CORI: Why are they Important?

CORI stands for Criminal Offender Record information. It is important to know what is in your CORI report. There is CORI on you if you have ever been charged with a crime in a Massachusetts court. Your CORI report is a list of your criminal charges. It includes all cases even if you were found not guilty or the case was dismissed. You can obtain a copy of your CORI from the Department of Criminal Justice Information Services (DCJIS).

When applying for employment many Companies are requiring CORI checks which makes it harder to get a job, housing, or even volunteer at your child’s school. Even if your criminal record is very old, it can still create problems. Many companies have bad hiring experiences and they believe a CORI check will help them to weed out potential problem in their organization. These checks are often used by employers as a means of judging a job candidate’s past mistakes, character, and fitness, and to identify potential hiring risks for safety and security reasons.

Conducting background checks on a perspective employee is a crucial part of any hiring process. Employment screening can take anywhere from one to five days in most cases. This often depends on the type of background check an employer is running and myriad other circumstances. Therefore, employers may extend an offer pf employment to you, conditional on passing the CORI check. Your rights under the offer are most important. An unconditional job offer is a legally binding contract of employment. However, a ‘conditional’ job offer can be withdrawn if the person doesn’t meet the employer’s conditions (eg. satisfactory references and health record or CORI).

The new regulations limit the information that will be available within a CORI report. Now a report will contain pending cases and convictions for 10 years for felony offenses and five years for misdemeanors. Some crimes such as murder, manslaughter and sex offenses will remain on file for longer.

Sealed charges, or charges that are dismissed, resulted in no findings or resulted in a not-guilty decision, will no longer be included in a CORI report. While an individual may request to seal felony charges after 10 years and misdemeanor charges after 5 years, certain sex offenses and other crimes are not eligible for sealing.

As an employer is now required to follow tighter documentation rules, including retaining an applicant’s signed acknowledgment form for one year following a CORI request. An employer cannot keep a CORI report on file for longer than seven years after an employee’s last working day or after an adverse hiring decision.

Since May 4, 2012, employers are able to register for access to iCORI, a new website. The Department of Criminal Justice Information Services (DCJIS) manages the CORI database and will issue regulations to assist in the implementation of the CORI changes.

To comply with the new requirements an employer should review and update their background screening programs to accommodate changes in CORI regulations. Final candidates must complete a background check authorization form and return it to Human Resources. [In Massachusetts, we require an employment offer prior to conducting a background check, employers should require the completion of a background check authorization form at the time the offer of employment is extended.]

Human Resources will order the background check upon receipt of the signed release form, and either internal HR staff or an employment screening service such as Dube Consulting will conduct the checks. A designated HR representative will review all results.

The HR representative will notify the hiring manager regarding the results of the check. In instances where negative or incomplete information is obtained, the appropriate management and the director of Human Resources will assess the potential risks and liabilities related to the job’s requirements and determine whether the individual should be hired. If a decision not to hire or promote a candidate is made based on the results of a background check, there may be certain additional Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) requirements that will be handled by Human Resources in conjunction with the employment screening service (if applicable).

Background check information will be maintained in a file separate from employees’ personnel files for a minimum of five years. If you still have questions, let us here from you. If you wish to have Dube Consulting perform these checks on your behalf, contact us.

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