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on April 23, 2021 Employment Background Screening FCRA Compliance

Sample Rejection Letter Due to Criminal Record on a Background Check

Sample Rejection Letter Due to Criminal Record on a Background Check

When you're ready to hire the right candidate, it's important to complete all the steps of vetting their reliability. After you've offered them the job, pending a background check, it is disappointing to find a negative result on the screening report. To remain FCRA compliant and to honor their consumer rights, you must notify the candidate of your withdrawal of the job offer. 

Read further to download a sample rejection letter due to a criminal record on a background check.


How to Assess the Criminal Record

Before you can decide to outright reject a candidate based on their criminal record, you must ensure that the record passes EEOC guidance for non-discriminatory hiring. This means that you've examined if the criminal record passes the following test to determine if the criminal conduct is job-related:

  • Does the nature or gravity of the offense relate to the job?
  • Have you examined the time that has passed since the offense or completion of the sentence?
  • Does the offense affect the nature of the job?

The EEOC also specifies that arrest records cannot be used to deny employment but an arrest record can "trigger an inquiry into whether the conduct underlying the arrest justifies an adverse employment action." A good practice is to set up your criminal records screening in relation to the job that's being hired and examine the record against a job-specific hiring decision matrix

Free: Online Applicant Consent Portal


How to Withdraw the Job Offer

Again, before you begin typing a rejection letter, remember that an FCRA-compliant screening process allows the candidate to review the same reporting results that may lose them the job. This means that you must first send a pre-adverse action notice that includes the following information:

  • A note informing them that you are considering adverse action due to the results of their background check.
  • Contact information for the background check company
  • A statement that the background check company is not the party taking the adverse action and cannot supply a reason for the adverse action
  • A notice of the applicant's right to obtain a second report, free of charge, from that same background check company within a time period not to exceed 60 days
  • A copy of "A Summary of Your Rights under the Fair Credit Reporting Act" which includes the right to dispute the information contained in the background check

If the candidate cannot dispute the information or does not dispute it in a timely manner, then you can send the rejection letter or adverse action notice. The letter would still include the information sent with the previous pre-adverse action notice including a statement that the job offer is withdrawn due to the results of the background check.


Sample Rejection Letter Template

You can download an editable sample pre-adverse action and adverse action letter at this link. The link also includes other templates and forms that are helpful for remaining compliant during your background check process, including a sample decision hiring matrix. 

If you have any other questions about criminal background checks or FCRA compliance, our FCRA certified team is here to help. Contact us at VeriFirst to learn more!

See How VeriFirst Performs  Background Checks and Drug Screening

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Ryan Howard

President / Partner @VeriFirst

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