Working with a professionally accredited organization for background screening offers many advantages to consumer reporting agency (CRA) clients. 

What is a professionally accredited screening organization?

The Professional Background Screening Association (PBSA) is a non-profit organization that provides background screening companies and consumers with educational opportunities, practical guidance, and resources regarding legal compliance and ethical business practices.  PBSA also works as an advocate on legislative and regulatory matters.

What is the role of this organization in the background check screening industry? 

The guidance provided helps both CRAs and their clients understand the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) and other industry laws and guidance. The PBSA provides a significant level of accountability and standards of excellence for accredited agencies. They also advocate for reasonable screening standards and legislation via hands-on lobbying groups in Washington DC.

What does the PBSA stamp of approval mean for employers when they are looking for a background screening partner?

PBSA offers an accreditation program, BSAAP (Background Screening Agency Accreditation Program), for CRAs in the US. BSAAP accreditation has become a widely recognized seal of approval for CRAs who are committed to achieving excellence through high professional standards with accountability that results in continued improvement. In an industry with hundreds and hundreds of screening providers, less than 1 in 5 CRAs are accredited.  

In order to become accredited, CRAs must demonstrate initial and ongoing compliance with rigorous standards that ensure compliance with the FCRA. Accredited firms must document their policies and procedures in each of the areas within the BSAAP standards. Companies that are not accredited are not required to be held to any standards. While they should be following the FCRA regulations, they are not held accountable by any agency and they do not go through audits to prove their compliance.

PBSA Accredited Agencies Help Their Clients Stay Abreast of Trends  

An accredited agency is continually researching the impact of new legislation. Even though an employer has a direct, legal obligation to understand the law and its implications, a PBSA accredited screening organization is attuned to the most important compliance changes and the impact on screening. 

For example, PBSA and its members have been engaged in the recent Michigan date of birth (DOB) redaction from public records. As screening agencies and their clients know, DOB is a critical verification requirement to confirm personal identity and validate record findings. This legislation could potentially freeze hiring due to the inability to conduct research. The PBSA worked tirelessly to impact the fast-moving Michigan legislature, and built a call-to-action that resulted in a 6 month delay to the ruling. When seeking a screening partner, it’s important to know whether your organization will be alerted and engaged when potential legislative impacts arise.  

What are some other trends an accredited agency will be watching for in the coming months and years? 

  • An increase in litigation, including new areas of litigation. Accuracy claims are surfacing the most. The plaintiff bar has become creative when making arguments with the court about maximum possible accuracy.
  • Remote employees and the impact on the ability to screen and monitor 
  • New marijuana laws that impact background screening and drug testing standards are expected to be on the rise
  • Ever-growing – and potentially even federal-level laws – for both “ban the box” and salary history bans
  • An increase in FCRA lawsuits. There is an increased expectation of privacy, where consumers take legal action if they believe personal information is misused. 

How can InCheck help?

InCheck is professionally accredited by the Professional Background Screening Association. InCheck and its executives engage frequently with PBSA initiatives and events in order to help navigate the many complex and ever-changing national legislation. 

If your organization is looking for a fresh start and a consultative review of your current screening process, please contact us for a free check-in or learn more about our Small Business program here.

Disclaimer: This blog is for general informational purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice.

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