At the beginning of May, Corporate Screening (CS) advised you of the latest regulations that went into effect for Massachusetts Criminal Record Information (CORI) reform. This information was received from the Massachusetts Department of Criminal Justice Information Service (DCJIS).
Many of the specific requirements of the regulation were unclear at that time, due to ambiguity of the language used in the regulations. There were many requirements placed on employers regarding their use of criminal record information, whether the record information came from the Massachusetts CORI system, or if it came from another source. As a result, many employers and legal experts were baffled by the regulations and sought clarification from DCJIS (including our industry trade organization, NAPBS). Unfortunately, the DCJIS did not provide much clarification regarding the regulations and did not respond to some inconsistencies that were identified in the regulations.
That being said, the regulations are in effect and CS wants to make you aware of your obligations under Massachusetts law.
Please bear in mind that Corporate Screening does NOT provide CORI search results as part of a background investigation. Criminal information obtained in Massachusetts comes from a direct court search. Despite this, employers (ALL employers, even those that do not use a third-party for backgrounds) that complete more than five (5) backgrounds per year must follow the regulations outlined by the commonwealth when taking adverse action based on criminal information in a background report. Many of the requirements track with the federal Fair Credit Reporting Act that you should already be following, however there are some additional obligations, which are outlined below.
- Provide a copy of the background report, including the criminal record information, BEFORE speaking to the applicant about the criminal record.
- A copy of the company’s Background Check Policy
- Provide the applicant with the opportunity to dispute the information contained in the report*
*This right is part of the FCRA pre-adverse/adverse action procedures.
- A copy of the Massachusetts Information Concerning the Process In Correcting a Criminal Record** (available at http://www.mass.gov/eopss/docs/chsb/cori-process-correcting-criminal-record.pdf)
**Even though the criminal information was not obtained from CORI, employers are still required to provide this information to applicants.
- Employers must document their steps taken to comply with the regulations.
For more information or questions, please contact your account representative.