Background Screening Best Practices For The Sharing Economy

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Pre-employment checks are a common staple in the employment sector and best practices by industry are firmly established at this point.

Background screening for the Sharing Economy, on the other hand, is still a novel concept. The meteoric rise of this new sector is now raising the question: do standard background screening practices apply to an economy composed exclusively of a contract labor force?

Furthermore, consider that the California Labor Commissioner recently determined an employment relationship may exist with respect to participants and service providers in the Sharing Economy.

Because this is an area that is still emerging and evolving, there may not be a quick and simple answer for companies trying to better understand background screening requirements in the collaborative economy.

However, established precedent and practices from contingent labor background screening can provide a useful guide.

To avoid creating potential legal complications, technology companies operating in the Sharing Economy space should pay attention to three aspects of background screening:

1. Process Always obtain written consent first before initiating the screen.

  • Only screen users according to relevant job roles.
  • Conduct “staged” screening – it’s more cost-effective and efficient.
  • Create a notification process for those who may not immediately pass their screen which includes the appropriate pre and post adverse notices including background result dispute procedures.
  • Implement a system to re-rescreen users on a periodic basis.
  • Educate users up front about what is expected from them. Users familiar with the requirements of a background screen tend to complete their screens faster and are more likely to be satisfied with the process.

2. Technology

  • Make it quick and easy for the user to complete the background check. Screening should be fully integrated into your native application.
  • Regardless of which option you choose, ensure that the entire screening process can be completed quickly and easily directly from a mobile device.
  • Screening cannot be fully automated because many courts and jurisdictions only provide paper records, searchable in person. Thus, quick public records searches via a simple API do not exist in all jurisdictions. Ensure that your technology vendor does not expose you to unnecessary risk by conducting incomplete or partial screens.
  • Partner with a screening provider who understands the nuances of screening, from technology to regulations to user experience.

3. Policy and Regulations

  • Maintain a consistent and documented screening policy.
  • Mind established regulations: The Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) and Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) laws are bound to apply to employers and non-employers alike.
  • “Ban the Box” laws may be geared at employers but this legislative movement is rapidly gaining steam. Best to be aware.
  • Are you providing services in a regulated sector (e.g. health care, etc.)? Observe special rules that may apply, such as professional license verifications.
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Abdul Rastagar

I lead the Product Marketing team at HireRight. I am a customer advocate, digital and future enthusiast, technologist, and all around curious guy.

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