Tracepoint’s compliance officer, Ryan Judd, now holds NAPBS’ FCRA Advanced Certification. This is the industry’s highest level of compliance certification. According to NAPBS (the National Association for Professional Background Screeners), FCRA Advanced Certification covers the most critical areas of the FCRA and takes an in depth look at these topics as they relate to the background screening process. We sat down with Ryan to ask him some questions about his experience with the advanced certification course and why this certification matters to Tracepoint and to our clients.
What’s the main difference between the advanced certification and the basic certification?
“The basic certification course is great for introducing the FCRA as a whole and outlining exactly what one needs to be aware of when running backgrounds. This is why every single member of the Tracepoint team is required to become certified in FCRA Basics. The advanced certification course, however, really focuses in on the trickiest, most often confused, most easily misinterpreted areas of the FCRA. As we all know, FCRA violations have become an increasingly hot area for class action lawsuits, and lawyers are getting rich going after specific parts of the FCRA that are open to multiple interpretations. If the right lawyer gets his or her case in the right court with the right judge, a CRA, or even worse, a business owner, could be liable to pay a very high penalty. The advanced certification course dissects a lot of these opaque sections of the FCRA and picks them apart from different legal perspectives to show the risks involved and the best ways to mitigate these risks. The level of detail engaged in this course was much deeper than what is possible in the basic certification course.”
What was the best part of the advanced certification course?
“Because the course is led by legal experts who specialize in FCRA law, you are able to see through a lawyer’s perspective. Normally when I work with FCRA compliance, I am thinking from the perspective of a background screener and an employer, which helps me to tailor our best practices recommendations to fit the unique needs of our team and our clients. But the real advantage of this course is that I was exposed to a legal perspective that has helped me identify where my blind spots are and how best to remedy them. We now look at compliance issues the same way a litigious attorney does. We identify where exactly our clients become exposed to risk in the screening process, and then put procedures in place to close up that potential risk exposure.”
What is the goal of compliance at Tracepoint?
“The goal of our compliance team at Tracepoint isn’t necessarily to keep us safe from legal risk--because we’ve always been excessively attentive to compliance with the FCRA and with other state and local laws; honestly, our number one compliance goal is to keep our clients safe. We can guarantee that our background reports are 100% compliant, but we don’t have control over what a client does with those reports once we issue them. So what we strive to do is provide our clients with the best possible information on exactly what to do. Our goal is to design best practices guidelines and procedures that are simple and convenient to implement. We are not one size fits all compliance. We know our clients, and we know what is unique about them and what is unique to them. We know a great deal about their particular industries. Our goal is to make compliance work for their particular business, not the other way around.”
Why does having FCRA Advanced Certification matter?
“I would be wary of allowing any company that doesn’t hold this certification to run background checks. FCRA compliance is too complicated, and the legal stakes are too high to have untrained personnel running background checks. Mistakes will be made, and, ultimately, the clients are the ones who will be exposed to the legal consequences of a class action lawsuit. You wouldn’t want an untrained person doing dental work on you or an unlicensed plumber fixing your pipes. The same is true of running background checks. There is a very specific body of knowledge and specific skills required to perform a legally compliant, accurate background check. And it’s important to note that we’re not just talking about money; we’re also talking about people’s lives and livelihoods. The consequences of a bad background check can be devastating for an applicant. As an employer, you owe it to your employees to provide a safe work environment, and you also have a responsibility to your applicants to provide them with a fair and equal opportunity at employment. There’s no better way of guaranteeing that than with a properly executed background check.”