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Background Checks On Independent Contractors

Employment Screening And Background Checks On Independent Contractors

Health care providers often have a particular requirement when it comes to screening independent contractors. The screening of independent contractors is an often overlooked screening issue. Most companies recognize the liability arising from independent contractors regarding workers’ comp and other insurance issues. Still, businesses must also consider that allowing independent contractors access to company personnel, records, and property can produce the same liabilities as any other employee. Therefore, a background check on all independent contractors is a significant risk management consideration.

As to releases, please see the FTC staff opinion letter reproduced below. A client who requested a background search on a new bookkeeper they were hiring. The bookkeeper would be treated as an independent contractor. Other than modifying the authorization form from employee to independent contractor, do you take any other steps for screening contractors who will NOT be employees?

FTC Opinion Letters on point regarding independent contractors:
http://www.ftc.gov/os/statutes/fcra/allison.shtm
http://www.ftc.gov/os/statutes/fcra/solomon.shtm
Barring, duress, or coercion, it seems to me that the authorization was legally obtained and is legally valid (assuming it was a separate document and contained all the requisite language). That said, if the consumer attempts to revoke the authorization during the background check process, it would be reasonable to cease the background. However, anything already processed/completed would seem to have been legally obtained, and anything already provided to the client would also seem to have been lawfully offered.
Vincent J. Pascarella, Esq., SPHR
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