This article will explain how to stay compliant with your applicant release (authorization and disclosure release form), so you don’t have to risk having a lawsuit brought against you.

According to the National Association of Professional Background Screeners, an Authorization and Disclosure represents the following: Before an End-User (employer, landlord, etc.) may request a Consumer Report on an individual, the End-User must get the individual’s consent. For an employment purpose, the employer must notify the individual in writing (disclosure) and the individual must grant permission for the report to be prepared (authorization). This occurs via an electronic or actual (wet) signature. Authorization and Disclosure forms are often referred to as “consent forms” and “release forms.”

Ask yourself these questions regarding stay compliant with your applicant release:

  • Do you have everyone sign a document authorizing the background check prior to requesting a background check?
    • Ensure all staff in your organization have the same most up to date authorization and disclosure available.
    • One Source provides a sample disclosure and authorization form. See Sample.
  • Does your signature comply with the e-Sign Act? To ensure compliance with electronic signature requirements, we recently sent an email to our clients with options for their account:

OPTION A: Applicant must physically sign a document stating the applicant authorizes an electronic signature. The following verbiage can be used as an example for this document:

“I understand that as part of my application for employment with [Employer], I will be required to electronically sign an authorization allowing a consumer report (background check) to be obtained about me. This shall serve as a written notification of that electronic signature.”

OPTION B: Applicant must sign a separate disclosure and authorization. Sample releases available upon request.

  1. This release must be a standalone document, consisting solely of the disclosure and authorization.
  2. It may NOT be included in an application.
  3. It may NOT include an indemnification statement.

See FCRA for full details and consult legal counsel when appropriate.

OPTION C: Applicant may sign an electronic release via Adobe eSign. Using Adobe ESign for your electronic release will fulfill all requirements of electronic signature compliance. Contact One Source to be set up with Adobe ESign. This service is $1.00 per applicant and is eSign Act compliant.

  • Does your disclosure include what types of background checks/searches will be completed?
  • Is your disclosure a standalone document?
    • The disclosure form should not contain any HR or administrative statements, or buried in an application.
  • Does your document contain any waiver of liability?
    • Authorizations often contain verbiage that releases the liability of the organization, which is not allowed according to the Fair Credit Reporting Act.
  • Do you provide access or a copy of the Fair Credit Reporting Act Rights? Make sure your version is the most current: Summary of your rights under the Fair Credit Reporting Act
  • Is the Consumer Reporting Agency (CRA) provided?
    • The name of the company performing the background screening.
    • If One Source completes your background checks, you need to include “One Source The Background Check Company, PO Box 24148 Omaha NE 68124 and” so the applicant knows who will be reporting the information.

These act as guidelines. One Source The Background Check Company cannot offer legal advice regarding your authorization and disclosure and recommend you seek legal counsel when reviewing your releases. We love to assist with questions about the consent at any time. We believe with the above simple review you can stay in compliance and avoid recent litigation occurring in the field.

Ashley Azar

With over 9 years in the background screening industry, Ashley works with One Source clients to meet their specific needs and expectations. Having worked in several different departments, Ashley has vast experience in all of the services that One Source offers. This experience helps ensure clients are meeting their hiring and retention needs. With each association, the challenge of onboarding and policy excites Ashley.