The landscape continues to change as it pertains to criminal background checks on both the federal and state level.  Most recently, the state of Massachusetts has passed a reform regarding Criminal Offender Record Information (CORI). 

If you are an employer that utilizes Massachusetts county criminal searches, there are new rules regarding what is allowable.  In short, the CORI reform involves both the creation of a company CORI policy, as well as specific adverse action procedures that must be taken.  If you conduct more than 5 searches in MA per year, you are required to maintain a CORI policy.  It is important that the minimum standards are met by the written CORI policy by every company.

With regards to adverse action, Massachusetts has developed specific procedures that are to be utilized in addition to the FCRA guidelines.  Before taking adverse action based on an applicant’s criminal history in MA, it is important that the following is adhered to by an employer.

A)    A copy of the criminal history must be provided to the applicant prior to the applicant being asked about it

B)    The employer must be in compliance with applicable state and federal laws

C)    A pre-adverse action notification must be provided, whether in person, phone, fax, electronic or hard copy

D)    Provide the applicant with a copy of the CORI policy

E)    Give the applicant an opportunity to dispute the accuracy of information found on the criminal background check

F)    Be sure to document all steps taken in the adverse action process

Criminal background checks are a commonly utilized item in an employment screening package.  Whether you conduct searches in MA or other states, make sure you have an understanding of the specific laws that are found within each state, as well as any applicable federal laws.  PeopleG2 can help navigate these issues and provide you with a background check that meets all applicable background check standards.

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