Society Supports Investigation Clarification Act

Security Management, July 2001 | Go to article overview

Society Supports Investigation Clarification Act


ASIS has announced its support for HR. 1543, The Civil Rights and Employee Investigation Clarification Act, introduced by Members of Congress Pete Sessions (R-TX) and Sheila Jackson-Lee (D-TX). The bill, which will be ASIS's top legislative priority this year, would amend the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) to make it easier for workplace misconduct to be investigated by private agencies or individuals. Such investigations have been stymied since the enactment of restrictive amendments to the FCRA.

The Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA), enforced by the Federal Trade Commission, is designed to promote accuracy and ensure the privacy of the information used in consumer reports, such as those prepared by credit bureaus. Under FCRA, employees are characterized as "consumers" and private investigators as "credit reporting agencies."

Under the current law, therefore, investigative reports, such as background checks, are consumer reports. Thus, employers are prohibited from hiring private investigators to probe alleged misconduct without first notifying the subject of the investigation. Afterward, they must reveal the results to the subject, including the names and comments of witnesses.

H.R. 1543 would amend the FCRA to exclude from the current definition of consumer report investigative results of suspected misconduct relating to employment or compliance with federal, state, or local laws and regulations; the rules of a self-regulatory organization; or any preexisting written policies of the employer. …

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