You Never Really Know

September 17, 2010

Provided by Federated Insurance

Sometimes you may be tempted to take shortcuts or overlook background checks on prospective employees, if you know them and feel they are trustworthy. But...you never really know.

Even though you use a hiring checklist for new employees and try to gather all the right information, you might miss something. Just because an employee's motor vehicle record (MVR) shows no violations, you cannot assume the driving record is spotless. If you don't ask to see the driver's license or check the number, you may not get an accurate MVR.

In some states, Social Security Numbers are used as drivers' license numbers. The Social Security Act allows any state to use the Social Security Number (SSN) to establish identity. However, individuals or the state may change drivers' license numbers for a variety of reasons.

Always ask to see the driver's license! Be sure to look at the license. Check to see if the driver has changed license numbers and use the current number and state of license when requesting MVRs. When an old license number is submitted, the MVR report may show "license expired." This may result in a dispute over the individual's status and cause unnecessary delays. It's important to follow up on reports that seem unusual. It may be a simple error-or it could be cause for concern.

There are conditions for furnishing and using consumer reports such as MVRs for employment purposes. Employers can get a consumer report on a prospective employee if the individual provides consent. To help comply with the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) requirements, you should have prospective or current employees sign a "notice" and/or "release" form before ordering MVRs*.

You can obtain MVRs from local law enforcement centers, your State Department of Motor Vehicles, a consumer-reporting agency, or an MVR vendor. Insurance companies can order MVRs for underwriting purposes, but may not provide copies or release the information to employers. However, the insurer can let you know whether the driver meets its standards for acceptability.

Businesses insured with Federated Insurance may use Federated's Driver Insurability Service to check the insurability of a prospective employee before hiring by calling 1.800.335.4687.

It is always important to check the MVR of any prospective employee who may drive a company vehicle. In most cases, ordering the report is a simple matter, especially if you have an MVR program in place. However, any time you receive a questionable report or one that shows "expired license" it pays to investigate further. You just never know.

*Information on the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA), 15 U.S.C. § 1681 may be found at this Federal Trade Commission web address: http://www.ftc.gov/os/statutes/fcra.htm

This article provided courtesy of Federated Mutual Insurance Company, your association’s recommended insurer.  This publication is intended to provide general recommendations regarding risk prevention.  It is not intended to include all steps or processes necessary to adequately protect you, your business or your customers. You should always consult your personal attorney and insurance professional for advice unique to you and your business.  ©Copyright 2010 Federated Mutual Insurance Company, All Rights Reserved. 

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