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Automatic Scoring of Results

Question:  Can we have our consumer reporting agency (“CRA”) automatically attribute a score or grade to various components of a background check result?

Response & Analysis:

Yes, it is permissible to provide your CRA with well-defined scoring criteria to consistently apply to the individual components of a background check. However, such scoring criteria should be used only as a preliminary tool to determine which results require review and which ones are acceptable, or “clear,” and require no further review. Scoring criteria may not be used as a means of making an adverse employment decision without any further individualized analysis.

The key is review. Scoring can improve the hiring process by limiting the universe of screening results to those that actually require review, while expeditiously routing passable, “clear” results to continue on to the next step of hiring. By attributing a priority of review, scoring can also increase efficiencies in the hiring process.

Certain results always require review. Any criminal result “hits,” in particular, require an individual assessment that should be conducted in conjunction with the April 2012 guidance set forth by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (the “EEOC”). By conducting an individualized review and considering the EEOC guidelines, you can both avoid running afoul of antidiscrimination laws and afford an applicant the opportunity to be properly considered.

Any scoring criteria that uses terms like “fail” or “stop” should be avoided as such criteria may be perceived as intended to be an absolute bar to employment or that an adverse employment decision has already been made. Scoring criteria should not be used as a means of making an adverse employment decision without any further individualized analysis. It is important that well-defined, consistently applied scoring criteria is used only as a means of expeditiously filtering forward “pass” or “clear” results while holding those results that should be reviewed and considered on an individual basis.

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This document and/or presentation is provided as a service to our customers. Its contents are designed solely for informational purposes, and should not be inferred or understood as legal advice or binding case law, nor shared with any third parties. Persons in need of legal assistance should seek the advice of competent legal counsel. Although care has been taken in preparation of these materials, we cannot guarantee the accuracy, currency or completeness of the information contained within it. Anyone using this information does so at his or her own risk.

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