The EEOC has recently handed out new guidance on the use of criminal convictions and arrest records for employment purposes. The guidance specifically singles out what type of information an employer is using and discusses how that information can be used for or against the defense of that employer in a visit by the EEOC. This article will discuss what concerns the EEOC has in using poor quality criminal records and how Total Check® (One Source’s core background check product) can help your company comply with the EEOC compliance.

The main concern provided by the EEOC is that companies are no longer using the best or most accurate source of criminal records. The EEOC defined the original source of the criminal record as the best source. This would be counties, federal districts, cities and other locations where the original criminal charge is filed with the court. Other sources that people often use for background checks are compiled databases that may not contain the most up-to-date account of the record.

Privately held databases, state patrol records, FBI records and others were all faulted for having inaccuracies of up to 50% in their databases. The EEOC wants employers and reporting agencies to consider the magnitude of using these out of date records. Imagine a man convicted of murdering his wife only to be later acquitted of the crime due to DNA evidence or the confession of the real killer. He applies for a job in a sensitive security area that runs FBI fingerprints.

The FBI database still shows him as a murderer if they do not receive updates from the county where he was originally convicted of the crime. The EEOC goes further to say that minorities have a higher rate of arrest in the United States; therefore, they are more likely to have inaccurate records that are not updated in these database record centers, whether privately or publicly held.

How does Total Check help me comply? One Source’s Total Check family of products is based upon verification of records through the original source. The goal of Total Check is that everything reported is verified and ready to use for employment. Let’s take a detailed look at each piece of Total Check and how One Source ensures its compliance:

1. Applicant Verification

Unlike most companies that offer a verification service and make the end user review the results, One Source actually has a team member look at each Applicant Verification search for accuracy of the social security number, name spelling and additional addresses. The information is stored out of the end user’s view as it is unverified information and cannot be used for making decisions about employment.

2. County Criminal / Statewide Criminal Where Available / Federal Criminal

This is where One Source searches the original source of the records. Any record that is found in any of our searches is validated through the original source (as suggested by the EEOC) for accuracy and compliance. One Source also removes from view any records returned to us by the state that cannot be used or reported for employment. Examples would be dismissed cases, age restricted cases, date-restricted cases, expunged or acquitted cases, etc.

3. Multi-Court Jurisdictional Database

This search is a privately held database of criminal records which encompasses records from all 50 states, Puerto Rico, Guam and Washington D.C. When used alone, these databases are inaccurate, incomplete and unverified. That is why One Source sells this search only as a part of Total Check. When hits are found in the database search they are verified through the original source (county, city, federal district, etc.). That is why it will sometimes read “REFER TO THE IA STATEWIDE CRIMINAL SEARCH” or something similar in this area of the report. All of the records in this search are unverified until run through the original source.

4. Nationwide Sex Offender Registry

Most sex offender registry searches on the market are private databases requiring verification of any record. All of One Source’s sex offender searches are done through the original sex offender registry, not through the private database. In fact, One Source’s Total Check searches 71 sex offender registries for every applicant, 50 States, Washington D.C., Puerto Rico, Guam and 18 Tribal Reservation sex offender registries.

5. Global Report

The Global Report is a private database of over 75 government watch lists including but not limited to the FBI Most Wanted, DEA Most Wanted, Office of Inspector General, Terrorist Watch List, OFAC and more. Once again, any records found through this privately held watch list are verified through the original government agency that maintains the list for accuracy.

One Source feels strongly that employers/end users should only see information that can be used. By acting as a full Third Party Administrator for your background checks we make sure that we deliver usable quality every day. If you have further questions about how Total Check helps employers to comply with the EEOC’s guidance or to make sure that your company Total Checks, call (855) 850-2258.

Christy Gammel

Christy received her Bachelor of Arts in Communication Studies from Nebraska Wesleyan University. Her minors are Marketing and Public Relations. She started at One Source in 2014 as the Project Specialist. With a few other positions in between, she is now the Marketing Supervisor.