To keep your company, your staff and your customers safe, you’ve made the smart decision to run pre-employment background checks. When researching background checks, you might have heard that complying with the laws about background checks can be extremely difficult, and in particular, if anything derogatory comes up on the background check, you must immediately send something called a 613a letter. Your next questions are probably these: What is a 613a letter, do I really need to send one, and when do I need to send it?
Background Checks and the FCRA
What you heard about the laws surrounding background checks is true: it is a minefield filled with extremely detailed rules and timings that dictate how a background check can be conducted, what information is permissible, what questions you can ask, how you can ask those questions, the forms you need to fill out before asking those questions, the font sizes on the forms you fill out, the signatures required here, the initials required there, and far, far more.
These background check rules are part of the FCRA (the Fair Credit Reporting Act), which is legislation enacted to promote the accuracy, fairness, and privacy of consumer information contained in the files of consumer reporting agencies. (Read more about the Background Checks and the FCRA here.)
What is a 613a Letter?
Buried deep within the FCRA is Section 613, which contains rules about what the hiring company and background check company must follow if the background check reveals any derogatory information that could possibly result in any kind of an “adverse action,” which could include a decision to not hire the applicant. Among other requirements, those rules specify that at the very same time the derogatory information is sent to the hiring company, the same information must be sent to the candidate.
What is a 613a Letter? A 613a letter is the name for this properly formatted and timed letter that must be sent to the applicant. It contains…
- A notice to the applicant that public record information is being reported by the consumer reporting agency (Background Runner) with the name and address of who the information is being reported to, i.e. you, the employer.
Background Runner sends the 613a letter automatically and also includes:
- A Summary of your rights under the Fair Credit Reporting Act
- Your State’s similar rights. In California it’s called “A Summary of Your Rights under California’s Consumer Credit Reporting Agencies Act”
- The actual report(s) sent to the employer
Basically, the 613a letter tells the applicant what was found and informs them that they can dispute the information if it is incorrect. It also gives the applicant “a right to cure” (a right to correct the information) if the information is inaccurate.
Do I Need To Send A 613a Letter? When?
The 613a Letter must be sent if any derogatory information is discovered about the applicant that may cause an “adverse action”, and must be sent “ at the time such public record information is reported to the user of such consumer report.”
What If The 613a Letter Is Not Sent Or It Is Written Incorrectly?
If the 613a letter is not sent or sent late, the employer and the background check company could both be in violation of the FCRA and the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission’s (EEOC) laws, both of which could result in hefty fines.
How To Ensure Your 613a Letter Is Sent Properly And On Time?
What is a 613a Letter and how can you be sure yours are sent properly and on time? Hire Background Runner, a background check company that follows the FCRA and EEOC regulations meticulously, and who will ensure that the 613a letter is sent on the employer’s behalf at exactly the right time and in exactly the right manner. Companies who want to avoid trouble with their 613a letters hire Background Runner to run their background checks. Background Runner knows the compliance issues to keep you out of trouble. Run your background checks with Background Runner. Contact us online or call us at 800-322-2850.