Archive for October, 2008

FCRA (Fair Credit Reporting Act) Covers Background As Well As Credit Reporting

Friday, October 24th, 2008

The critical background information you need to effectively screen volunteers is very likely covered under the federal FCRA. The standards and guidelines for all information gathered about an individual are covered by the FCRA. Any ‘consumer report’ prepared by a third-party consumer reporting agency reporting ‘character, general reputation, personal characteristics, and mode of living’ of an individual are regulated by the FCRA.

Checklist for Volunteer Screening

Thursday, October 23rd, 2008

An important first step in volunteer screening isn’t actually a part of the screening process itself. However, in order to comply with anti-discrimination laws, it’s important to have clear job descriptions for each volunteer position, and to then assess that position for it’s potential risk and liability. Every volunteer for each position should have the same screening steps applied. All applicants should have the basic screening of completing an application, signing a volunteer agreement, and probably face-to-face interviews. As a position requires (and all might), a final step for each applicant being considered would be a background check. That background check should always include calling references, and may include criminal background check and verification of licensing and education.

Background Check Your Volunteers…but Only After Getting Their Consent

Wednesday, October 22nd, 2008

Each volunteer should sign a disclosure authorizing a background check, before you do such screening. Background screening reports, like credit reports, are regulated in what they can include and how they are used by the FCRA (Fair Credit Reporting Act). Additionally, local and state laws will affect the kinds of information available in background reports. Volunteer organizations should consult an attorney, or hire an experienced screening company, in order to comply with all privacy and discrimination laws.

Take Care with Criminal Background Checks

Saturday, October 4th, 2008

A comprehensive criminal background check can be an important tool in your volunteer screening activities. Be sure that it is performed within the law as to the type of information requested. To protect your organization against discrimination claims, you should also perform the same check on each volunteer for a given position in your organization.

Risk Management

Thursday, October 2nd, 2008

Managing risk and reducing liability is an important consideration for most volunteer organizations, for many reasons. One of the key components in risk management is volunteer screening.

Good Risk Management Plan

Other steps to creating a good risk management plan are to review and update your organization’s insurance coverage, review your state’s regulations and restrictions regarding children and youth if your volunteers work with children (or you have youth volunteers), be sure to follow consistent screening procedures for all volunteers, make sure to provide all volunteers with proper training and supervision, and have all volunteers sign volunteer agreements (often these will include liability waivers).

Can I Ask Volunteers for Date of Birth for Background Check?

Wednesday, October 1st, 2008

If your organization intends to complete background checks on all volunteers for a given position in the organization, it is acceptable to request date of birth for the purpose of a background screening.

Do be sure that you ask for the information on a separate ‘tear-off’ part of the application, and make it clear that the information will be disposed of as soon as it is used for the background check. It cannot become part of any permanent file.