The Truth About FBI Background Checks

The Truth About FBI Background Checks

Employers who are familiar with criminal background checks may have experienced some degree of confusion or frustration when researching their options. A popular assumption often made is that all background checks go through the Federal Bureau of Investigation and that all criminal records are checked. In reality, most corporate background checks are run through the U.S. Court System.

Employers who are required to run FBI Background Checks should know what information they are accessing. Employers who are not authorized to run these searches  may be relieved.

In this article, we will answer the questions about FBI Background Checks…

• What are they?
• Who can run them?
• How complete are they?

What are FBI Background Checks?

The Federal Bureau of investigation and state law enforcement agencies have access to a national criminal database called the National Crime Information Center, NCIC. The NCIC is a computerized index of criminal justice information, such as criminal records, fugitives, stolen properties, and missing persons maintained by the FBI’s Criminal Justice Information Services Division in Clarksburg West Virginia.

Who can obtain FBI Background Checks?

It is absolutely illegal for most private companies to obtain criminal information from law enforcement computer databases without specific legal authorization. There are three situations where this information is provided to private employers.

  1. A state may pass legislation authorizing such a check. Examples include education, childcare, and water treatment plant workers.
  2. The federal government may require a FBI criminal check. Examples include nuclear plant workers and certain positions in transportation.
  3. Some types of employers have been given direct access to the FBI, such as banking institutions through the American banking Association ABA.

How Compete Are FBI Background Checks?

In July 2013, The National Employment Law Project (NELP) published a detailed report called “WANTED: Accurate FBI Background Checks for Employment.” The following is a summary of their key findings:

  • “The use of FBI background checks for employment is rapidly increasing. Roughly 17 million FBI background checks were conducted for employment and licensing purposes in 2012…”
  • “Despite federal mandates that require the background check reports to be clear and accurate, 50 percent of the FBI’s records fail to include information on the final disposition of the case…”
  • “NELP estimates that 1.8 million workers a year are subject to FBI background checks that include faulty or incomplete information…”
  • “African Americans are especially disadvantaged by the faulty records because people of color are consistently arrested at rates greater than their representation in the general population, and large numbers of those arrested never lead to conviction.”
  • “In conspicuous contrast to background checks for employment, the FBI searches for missing disposition information when a person seeks to purchase a gun, and the extra effort tracks down nearly two thirds of the missing information in just three days.”

To view or download the complete 41 page NELP study, Click Here extlink

U.S. Information Search is a national background & substance abuse screening company located in Rockland County N.Y. As a trusted partner to business clients in every state, we have been delivering reliable, current and complete information to thousands of companies since 1999.

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