled by department

  • Consistent and transparent pricing

  • Specializations in employment verifications of professional credentials

  • Tailored screening to a hiring class of employees for FCRA compliance

  • Industry-specific screening solutions designed for you make your job easier

Use MyHRScreens to Provide Initial and Ongoing Employee FCRA Compliant Screening


For detailed questions about employee screening, let MyHRScreens help. Contact klewis@myhrscreens.com today to ask questions or set up an appointment.


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