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The Latest Update: Salary History Bans

Just a quick look at the latest in state/local legislature regarding employer restrictions on salary history inquiries during the employment process. Take a read, and be sure to also review your employment program for any updates that need to be made as a result of these new laws.

Alabama
Effective August 1, 2019, employers are prohibited from refusing to interview, hire, promote, employ or retaliate against any candidate because they did not provide wage history information.

Maine
Effective September 17, 2019, employers are prohibited from using or inquiring about the compensation history provided by a candidate or their current or former employer until a job offer is made that includes all terms of compensation negotiated with the candidate.

Kansas City, Missouri
Effective October 31, 2019, employers with six or more employees are prohibited from inquiring about a candidate’s salary history.

Washington State
Effective July 28, 2019, Washington’s Equal Pay and Opportunities Act prohibits employers from:

  • Seeking a candidate’s wage or salary history, either from the candidate or their current or former employer.
  • Requiring a candidate’s prior wage or salary history to meet certain criteria.

Here’s a great link to READ MORE about state and local employment law developments. And as always, if you have any questions about your current employment program, don’t hesitate to reach out to us. We’re happy to help.

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Background Screening at a Glance

Most employers know the value background screening provides as an efficient way to protect a company’s property and assets. At A-Check, we regularly consult with clients to help them develop a program that represents a suitable balance between automated services providing the quickest turnaround, to more comprehensive services that add time but return far more applicant information.

Part of this conversation typically revolves around criminal record searches and the difference between Database Searches and Primary Source Searches.

Database Searches are self-explanatory in that they are “instant” searches of third-party databases. These have quick turnaround times.

Primary Source Searches are more labor intensive since they can require an in-person visit to a local courthouse at the county, state or federal level. Depending on the jurisdiction these courts are in—and their method of recordkeeping—these searches can potentially add to your background screen turnaround time.

So what do A-Check clients usually request?

By processing millions of files annually, we see patterns in the background screening requests we receive, and use that experience to help our clients quickly determine what will best meet their needs. Here’s a very quick illustration representing a quicker turnaround option A (a due diligence screen with more than 80% returned same day), on up to option C (a full background screen with greater levels of accuracy and results, but requiring additional time).

         OPTION A                            OPTION B                           OPTION C

Social Security Trace Social Security Trace Social Security Trace
NATCRIM Database* NATCRIM Database* NATCRIM Database*
County Searches* County Searches*
Statewide Locator (where available)*
Federal District
National Sex Offender Database
Employment Verification* Employment Verification* Employment Verification*
Education Verification* Education Verification*
Add’l Previous Employment Verification

* All “hits” from the Nationwide Database searched at county level to comply with FCRA. County service completed per name/county searched.

We know you may have questions, and our knowledgeable representatives welcome the opportunity to chat with you. Feel free to call 877-345-2021, or reach out to us at clientsupport@acheckglobal.com.

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Nevada Becomes First State to Restrict Employer Use of Pre-Employment Marijuana Testing

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Just a quick note to illustrate how pre-employment drug testing continues to evolve as legislation addresses increasing legalization of Marijuana for medicinal and recreational use. On June 5, 2019, the Nevada Governor signed Assembly Bill 132, making it unlawful for any Nevada employer to fail or refuse to hire an employment candidate who tests positive for marijuana on a pre-employment drug test. This law is effective January 1, 2020, and while of course there are exceptions (positions for firefighters and emergency technicians for example), it illustrates that more and more employers in the future may need to review their drug testing or substance abuse policies as legislation potentially changes state by state.

We welcome you to READ MORE.

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Our Compliance Commitment to Clients

When it comes to keeping pace with the ever changing compliance landscape, you’d be amazed at just how many valuable resources we have in place to maintain our steadfast commitment to compliance and data accuracy. These valuable resources play a big role in helping keep your employment program compliant, in providing you with the highest quality background screening services available, and toward the ongoing protection and privacy of your data.

To achieve this level of service, our compliance framework includes processes designed to maximize reporting accuracy, limit disputes, and communicate updates to laws and regulations that govern the background screening process:

  1. Our Compliance Department consults with internal and external legal counsel for ongoing interpretation of law as well as regular analysis of federal and state requirements for consumer reporting.
  2. Our Compliance Department closely monitors regulation via legal blogs, case law, published opinion, and published information from our industry organization, the National Association of Professional Background Screeners (NAPBS).
  3. Our Quality Control Department audits 100% of report information before it is delivered to clients to maximize accuracy. And, we maintain comprehensive policies and procedures to help ensure that work is done accurately, efficiently, and with clients’ business rules and program compliance in mind.

By focusing on things that matter to you like regulatory compliance, quality management, and data security, A-Check Global has maintained an audited accuracy rate of >99.9%. But you don’t have to just take our word for how committed we are to compliance. We proudly maintain NAPBS accreditation and hold ISO 9001:2015 Certification.

We love keeping you in the know. If you’d like to receive our monthly compliance email, we invite you to subscribe by sending your name, company, and email address to marketing@acheckglobal.com. We’ll be happy to present you our next issue.

If you have any questions or would like to learn more about how A-Check Global is here for you please feel free to contact us at 877-345-2021 or email questions@acheckglobal.com.

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The “Ban the Box” Trend Continues

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Background Screening continues to evolve as more jurisdictions pass legislation limiting the use of criminal record history during the employment process. Here’s the latest:

COLORADO:

On May 28, 2019, the Colorado Governor signed a new law prohibiting employers from asking about criminal history on an initial employment application. This restriction will begin applying to employers (with 11 or more employees) on September 1, 2019, and then to ALL employers as of September 1, 2021. This grace period gives employers additional time to update policies and practices. READ MORE

NEW MEXICO:

On April 3, 2019, the New Mexico Governor signed two bills into law. The first is a Ban the Box law (in effect June 14, 2019) prohibiting private employers from inquiring about an applicant’s criminal history on an employment application. The second law (in effect January 1, 2020) will allow certain arrest/conviction records to petition the court for expungement. READ MORE

NEW HAMPSHIRE:

Additionally, the New Hampshire House just passed a bill that—if signed into law—would restrict employers from asking about criminal history on a job application, as well as prohibit a company from conducting a criminal background check before an interview. READ MORE

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Three Recruitment Strategies to Connect with Applicants

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Connecting with—and hiring—top talent seems to get more challenging every day. As you’re looking for your next great hire, keep these recruiting strategies in mind.

Strategy 1: Mobile Friendly is a Must

It’s been estimated that by 2025, 72% will use only their mobile phone for internet access—making it imperative to do all you can to reach out through mobile channels: a mobile-responsive career-page, text messaging services, or an app allowing candidates to seamlessly apply for open positions via smartphone.

Strategy 2: Rebounds are for Basketball AND Former Employees

Rehiring former employees is now much more acceptable than it was in the past (perhaps an effect of the gig economy). Former employees can offer solid value from the offset since they are more affordable to onboard and train than new employees. They’re also easier to reach and establish contact with than strangers who might respond to your job ads. Plus, if your employee left on good terms for another opportunity, their return could boost company morale and loyalty. Take a good look at those exit interviews to find former employees who would potentially welcome a new offer.

Strategy 3: Keep an Eye on College Grads

While hiring new college graduates isn’t exactly an innovation, it’s still a solid employment strategy. The sheer volume of the talent pool available makes campus recruitment a must-have component in your hiring arsenal. Live where grads live—social media. Establishing Twitter feeds, blogs, Facebook and LinkedIn pages with current job openings and clear, concise job descriptions should be a core part of any good employment recruiting program. Promote job openings on Facebook. Send Twitter feeds to highlight entry–level jobs. These are sure-fire ways to promote your organization to a large pool of recent college graduates.

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Marijuana and Drug Testing

The laws surrounding the use of marijuana vary greatly from state to state. Many states have come to accept the use of marijuana for medical reasons, and a few others have even legalized it for recreational use.

But because marijuana is still illegal under federal law, this widely differing legislation can cause problems for a job applicant or employee who tests positive on a drug test.

Federal and State Drug Testing Laws

Under federal law marijuana (cannabis) is classified as a Schedule I substance. Employers in industries that are heavily regulated by the federal government (FAA, FMCSA, FTA, FRA, PHMSA, etc.) are mandated to drug test all new hires and screen employees on a random basis. Non-federally regulated employers aren’t subject to federal laws, but may still have to comply with state and local government laws regulating drug testing.

So how long can marijuana remain in a person’s system?

Though the effects of THC—the main chemical in marijuana—wear off within a few hours of ingesting marijuana, traces of the chemical can remain in the body for weeks. There is no perfect formula for determining exactly how long marijuana stays in someone’s system prior to performing a urine, saliva or hair drug test. However, people who smoked or ingested marijuana in the last:

  • 24-72 hours can fail a saliva test
  • 30-45 days can fail a urine test
  • Up to 90 days can fail a hair follicle test

Factors that can affect how long marijuana stays in a person’s system:

Frequency of use: Someone who has been using marijuana for many years or who uses it daily is likely to have a build-up of THC in their system, meaning it will take longer to leave the body.

Concentration levels of THC: Marijuana can have varying levels TCH potency. If marijuana with a higher THC potency is used, metabolites will remain in the body for longer periods of time.

Methods of use: How marijuana is used can have a significant impact on the amount of time it is detectable. If marijuana is smoked, the THC levels in the drug user’s body will drop within a few hours or days of ceasing use. However, marijuana will still show up on a urine or blood drug test for up to 45 days or more after the last time it was smoked. But if it is ingested, it is metabolized more slowly and will remain detectable longer.

Rate of metabolism: Every person who smokes marijuana has a rate of metabolism that is completely different and this can dramatically alter the way the body breaks down THC. In turn, this can very easily change how many days marijuana will stay in the users system, and ultimately result in a failed drug test.

General Health and Body Weight: THC is stored in the body’s fatty tissue. Those with less fat in their body will clear their system of THC faster than those who have more fat.

Employers have the right to maintain drug and alcohol free work environments through the use of substance abuse screening programs. They just have to make sure they are doing so in compliance with all applicable local, state, and federal laws and regulations. The best practice is to have a comprehensive drug testing policy which clearly informs applicants and employees of all expectations.

For further reference, here’s a great infographic from Quest Diagnostics that quickly illustrates marijuana legislation by state.

We are here to help!

If you have questions about developing a drug-free policy, or about your current screening program, please don’t hesitate to reach out to us. Contact A-Check Global here to get started.

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Improving the Candidate Experience

We’ve all been there as job seekers. On the hunt for your first, or next, “dream” job, and hoping for a positive interviewing experience. If you’re on the other side of the table as an employer, it is mission critical to understand the experience you present makes all the difference to your next great hire.

This candidate experience—a term used to describe how candidates feel about your company as they progress through your hiring process—can be positive or negative, depending on how they perceive your company’s treatment of candidates. A bad experience can lead them to lose respect for your company. For example, a bad experience at a restaurant might prompt you to avoid a return visit and perhaps even warn others with tales of your experience. The same thing happens when a candidate has a negative experience with your company. A positive experience however, can encourage candidates to become enthusiastic ambassadors for your brand—even if they don’t ultimately land the job.

Your company’s ability to successfully attract and recruit top talent depends on how well you manage the hiring process. The process is certainly complicated, but try not to lose sight of opportunities to delight your candidates in these areas:

  • The Application: Is you application intuitive? Mobile friendly? Simple and straightforward? Is your application simply an algorithm for keywords, or are you building a process that allows for a candidate’s personality to shine through? Perhaps take a few minutes and apply for a position in your company to see how long the process takes, if all directions make sense, if the look and feel of the application is fresh and current, and if you are able to submit with an initial sense of what your company is all about.
  • Interviewing: Many companies have an involved interview process, with initial and second or third interviews. Take a look at your process. Are your candidates meeting with team panels? One-on-one interviews? Are they waiting to be seen, or is your process a well-oiled tour for candidates so they spend more time with your teams and less time in your lobby. For candidates, the most important thing to do is follow up after the interview to reiterate interest in the position. Likewise, communication along the way is an important step for employers looking to make the most of the candidate experience.
  • Assessment: If you’re assigning standardized tests to assess your candidate’s personality type, talent for the job, cognition, and/or emotional intelligence, are you doing so with full explanation and guidance? Once again, take the tests yourself to see what the process is like. Are these tests available online and are they mobile friendly?
  • Pre-Employment Screening: These days, it’s widely accepted that there will be some manner of background check prior to employment. Have you partnered with a background screening vendor—like A-Check Global—that helps make the process easy, intuitive, and a positive reflection of your company’s commitment to quality hiring?
  • Hiring: We like to refer to it as “Speed to Seat”—the length of time it typically takes for you to fill a position. It can vary of course based on the position, but are you doing all you can to setup interviews, present job offers, and welcome new employees efficiently to your team?

Providing meaningful touch points for every candidate doesn’t have to be difficult and in many cases, just a few adjustments can radically improve the candidate experience. It never hurts to review your hiring process. And if you know where the biggest pain points lie, making improvements in those areas can really make your candidates feel like they made the right decision to apply.

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How Recruiters add Value in the Age of Online Job-boards

 

Recruiter 2

We read a great article recently regarding the continuing rise of the online job search, and the value proposition of recruiting professionals in this digital age. Turns out, recruiters have adapted and refined their focus on offering services that continue to make them extremely valuable to organizations—maybe more so than ever before. You can read the article here, but we wanted to quickly summarize for you as well.

Recruiters provide coaching throughout the hiring process

There’s nothing like personal service—at A-Check, we know full well how important client support is to strengthening a business partnership. Recruiters can work directly with organizations to not only develop hiring strategies, but also provide guidance along the way for each and every hire.

Recruiters may be a better alternative to “Post and Pray”

If you are hiring through an online source, chances are you sift through a ton of candidates who are simply blasting their resumes to every keyword hit possible. While this may be a successful tactic, you may have certain positions that might benefit from the efficiency of professional assistance.

Recruiters can improve the candidate experience

It’s a little like brand management—someone in your corner to help you position your organization and the value of your opening. Again, it’s the personal touch that may just make the difference for the right candidate. Plus, recruiters can help you evaluate your employment strategy to ensure you’ve got your best foot forward.

Regardless of how you recruit for your organization, it’s great to know you have options, both digital and personal.

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IMPORTANT UPDATE: 2019 New York Budget Includes OCA Fee Increase

UPDATE:
We want to make you aware that the Office of Court Administration (OCA) search fee increase from $65 to $95—described in the article below—has been approved and becomes effective on 4/13/2019.

Monday, April 1, 2019: The New York Legislature passed the 2019-2020 State Budget. Included in this budget is a fee increase for Office of Court Administration (OCA) searches from $65 to $95 (NY A2005, Page 32, Section DD, Lines 31-45)—effective upon budget signature by Governor Cuomo as early as Friday. This fee increase is proposed to further support the New York indigent defense fund and other OCA programs in the state.

We are aware that this fee increase was approved, and will notify you once we have confirmation the new fee has been implemented. This fee is applicable to all New York County searches as the use of the state’s system is required by the majority of the counties within the state.

Another authorized change in this budget states that undisposed cases—cases considered “pending” where proceedings are included in court records but without disposition yet—will no longer be accessible in a criminal records search. However, the NY OCA will have a year from the date the Governor signs the bill to fully clarify and implement this change.

Please let us know if you have any questions. We will continue to follow these developments and will notify you as more information becomes available.

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A-Check Global Integration with SAP® SuccessFactors® Now Live on SAP® App Center

Integration offers greater background screening process automation and efficiency to customers

Riverside, CA, March 27, 2019 – A-Check Global today announced that its A-Check Global Background Screening Integration with SAP® SuccessFactors® is now available on the SAP® App Center, the digital marketplace for SAP partner offerings. The solution offers greater convenience and an enhanced online experience for both customers and their employment applicants.

“In today’s world of evolving talent acquisition resources, we are thrilled to join the SAP family, and we welcome this opportunity to further position our comprehensive screening solutions to employers and candidates,” said Donald Shimizu, Executive Vice President at A-Check Global. “A-Check Global shares SAP’s commitment to innovation and service, and we look forward to meeting the business needs of our mutual customers for years to come.”

A-Check Global Background Screening Integration with SAP SuccessFactors streamlines the recruiter’s hiring process from start to finish by offering a convenient, secure online transfer of employment applicant background information and reporting between A-Check Global’s background screening integration and the SuccessFactors platform. The SAP App Center provides customers with real-time access to more than 1,700 innovative partner solutions that complement and extend their SAP solutions, enabling digital transformation of their business. SAP App Center customers can buy solutions directly from partners and centrally manage purchases, billing and vendor communications.

A-Check Global is a partner in the SAP® PartnerEdge® program. As such, it is empowered to build, market and sell software applications on top of market-leading technology platforms from SAP. The SAP PartnerEdge program provides the enablement tools, benefits and support to facilitate building high-quality, disruptive applications focused on specific business needs – quickly and cost-effectively. The program provides access to all relevant SAP technologies in one simple framework under a single, global contract.

About A-Check Global:

A-Check Global is the nation’s most successful woman-minority owned employment screening company, providing superior customer care and support, customized background screening solutions, and advanced, online interface technology to meet the unique requirements of employers and employment candidates worldwide. A-Check is an authorized E-Verify Third Party Agent, and holds ISO 9001:2015 Certification. The company’s global headquarters is in Riverside, California. For more information, visit http://www.acheckglobal.com or phone toll free, 877-345-2021.

SAP and SAP products and services mentioned herein as well as their respective logos are trademarks or registered trademarks of SAP SE (or an SAP affiliate company) in Germany and other countries. See http://www.sap.com/corporate-en/legal/copyright/index.epx for additional trademark information and notices.

All other product and service names mentioned are the trademarks of their respective companies

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FAIR CHANCE HIRING: What’s in a name?

Fair Chance Hiring—Ban the Box as it’s more commonly known—is legislation intended to help applicants with prior criminal histories make it past the first step of the hiring process. By design, it encourages employers to consider an applicant’s qualifications first, rather than immediately reject that person due to criminal history.

Prior to 2009, only Hawaii had Ban the Box legislation in place. Currently, 35 states and more than 150 cities/counties have enacted laws that limit what you can ask applicants. The newest is New York’s Westchester County effective March 4th.

In states or regions that have passed this legislation, you’re restricted from inquiring about an applicant’s criminal record until at least the job interview—or, in some cases, after a conditional position has been initially offered to the applicant. You also may need to delay the background screening process until your offer.

These 23 states have Ban the Box laws that apply only to public employers:

  • Arizona
  • Colorado
  • Delaware
  • Georgia
  • Indiana
  • Kansas
  • Kentucky
  • Louisiana
  • Maryland
  • Michigan
  • Missouri
  • Nebraska
  • Nevada
  • New Mexico
  • New York
  • Ohio
  • Oklahoma
  • Pennsylvania
  • Tennessee
  • Utah
  • Virginia
  • Washington
  • Wisconsin

However, these twelve states restrict both public and private sector employers from asking about criminal records on job applications:

  • California
  • Connecticut
  • Hawaii
  • Illinois
  • Massachusetts
  • Minnesota
  • New Jersey
  • Oregon
  • Rhode Island
  • South Carolina
  • Vermont
  • Washington

You also may be restricted from asking questions about certain types of convictions, non-conviction arrests or expunged records.

Even if your state isn’t on the list, you shouldn’t assume these laws don’t apply to you. 15 cities and counties have taken the lead in creating Ban the Box laws that extend to private employers: Austin, Baltimore, Buffalo, Chicago, Columbia (MO), District of Columbia, Kansas City, Montgomery County (MD), New York City, Philadelphia, Portland (OR), Prince George’s County (MD), Rochester, San Francisco, Seattle, and Spokane.

So, how will Ban the Box laws impact your hiring?

Please keep in mind, you’re not required to hire someone with a criminal record. Ban the Box legislation isn’t intended to force employers to hire someone with a criminal background over other qualified candidates, but rather to create a fairer decision-making process. It shifts the criminal history inquiry from the initial application stage until later in the hiring process, during an interview or after you extend a conditional job offer.

Contracting with a background screening company committed to compliance—like A-Check Global—can help you keep abreast of these laws while making hiring decisions. For more information about this topic, feel free to contact us at support@acheckglobal.com.

Reference

https://www.hrdirectapps.com/blog/does-your-state-ban-the-box-with-job-applications/

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Why A-Check Global?

Solution

We know you have a multitude of choices to fulfill your employment and drug screening needs. Why choose us? We like to start the A-Check conversation with these three differentiations:

We’re PASSIONATE about client support

Our dedication to providing excellent customer service has long been our most defining quality. That ‘certain something’ that differentiates us from our competitors. We are adaptable enough to handle accounts from Enterprise level to emerging start-up—providing every client with unrivaled customer service.

We’re COMMITTED to compliance

A-Check has proudly held an ISO distinction since 2006, and is currently ISO 9001:2015 certified. This certification highlights our commitment to high-quality business practices: customer service, process and procedure management, production objectives, environmental standards, etc. Our commitment to compliance also includes our promise to review 100% of our reports within our Quality Control and Compliance Department for accuracy and adherence to individual client business rules.

We’re DRIVEN to innovate

One of our primary goals is to eliminate pain points within your employment program. Part of that solution is to focus on the overall experience of both our clients and their applicants; including straightforward, mobile friendly system access as well as easy-to-implement ATS/CRM integrations. We strive to make your life easier and we’re driven to providing the most innovative service possible.

So, if you’re looking for an employment and drug screening company that’s the right fit and right size, look no further than A-Check Global. We can be reached at www.acheckglobal.com, 1-877-345-2021 or support@acheckglobal.com.

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Form I-9: Be Alert, Audits can Hurt

Wed, March 20, 2019   |   10:00 am PST

A-Check Global’s HR Impact Webinar series presents Dave Basham delivering information on Form I-9.

Even the most seasoned Form I-9 professionals will walk away from this session saying, “I didn’t know that!” Dave, a highly regarded government speaker, will cover a wide range of information about Form I-9:

  • Whether or not to insert ‘N/A’ in various blocks
  • Differences between the online and paper versions
  • Making corrections to the form
  • What addresses are entered in address blocks
  • Using abbreviations
  • Rules for completing the I-9 before your new hire starts working for pay
  • Getting help through the Department of Justice’s Civil Rights Division hotline number

To view this informative webinar simply click below –

Presenter:

Dave Basham

Dave Basham / Outreach Analyst / U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services

Dave joined U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services in 2008 following his retirement from the U.S. Army. He has conducted close to 600 Form I-9 and E-Verify presentations to nationwide audiences. Dave conducts ongoing sessions for many associations that include; Society of HR Management, American Payroll, and National Notary. In 2016, the American Payroll Association presented Dave with their annual Government Partner Award in recognition of his service, as a government agent, to the payroll community. Dave’s military assignments were numerous in the Infantry arena. His military service decorations include the Legion of Merit. Dave’s originally from West Virginia but now makes his home in historic Virginia.

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“In the Know” Part Three: Evaluation, Decision, and Compliance Checklists

This is the third and final in our three part series on responsible background screening. The first part covered End Users and Permissible Purpose; the second covered Disclosures and Authorizations and this final section covers Evaluation, Decision, and Compliance Checklists.

Evaluation: Using Criminal Records in the Hiring Process

On April 25, 2012, the Equal Opportunity Commission (EEOC) released its Enforcement Guidance Consideration of Arrest and Conviction Records in Employment Decisions under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. The purpose of the guidance was to shore up the Agency’s efforts against discrimination in the workplace based on disparate impact against persons with criminal records—potentially requiring employers to demonstrate business necessity before criminal searches are conducted.

(Read our blog – a Fair Chance for Applicants-the Rise of Ban the Box Legislation to learn more).

Decision: The Adverse Action 2-Step

FCRA § 603(k) defines the term “adverse action” to mean the denial, cancellation, increase of cost or any other “undesirable” outcome for a consumer when used in conjunction with an offer of insurance, credit, employment, licensure, or any other permissible purpose a consumer report can be used for. To comply with the requirements of FCRA § 604 and § 615, employers are required to deploy a two-step adverse action process prior to taking adverse action to provide the applicant an opportunity to review the consumer report and to dispute the accuracy of any content they feel is not accurate.

Your company or organization should regularly consult with your legal team to confirm your adverse process is current and compliant.

Compliance Checklist

A-Check highly recommends that our clients develop a Background Screening Policy, ensuring a consistent process is in place that can be audited and modified when necessary. A policy is not required but will go a long way in providing a defense to an organization that experiences a legal complaint from an applicant. An adequate background screening policy should contain a company-wide, streamlined process that includes standard operating procedures and current, compliant forms. Contact our Client Relations Department to receive a complimentary Policy Kit to help you get started.

Remember, if you ever have any questions about any of the material we have covered don’t hesitate to reach out to our team at support@acheckglobal.com.

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Start the New Year with a Compliance Check-Up!

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As your trusted business partner, we’re committed to helping ensure our clients are in compliance with FCRA, EEOC, state and local policies and procedures. A key component of our ongoing focus is to remind you that we’re here to offer guidance each and every time you audit your employment screening program.

Items for Your Review

User Access Lists
When did you last check to see who on your team member roster has access—and at which level—to your background screening process? Your user list is an important piece of access control that can easily be managed. Take the time to ensure that your list is accurate by removing any inactive users. Only takes a moment to review, and we’re more than happy to help! We invite you to call or email your client support team today.

Commonly Used Documents
Forms and documents used on a regular basis can be easily considered “red-flag” items, and your team may be unaware of legislation updates that might make these every-day products subject to an audit finding. Review commonly used documents to ensure the information contained in or gathered from them is legal and updated.

Employee Training
Your ongoing training programs should promote focus on appropriate, ethical behavior; if it doesn’t, you may want to make meaningful adjustments. Retool your materials to teach and instill a culture of compliant and ethical behavior from employees at all levels.

Compliance Manuals
Displaying compliance manuals on your shelf doesn’t necessarily mean you’re compliant. It’s a good idea to take them off the shelf on a regular basis for a comprehensive senior management review. Ensure that the content is accurate and fulfilling its purpose. Be prepared to make changes if necessary.

We at A-Check Global are committed to data security and are driven to protecting our client partners by providing the tools needed to succeed. Please contact us at clientsupport@acheckglobal.com if you have any questions about your employment screening program.

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IMPORTANT NOTICE 1/23/19: Service Impact due to Government Shutdown

As of 1/23/19. information listed below is current:

As a result of the current United States government shutdown, several government services that employers rely on during employment screening may have limited operation or may not be available at all. This will – temporarily – impact A-Check’s ability to complete some screening components.

Unfortunately, we don’t know how long the shutdown will continue, but please be assured we’ll update this notice each Monday throughout the shutdown to keep you informed of ongoing impact. For now, we’d like to share information regarding the following services:

E-Verify:
Currently unavailable. When the government shutdown is resolved, A-Check will provide further guidance regarding delayed cases, including the “three day rule.”

 As your E-Verify Employer Agent for web services, we are prepared to queue up cases for all eligible employees with a completed Electronic Form I-9 in our system (who have not been submitted to E-Verify) and then auto process them when E-Verify is back up.

For those clients that only utilize our E-Verify service without our Electronic Form I-9, unfortunately, they will need to submit their E-Verify queries once the E-Verify service has been restored after the government shutdown ends.

CBSV (Consent Based Social Verification):
This service is currently running uninterrupted. However, we will provide updates should there be any change.

 Federal Criminal Searches (PACER – Public Access to Court Electronic Services):

This service is funded through January 18, 2019. Should the government shutdown last long enough to affect Federal Criminal searches, we will provide an update at that time.

IRS Documentation Requests:

Copies of Wage and Income Earnings Statements (in lieu of W2 copies) are unavailable.

 DOT 49 Part 40 form:

Requests for verifications are not being completed if required from an official government operated entity. A-Check can obtain forms if requested from a non-government run employer.

PRIA and FAA records:

Requests are not being completed if the request is made specifically from the FAA. A-Check can obtain a partial response if requested from a non-government run agency or airline.

Please contact us at clientsupport@acheckglobal.com if you have any questions.

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“In the Know!” Part Two: Law and Disclosure and Authorization, oh my.

As your trusted partner, we want to make sure you have access to professional guidance when making employment decisions. To that end, this is our second of a three part series in employment screening compliance. Last month we discussed End Users and Permissible Purpose; this month we’ll quickly cover Disclosures and Authorizations.

Disclosure: End User Must Disclose to Applicant Prior to Requesting a Report

PLEASE NOTE: Because an ever-increasing number of law firms now specialize in class action litigation regarding employer required FCRA Disclosure and Authorization, employers AND consumer reporting agencies should be equally as focused on technical compliance with applicable federal and state laws. Employers should not take short cuts by combining disclosures in the screening process even though “green thinking” and common sense dictate the shrinkage of paper and reduction of steps in the process. If utilizing technology to process Disclosure and Authorization, it is also highly recommended to ensure the electronic signature process utilized is in full compliance with the federal Electronic Signature in Global and National Commerce (ESIGN).

Authorization: Federal Law, State Requirements, and Collection of PII

Employers are required to obtain authorization from the applicant prior to requesting a consumer report for the permissible purpose of employment with only one exception – investigation of wrongdoing.

PLEASE NOTE: Since many organizations utilize the Authorization for a dual purpose in that it not only authorizes the consumer report but it also authorizes the release of information to the consumer reporting agency, class action law firms have taken advantage of this literal interpretation of the federal Fair Credit Reporting Act to successfully sue hundreds of employers for technical violations of the FCRA. If the Authorization form contains language such as “I hereby authorize my past employers and schools to release information about me” or include state required notices such as those in Minnesota, New York City, Oklahoma, or Washington, it will violate the FCRA if combined with the Disclosure.

In short, PLEASE present your Disclosure and Authorization forms as separate documents.

One last recommendation about the Authorization form: ensure that it states “I authorize the background check” and not “I agree to be background checked.”

Next month, RESPONSIBLE BACKGROUND SCREENING Part Three will cover Evaluations, Decisions and the use of a Compliance Checklist.

 

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“In the Know!” Part One: Responsible Background Screening

When it comes to background screening, there’s a lot to keep in mind—especially as the compliance landscape is constantly evolving. As your trusted partner, it’s our honor to provide ongoing guidance to help ensure you’re making informed, best practice, and fully compliant decisions when conducting background screens. To that end, this blog is the first of a three part series. This first part covers End Users and Permissible Purpose.

Compliance Guidance for End Users of Consumer Reports

The federal Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) is the primary legislation regulating the procurement and use of a consumer report. The requirements for End Users of consumer reports are explained in detail throughout the FCRA but can also be found in a simplified document required to be distributed by consumer reporting agencies entitled Notice to Users of Consumer Reports: Obligations of Users under the FCRA. Rounding out regulatory compliance for domestic consumer reporting are state and jurisdiction specific consumer reporting laws that add additional procedures and disclosures to the process.

Who is responsible in the background check process?

This can be a very confusing topic to employers who depend on background check reports to make hiring decisions. There is a popular belief that the background check company is solely responsible for the entire screening process. However, the reality is that the background check process is a shared responsibility between those that request consumer reports (End User) and those that compile the consumer report (Consumer Reporting Agency).

Permissible Purpose: Legal Uses of Consumer Reports

FCRA §604 requires that all End Users must have a permissible purpose under the FCRA to obtain a consumer report. There are a variety of consumer reports utilized by Society to make decisions regarding consumers, e.g., whether or not to lend the consumer money (credit); to provide an insurance policy (driving record); to provide a place to live (tenant screening); and for employment (background checks). A-Check Global is a consumer reporting agency specializing in providing consumer reports to End Users for the permissible purpose of employment.

The term “employment purposes” is defined by FCRA §603(d)(3)(C)(h) as a report used for the purpose of evaluating a consumer for employment, promotion, reassignment or retention as an employee. The Federal Trade Commission has expanded the definition of employee to also include Volunteers, Temps and Independent Contractors working in an “employment” type capacity. End users are required to contractually certify their compliance with the federal Fair Credit Reporting Act with their provider as a condition of service being provided.

Next month, RESPONSIBLE BACKGROUND SCREENING Part Two will cover Disclosures and Authorizations.

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Drug Testing Trends Spanning Three Decades

Date of Webinar: Thursday, November 15, 2018 at 11:00 AM PST

Subject Matter:

A-Check Global’s HR Impact Webinar series presents Quest Diagnostics delivering information on its Drug Testing index. Arguably the industry’s longest standing, most consistent and most frequently relied upon resource indicating the drug use patterns among American workers. We will share 30 years of data, milestones since the passage of the Drug-Free Workplace Act in 1988, and how a steadfast commitment to a drug-free workplace helps to keep employees safe, healthy, and productive.

To view this informative webinar simply click below –

Presenter:

R.H. Barry Sample, Ph.D. / Director of Science and Technology at Quest Diagnostics

Dr. Barry Sample, Senior Director of Science and Technology, Quest Diagnostics, received his bachelor’s degree in chemistry and his doctorate in pharmacology from Indiana University and is a board certified forensic toxicologist. Dr. Sample joined Quest Diagnostics in 1991 and is responsible for the production and introduction of new products and services through new test and technology development. He also publishes the Quest Diagnostics Drug Testing Index annually for government, policy makers, media and the general public.

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How Low Unemployment Rates Affect Recruiting/Retaining Employment Strategies

 

Recruitment

The unemployment rate is defined as the percentage of workers who are not currently employed and are actively looking for a job. As this rate lowers, job-hunters enjoy the advantage of a buyer’s market. But what does this mean for employers?

Generally speaking, competition to hire is intense. Restaurants can’t find delivery drivers because they can make more money in ridesharing; livestock processing facilities can’t reach full capacity because of the strong competition for skilled labor; retailers can’t find staff to fill seasonal or part-time jobs because full-time positions are readily available. Additionally, high turnover has steadily increased as baby boomers retire and current employees take advantage of better opportunities.

To retain qualified staff, employers have had to become more creative in their offerings. In retail for example, some organizations are offering work from home flexibility (customer service via online/video chat) or extra hours to existing employees rather than seasonal hires. Other initiatives have included the addition of “Employee Experience” management positions to help ensure employees stay engaged, motivated, and loyal.

Employers have also had to become more innovative in recruiting new employees—millennials in particular. Studies indicate millennials are looking for a career package that includes career mobility, diversity of responsibilities, a work/life balance and a culture that values social responsibility. These same requirements play sharply into holding on to employees since the best retention strategy is often a strong recruiting strategy. With that in mind, following are a few key points that make up a strong recruiting/retention strategy.

Culture and Policies

More and more, individuals want to work for a company that mirrors their values and needs. Providing health insurance, competitive compensation and a retirement-savings plan is essential in recruiting employees but other soft incentives such as flextime or time off to volunteer show potential employees the company is committed to accommodating their work/life balance.

Also, real-time feedback, rather than an annual review, keeps employees in the know about their professional development. Many organizations now “partner” their employees with mentors so they can not only benefit from ongoing communication, but as employees retire or move on, they are passing down knowledge rather than simply taking it with them. It’s a win-win for everyone.

Recruit from Within

It’s said sideways is the new up in today’s employment landscape. Mobility opportunities that allow employees to move across different departments or even change their career path appeal to all generations. This helps employees stay engaged, grow their skills, and with talent management planning, helps the organization build future leaders while retaining company culture.

Training and Development

Both new and existing employees benefit from ongoing education and tools that help them thrive in the organization and grow professional skill sets. When this is combined with mobility opportunities, the stage is set for an enhanced experience that can integrate employees more fully into the company, improve teamwork and increase productivity.

HR Resources

HR has a pivotal role in recruiting and retaining employees, and their tasks can be made easier with the help of the right technology. New technology in the form of applicant tracking software (ATS) helps to streamline the recruiting process and provide richer insights into the candidates. Additionally, millennials are far more apt to use technology for job searches, so an organization that relies on paper-based applications and on-boarding would be seen as outdated and may be scratched from their list.

Recruiting and retaining top employees is vitally important to any business. Organizations with a solid strategy are more likely to succeed in matching the best people to the right jobs – and in keeping them on board.

This blog published with edited content from the original article: https://unicornhro.com/blog/how-low-unemployment-rates-affect-recruiting-retaining-employment-strategies/

 

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Background Screening in the Age of Gig Employment

GIG 2The trend for freelance or short contract employment versus permanent positions has been steadily rising. Many cite the millennial generation’s penchant for flexibility and mobility as one of the main causes for this upward trend. Another cause may be that the digital age allows workers to complete jobs from anywhere; no longer forced to labor in an office environment. But whatever the cause it does create a new set of obstacles companies must surmount.

Importance of background screens

As the gig economy grows and companies continue to hire, businesses are doing everything they can to protect their brands and their reputations and to keep their existing employees and customers safe. And one of the best ways to do that is to conduct a thorough background screen.  Employment screening ensures better-quality hires, more consistent safety and security and improved regulatory compliance.

Although many companies usually vetted their full-time employees, they were apt to let part-time or independent contractors slide. But recent events have companies rethinking how they vet such workers, many of whom interact directly with consumers and represent a company’s brand. Gig employees generally have the same access to your clients and your intellectual property as your traditional workers so it makes sense to screen them to the same degree as your full-time employees.

We’re here for you

Gig employees move quickly; from accepting a contract to starting the project, there is little downtime, which means background screening needs to be fast. Companies must be able to trust their screening partner to deliver rapid turnaround times in order to leverage their independent workforce. This is where we come in. We provide multiple levels of service to satisfy all the screening requirements your company may have. Contact us today to learn more.

 

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What You Should Know About Social Security Numbers

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A recent National Law Review article reported that in 2019, the Social Security Administration (SSA) will restart its mismatch letter notification program. Through mismatch letters—formally titled Employer Correction Requests—the SSA notifies employers that the social security number (SSN) and name reported for one or more employees does not match SSA records. These notification letters advise employers that a SSN mismatch is not an assumption of SSN falsification or other misconduct. Mismatches can be caused by typographical errors, unreported name changes, incomplete records, or SSN misuse. In any event, employers who receive such letters must act promptly and are advised to document the steps taken to resolve the discrepancy.

Employer Action

Employers who receive a mismatch letter should check their personnel records for the employee in question to confirm the information in company records matches that provided by the SSA. Simple typographical errors or name discrepancies that led to a mismatch generally can be rectified quickly by submitting this information to the SSA. In the event the mismatch is not based on employer error, the employer should notify the employee of the mismatch, preferably in writing—and in turn, the employee must then resolve the mismatch. However, employers will remain responsible for ensuring the process is complete. To do so, employers may follow up with each impacted employee to confirm the steps they are taking and that a resolution does occur. Again, employer documentation of these steps is recommended.

It is important that employers not take adverse employment action (including formal discipline, termination, or informal forms of negative treatment) against employees solely based upon the notice that a mismatch has occurred. Employers must allow time for the employee to address and resolve the mismatch. In the event a mismatch cannot be resolved or SSN misuse is confirmed, employers should contact legal counsel to determine the appropriate steps to take with regard to the involved employee.

How We Can Help

A-Check Global provides our clients two methods to either verify or associate a social security number.

The Social Security Trace Report provides employers with an “association” between a social security number and the information housed by one of the major credit bureaus linked to the individual SSN. The report reveals information captured when the SSN is used for financial purposes like credit financing, leasing, student loans and even some court actions including judgments and liens. It can reveal additional alias names and addresses associated with the applicant not included in information provided by the applicant on their resume or application. The Social Security Trace Report may returned with a “no hit” result. This does not necessarily mean the social security number does not belong to the applicant or serve as an indication the applicant was untruthful. It may simply mean the applicant has not developed a credit history and/or the social security number was recently issued.

The Consent Based Social Security Verification or CBSV Report “verifies” a social security number and name coincide with Social Security Administration records. With the consent of the applicant, A-Check uses the CBSV report to verify the name and SSN provided by the applicant match the records maintained by the Social Security Administration.

Both the Social Security Trace Report and Consent Based Social Security Verification are valuable tools in mitigating hiring risk. Employers simply choose the right option to meet their specific screening needs.

And remember A-Check Global’s teams of dedicated professionals are available to answer any additional questions.

Reference

https://www.natlawreview.com/article/social-security-administration-to-resume-social-security-mismatch-letter?utm_content=3f102f241c1be6d0f68a3668f49d8d75&utm_campaign=Monday%20Trending%20News%20Digest%208-20-2018&utm_source=Robly.com&utm_medium=email

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IMPORTANT DISCLOSURE FORM UPDATE: A Summary of Your Rights Under the Fair Credit Reporting Act

On September 12, 2018, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) issued a revised disclosure form document—“A Summary of Your Rights Under the Fair Credit Reporting Act”—in an interim final rule under the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA).

Employers and background screening companies (A-Check Global) may begin using this new form beginning Friday, September 21, 2018, and are required to provide this disclosure to employees and job applicants per FCRA guidelines. Failure to provide correct disclosure notification can lead to increased risk, including litigation.

Why is this disclosure form changing?

In May 2018, and in response to significant data breaches, Congress passed the Economic Growth, Regulatory Relief, and Consumer Protection Act. The new law requires credit reporting bureaus, under certain circumstances, to provide consumers fraud alerts and unlimited, free national security freezes and freeze releases. These are intended to make it harder for identity thieves to open accounts in a consumer’s name.

The new legislation also amends the FCRA to exclude from consumer reporting information certain medical debts incurred by veterans. Additionally, it establishes a new dispute process with respect to such medical debt.

Finally, the new law mandates that whenever a background check company is required to provide a copy of the “A Summary of Your Rights Under the Fair Credit Reporting Act” to comply with FCRA 609 (full file disclosure requirements) or FCRA 605A (Victims of Identity Theft requirements) the “Summary of Consumer Identity Theft Rights” disclosure form, they also must provide a notice regarding these new security freeze rights. However, A-Check’s counsel has opined that there is some gray area in the legislation that could be argued by Plaintiffs’ Bar that this requirement extends to end user adverse action requirements, so A-Check made system adjustments to ensure our client compliance.

What A-Check Global is Doing

To err on the side of caution, ensuring our clients remain compliant with all interpretations of this new law, A-Check has appended the new security freeze notice into our existing Summary of Rights disclosure notification appearing at the back of all A-Check reports. When A-Check clients provide a copy of the A-Check report in the adverse process, the new freeze notice will be included. You can view a copy of the consolidated notice here.

By November 1, 2018, our systems will be updated to include a version of this disclosure with a fully integrated security freeze notice. Rest assured, our current version is compliant. You can view a copy of this upcoming notice here.

What Employers Need to Do

Please seek advice from your legal counsel to ensure your forms comply with the new requirement.

Got questions? When in doubt, don’t forget you can always #AskACheck. Our team of dedicated professionals are available to help, and can provide friendly, accurate guidance. Give us a call today at 877-345-2021, or email clientsupport@acheckglobal.com.

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An Update on Salary History Bans

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https://gusto.com/framework/news/salary-history-ban-map/

As your trusted partner, we want to make sure you are up to date on issues that may affect you. Which is why we wrote about salary history bans last year.

In that article we discussed that a growing number of cities and states are voting on or implementing legislation in favor of a salary history ban during pre-employment screening—prohibiting employers from asking wage history questions to job applicants or considering previous applicant salaries as a determining factor in employment decisions.

Asking for an applicant’s salary history may seem an innocuous enough question; one of many that has been standard pre-employment practice for years. But like criminal history, it may lead to an unintended bias against applicants.

Asking for a person’s salary history can perpetuate pay disparity.

Think of it this way; an employee works diligently for five years—earning incremental pay increases along the way—and now wants to apply that experience to a new position at a much larger company. Unfortunately, the larger company asks for the employee’s salary history before offering the new position instead of simply paying market value. That could easily result in pay disparity because this person made less money at the previous position. If this scenario doesn’t seem fair to you, you are not alone.

We’re keeping an eye on this growing trend.

As of August 24, 2018, the following states and cities/counties have implemented salary history bans:

State-wide Ban         Effective Date   City/County Ban                               Effective Date

California                  Jan 1, 2018         San Francisco, CA                            Jul 1, 2018

Connecticut              Jan 1, 2019         Chicago, IL                                        Apr 10, 2018

Delaware                  Dec 14, 2017       Louisville, KY                                   May 17, 2018

Hawaii                       Jan 1, 2019         New Orleans, LA                              Jan 25, 2017

Massachusetts          Jul 1, 2018         Kansas City, MO                                Jul 26, 2018

New Jersey               Feb 1, 2018         New York City, NY                           Oct 31, 2017

New York                  Jan 9, 2017         Albany County, NY                          Dec 17, 2017

Oregon                      Oct 6, 2017         Westchester County, NY                 Jul 9, 2018

Pennsylvania           Sep 4, 2018         Philadelphia, PA                              (TBD)

Puerto Rico              Mar 8, 2017         Pittsburgh, PA                                  Jan 30, 2017

Vermont                    Jul 1, 2018

And, it’s very likely this trend will continue. Please know that A-Check is keeping a close eye on this evolving legislation, and remain committed to developing solutions that ensure you have the ability to continue making informed pre-employment decisions.

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my A-Check—our online applicant portal—just got even better!

 

When it comes to background screening solutions, we believe the applicant experience is as important as the client experience. It stands to reason, when applicants find the employment process convenient and innovative, they’ll feel more at ease AND will appreciate that your organization is committed to providing a background screening program that’s as straightforward as possible. It’s a win-win.

That’s why we’ve recently enhanced my A-Check, our mobile-friendly, smart applicant portal. my A-Check offers our clients greater implementation flexibility, and your applicants an unrivaled user experience. More secure, more convenient, and more streamlined, my A-Check offers great updated features:

  • Applicant-managed login
  • Convenient self-scheduled drug screening
  • Easy, secure upload of applicant provided documentation
  • A Client-customizable interface
  • And much, more.

my A-Check is FCRA compliant, highly intuitive, and is carefully designed to help minimize errors and the need to enter duplicate data. And did we mention how simple it is? In fact, we can proudly report that the majority of applicants submit their completed form within just 10 minutes—or less! We invite you to see just how seamless and convenient the hiring process can be for your applicants.

 

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Time for a Compliance Check-Up?

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As a trusted business partner, we’re committed to helping ensure our clients are in compliance with FCRA, EEOC, state and local policies and procedures. A key component of our ongoing focus is to remind you that we’re here to offer guidance each and every time you audit your employment screening program.

How can we help you?

User Access Lists: When did you last check to see who on your team member roster has access—and at which level—to your background screening process? Your user list is an important piece of access control that can easily be managed. Take the time to ensure that your list is accurate by removing any inactive users. Only takes a moment to review, and we’re more than happy to help! We invite you to call or email your client support team today.

Compliance Manual: Having a compliance manual on your shelf doesn’t necessarily mean you’re compliant. It’s a good idea to take it off the shelf on a regular basis for a comprehensive senior management review. Ensure that the content is accurate and fulfilling its purpose. Be prepared to make changes if necessary.

Commonly Used Documents: Forms and documents used on a regular basis can be easily considered “red-flag” items. Due to their ongoing use, employees may be unaware of changes made to laws that make the forms and products they use every day the source of an audit finding. Review commonly used documents to ensure the information contained in or gathered from them is legal and updated.

Employee Training: When you read through your employee training manuals, do you feel empowered or scared? If your program relies more heavily on promoting punishment for non-compliance than a focus on appropriate, ethical behavior, you may want to make meaningful adjustments. Retool your materials to teach and instill a culture of compliant and ethical behavior from employees at all levels.

We at A-Check Global are committed to data security and are driven to protecting our client partners by providing the tools needed to succeed. Please contact us at compliance@acheckglobal.com if you have any questions about your employment screening program.

 

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“Can’t you just Google?” When it comes to background screening . . . NO.

$RSK3OR6.jpgWe’ve all done it, right? Out of curiosity, you Google someone’s name, or even your own, just to see what pops up? Results might be anything from a link to a Facebook page, a reported marathon time, or maybe even an old blog entry about sushi that’s been long since forgotten.

Those things aside, some personal searches return a ton of information that could be considered private and personal. More important, that information may or may not be accurate. That’s why we don’t rely on Google searches when doing background screening for our clients, and if you’re searching Google before making a hiring decision, we recommend you don’t either. Here’s just a few reasons why search engines in general are not background screening options.

  1. Seeing Seeing Double Double If a person’s search results appear on the first few pages, it’s likely their name isn’t too common. But search John Smith, and it’s very doubtful anything you find will be relevant to your particular John Smith. Even names that seem pretty unique are more popular than you might think. Got a minute? Visit HowManyOfMe.com to get an idea of just how common some uncommon sounding names are. We found there are 100+ people named Frank Franks in the US. Who knew?
  2. “Yep, it’s an Internet Ad” If you’re using a search engine for background screening you’ll probably add a modifier, like “Criminal Records.” While initial results may seem innocent enough, you may also see a link to something like “Your Candidate Arrested.” It may appear to be a search result, but this could be a company trying to subtly convince you that your candidate has a criminal background (that may not event exist) . . . and encourage you to pay for a background screen then and there. Without further exploration, you may be misled and your poor candidate could be impacted by that assumption during your hiring process.
  3. “How did that story go?” Search engines scour the web with algorithms designed to find exactly what you’re looking for. Problem is, results could be old, outdated, or worse yet, inaccurate. For example, you may search poor Frank again and find an old article mentioning him as part of a criminal investigation, only to then miss another article that exonerated him as a case of mistaken identity.
  4. “Don’t believe everything you read online” – Albert Einstein Sure, we can pretty safely say that Albert Einstein didn’t really say that. But this is exactly what happens on the Internet. Search engines may find and report hundreds of relevant search results, but it’s not always easy for them to verify information as true or false.
  5. It’s illegal! Simply said, it’s illegal to solely use search engine results to make a hiring decision. Using an internet search as the basis to hire someone could violate not one or two, but THREE sections of the Fair Credit Reporting Act. Section 605 says there is a limit to the time you can use something negative against someone, so if you’re finding old dismissed cases through a Google search and using them to make a hiring decision, you’ve violated the FCRA. Section 607 says the information used in the decision has to be accurate. So relying on an inaccurate story is a violation too. Finally, Section 613 says that records have to be up-to-date. So, finding and using an old Facebook status would quite easily be another violation.

While Googling names might be fun while you’re at home and bored, let’s all agree that it has no place in the hiring decision process. In addition to potential FCRA violations, an argument can be made that doing so violates the EEOC as well. Searches can easily reveal personal information like marital status, age, race, and nationality.

To make sure you get a background screen that uses accurate, up-to-date sources, and is in compliance with federal, state and local laws, skip Google and work with A-Check Global instead to set up a background screening program.

And, to the 100+ Frank Franks out there, we’re sorry that this blog post may now be a new addition to your own search results. We happen to really like your name!

Give us a call today at 877-345-2021, or email clientsupport@acheckglobal.com.

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Form I-9: Helpful Hints to Keep You Compliant

Date of Webinar: Tuesday, July 17, 2018 at 10:00 AM PST

Subject Matter:

A-Check Global’s HR Impact Webinar series presents Form I-9  delivering information on Worksite Enforcement Investigations and Notices of Inspections as well as suggestions on how to “Fix the Past” and “Plan for the Future”.

To view this informative webinar simply click on the link below –

Presenter:

Thomas Brechtel, J.D. / Chief Revenue Officer / Form I-9 Compliance LLC

As a senior member of the Executive Team since its inception in 2004, Thomas provides guidance to organizations for the development and maintenance of compliant immigration related employment practices by providing comprehensive I-9 Auditing and Policy Reviews, Step-by-Step Electronic Transition Planning, assistance in Development of New Hire Procedures/Remote Processing and I-9 & E-Verify Compliance & Monitoring Services.

Thomas and his team translate complex immigration laws and employment eligibility requirements into the most legally-compliant and easy-to-use employment eligibility solutions available. His depth of experience and expertise in the field of I-9 & E-Verify Compliance has positioned him as an unparalleled subject matter expert in the industry.  Thomas regularly participates in workshops and seminars with the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and their ICE Mutual Agreement between Government and Employers (IMAGE) Program on proper hiring procedures, fraudulent document detection and use of E-Verify. His ability to understand an employer’s “pain points” and create customized implementation strategies to maintain the integrity of their worksites, further differentiates Form I-9 Compliance in the industry.

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Today’s “Top 10” List: Why is my file delayed?

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Believe us, we totally understand. Based on experience, you expect a pretty consistent turnaround time for your background screens. But every now and then a file might take longer than expected, and the delay leaves you scratching your head. We’re not fans of delays either, but we’ve seen what can happen during the screening process, and recently put together this list of top reasons you might experience a delay in the process. Not anywhere near as entertaining as most Top 10 lists, but we hope in some way it helps explain what can happen along the way.

 

1. Paper Records

Many courthouses, schools and businesses have not yet taken the time or allocated money to digitize their records. So it may take a little time to wait for results while they search through their file cabinets, cross reference old card catalogues, or pull out microfilm.

2. Records Stored Offsite

Similar to above, there was a time when everything was stored on paper. Computers certainly made our lives easier, but sometimes it’s not that easy to migrate old documents to an e-format. To save time and money, paper docs just get archived somewhere. That means waiting for someone to visit an offsite location . . . picture the warehouse from Indiana Jones and the Raiders of the Lost Ark.

3. Strange Rules

Maybe it’s because documents are stored offsite, or maybe because their resources are focused on other tasks. Whatever it is, many courthouses will only accept requests for, or provide results to public record requests on certain days of the week, have limitations regarding the time of day requests can be made, or how many can be made each day.

4. Please send a Self-Addressed Stamped Envelope

While this happens less frequently now, we still occasionally have to mail requests or wait to receive results by mail. At least it’s not by carrier pigeon or stage coach.

5. “Can’t you see I’m busy?”

We’re just like you. We want to get information back as fast as possible, and then get it to you to help wrap up your candidate’s placement. Unfortunately—and we understand—folks are busy, and we simply aren’t at the top of the pile when it comes to priorities. Fortunately for your employment process, we are gently and politely persistent, and work closely with our contacts to keep requests moving along.

6. “Sorry, but we’re backed up.”

Sometimes it’s just a simple issue of bandwidth. As polite and persistent as we can be, it could be a company’s busy season, graduation time for schools, or even an unusually busy week down at the courthouse. We do everything we can to work closely with our busy contacts to keep your screen moving along.

7. “Can’t you just do a Google search?”

So, this isn’t necessarily a reason things get delayed, but it’s worth mentioning, since we’ve been asked a time or two why the background screening process isn’t as simple as a Google search, or why we can’t just tap into that magic program with unlimited access to fabled “Permanent Records” we were all told about. If only it were so easy. While about 50% of the services we complete are through a website or other electronic service, we still have to rely on good old fashioned phone, fax and mail to get information more often than you might think.

8. “Baby, it’s cold outside.”

With A-Check’s offices located in sunny Southern California, it’s hard for us to remember that there’s weather conditions elsewhere—cold, rain and snow. Those conditions can cause government offices, schools and employers to close down temporarily. We still aren’t 100% convinced it’s true, but someone here in the office told us they saw snow once, and that it’s real!

9. “We will be closed on Tuesday in observance of . . .”

There are 10 federally recognized Holidays in the U.S. when most schools, courthouses and banks shut down. That, combined with additional holidays recognized by individual states, winter vacations, summer vacations, spring breaks, and you’ve got delays at least once per month caused by a temporary closure or disruption in service.

10. “Your call is very important to us . . .”

We spend a lot of time listening to on-hold music and being transferred. To help limit this, we’ve created a database of official verification contacts we’ve had success with previously. Even with this tool we still hear our fair share of on-hold music, and occasionally have to reach out numerous times, to multiple contacts over a few days to reach someone that can get us the information we need to complete the background.

For questions about turnaround time or your screening program don’t hesitate to give us a call at 877-345-2021 or email clientsupport@acheckglobal.com.

 

 

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ATS/HRIS Integrations…Yes We Can!

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You’ve probably heard about Integration—connecting multiple software systems to coordinate and streamline business processes. It’s a great way save time and reduce workload. Integrating your ATS with A-Check Global’s background check system provides you with a faster, more efficient solution to improve the experience for both candidate and recruiter.

Imagine working within your familiar platform environment, but gaining the advantage of reduced data entry tasks and minimized errors throughout the onboarding process. Sounds good, doesn’t it?

We’re here for you

Time and time again, we speak with clients who are interested in exploring an integration, and the reasons for doing so are probably pretty similar to the areas in your process you’d like to improve:

  • A more straightforward and comprehensive screening process
  • Faster turnaround time, with progress updates along the way
  • A more satisfying applicant experience
  • Increased automation
  • A mobile-friendly environment
  • And of course, compliance assistance

Still, many are apprehensive to integrate because of concerns about how long it might take, how much it might cost, or even how secure the resulting integration is. Please know we’re here to help, AND we’re here to dispel the myth that integration is a costly and timely project.

We’re all about the details

We manage all aspects of the integration process for our clients, from development to launch. Our in-house implementation department ensures optimal functionality of the integration. Additionally, our dedicated client support teams monitor the integration after go-live, facilitating updates as needed to meet evolving client needs.

Our systems have successful integration with leading ATS providers—probably including the one you already use—so we have a lot of experience developing a proven project methodology that focuses on the details, gets you quickly up and running, and keeps your budget top of mind:

  • Pre-developed solutions for standard integration, and custom solutions to fit every business need
  • Dedicated consultation for account configuration and field mapping
  • Ongoing communication through regular meetings
  • Pre-integrated solutions for applicant email and authorization forms
  • Secure, cloud solutions focused on data security
  • And, our continued commitment to industry best practices and innovation

Right Size, Right Fit

At A-Check Global, we pride ourselves in providing enterprise-level infrastructure, expertise and resources, while still maintaining the responsiveness and customer service you’d enjoy with a much smaller organization. Our strength lies in our ability to draw from extensive resources and perform with customized client-specific precision.

If you have any questions about integrating your employment screening process, A-Check Global’s team of dedicated professionals is available to help, and can provide friendly, accurate guidance. Give us a call today at 877-345-2021, or email support@acheckglobal.com.

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A-CHECK GLOBAL ACHIEVES BACKGROUND SCREENING CREDENTIALING COUNCIL ACCREDITATION

RALEIGH, N.C., May 23, 2018 – The National Association of Professional Background Screeners (NAPBS®) Background Screening Credentialing Council (BSCC) announced today that A-Check Global has successfully demonstrated compliance with the Background Screening Agency Accreditation Program (BSAAP) and will now be formally recognized as BSCC-Accredited.

“As an NAPBS founding member, we’ve been honored to work alongside this important industry organization for many years,” said Donald Shimizu, Executive Vice President. “And now, we are equally honored to achieve accreditation as our newest business milestone and further recognition of our ongoing commitment to excellence in both professional standards and customer service. It is a distinction our entire team will proudly share as we continue to meet the evolving needs of our customers.”

Each year, U.S. employers, organizations and governmental agencies request millions of consumer reports to assist with critical business decisions involving background screening.  Background screening reports, which are categorized as consumer reports, are currently regulated at both the federal and state level.

Since its inception, NAPBS has maintained that there is a strong need for a singular, cohesive industry standard and, therefore, created the BSAAP.  Governed by a strict professional standard of specified requirements and measurements, the BSAAP is becoming a widely recognized seal of achievement that brings national recognition to background screening organizations (also referred to as Consumer Reporting Agencies).  This recognition will stand as the industry “seal,” representing a background screening organization’s commitment to excellence, accountability, high professional standards and continued institutional improvement.

The BSCC oversees the application process and is the governing accreditation body that validates the background screening organizations seeking accreditation meet or exceed a measurable standard of competence. To become accredited, consumer reporting agencies must pass a rigorous onsite audit, conducted by an independent auditing firm, of its policies and procedures as they relate to six critical areas:  consumer protection, legal compliance, client education, product standards, service standards, and general business practices.

Any U.S.-based employment screening organization is eligible to apply for accreditation. A copy of the standard, the policies and procedures, and measurements is available at www.napbs.com.

About NAPBS®

Founded in 2003 as a not-for-profit trade association, the National Association of Professional Background Screeners (NAPBS) represents the interests of more than 900 member companies around the world that offer tenant, employment and background screening. NAPBS provides relevant programs and training aimed at empowering members to better serve clients and maintain standards of excellence in the background screening industry, and presents a unified voice in the development of national, state and local regulations. For more information, visit www.napbs.com.

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Background Checks, Part Three: The Law, Best Practices, and Your Organization

Best Practices

Welcome to part three of our ongoing blog series covering the growing number of laws regulating pre-employment background screens. As your trusted partner, we’re here to help keep you as compliant as possible, and welcome the opportunity to provide information through our blog. Haven’t read our previous entries yet? We invite you to read part one here and part two here.

State and Local Ban-the-Box Legislation

Ban-the-Box laws limit when an employer may permissibly ask about an individual’s criminal history. Until recently, many employers asked questions of this nature on their employment application. The growing trend in the law is to prohibit this practice. Ban-the-Box law prohibits any covered employer (engaged in commerce or in any industry or activity affecting commerce, and employing 50 or more for each working day during each of 20 or more calendar workweeks in the current or preceding calendar year) from asking about criminal history until after a first interview or conditional offer. However, each state and local law is nuanced as to what can be asked and when. These laws are not limited to asking a candidate to self-disclose his/her criminal history. Instead, they also require employers to wait until a later time to actually order the criminal background check. Some also require employers to post certain notices in their workplace or to include certain statements about the consideration of criminal history in job solicitations and advertisements.

Currently, New York City and Los Angeles have the nation’s most comprehensive Ban-the-Box laws.

Additional Best Practices to Consider During the Background Check Process

Criminal history policy is just one of many important areas to review and understand when conducting background checks for employment purposes. These are some additional best practices for your company to consider:

  • Review Job Descriptions: Companies should review the requirements of each position and determine whether a background check is necessary for that position. Also, review and consider narrowing the positions for which credit reports are run, and make sure the information requested from each candidate is relevant to the specific position for which the candidate applies. Review and comply with state and local laws that restrict or prohibit employer use of credit reports.
  • Review Policies and Procedures: Companies should review their background screening policies and procedures to develop processes ensuring all necessary notices and disclosures are being provided to candidates in compliance with Title VII, the FCRA, and any other applicable state or local laws.
  • Use Matrices Wisely: Companies should be cautious when applying their own bright-line policies (e.g. no-felon policies) without analyzing the factors set forth in EEOC guidance or as required by applicable state or local laws.
  • Consider EEOC Guidance: Companies should remember EEOC guidance and, when they are reviewing a candidate’s criminal history information, also consider (i) the nature and gravity of the offense; (ii) the time that has passed since the conviction and/or completion of the sentence; and (iii) the nature of the job held or sought; and apply the EEOC’s individualized assessment factors or any other factors required by applicable state or local laws. Companies should also determine how they will allow candidates to explain special circumstances surrounding their conviction criminal history information for purposes of an individualized assessment, including evidence of rehabilitation or other mitigating factors.
  • Consider the Timing of Background Checks: Companies should determine when to inquire about an individual’s criminal history and when to conduct a background check. The practice that will reduce a company’s risk the most is to make inquiries and conduct checks after making conditional offers of employment. Even then, companies should not automatically rescind an offer if they find something concerning in the background check, but should consider asking that person about the potentially disqualifying information. There could be an error in the report or some other legitimate explanation, such as identity theft.
  • Consider Whether to Ask Individuals to Self-Disclose Criminal History: Companies often ask whether the question is necessary given that they order a comprehensive criminal background check. However, where law permits, there may still be value in asking individuals whether they have ever been convicted of a crime. The practical reality is that some applicants lie, and courts have recognized the right of an employer to reject an applicant for dishonesty. Further, by not asking the question, a company that hires an individual who commits a violent or other egregious act may find it more difficult to defend against a negligent hiring claim because the victim will likely argue the company did not do enough to review the person’s history. On the other hand, by not asking the question, the risk of violating a Ban-the-Box law is greatly reduced (although some Ban-the-Box laws still apply to a company’s screening practices if they consider criminal history information with a background report or other public record searches).
  • FCRA Disclosures and Authorizations: Companies should regularly and carefully review their disclosure and authorization forms for compliance with the FCRA and state law. They should eliminate extraneous information from the disclosure form—including a release of liability from the candidate, at-will language, and any other “extraneous” information—and separate these forms into two documents.
  • Comply With Adverse Action Notice Requirements: Companies must also review their procedures, ensuring that pre-adverse action and post-adverse action letters are provided in accordance with the FCRA, including all the necessary federal, state, and local enclosures. The key is that companies must always provide candidates with a copy of their consumer report and a summary of rights under the FCRA, and give them a reasonable opportunity to dispute the accuracy of the report before adverse action is taken.

This blog is intended as information and not legal advice. Readers requiring legal or other advice regarding the matters discussed in this and the previous two blogs in this series should consult with experienced legal counsel.

A-Check Global is your trusted partner. If you have any background or drug screening related questions, our team of dedicated professionals are available to help, and can provide friendly, accurate guidance.

Reference

Devata, P. & Mora, J. (2018) Background Checks: A Primer for Staffing Firms on Complying With Federal, State, and Local Laws. [Issue Paper]. American Staffing Association

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Background Checks, Part Two: The Law, Best Practices, and Your Organization

Best Practices

Welcome to part two of our ongoing blog series covering the growing number of laws regulating pre-employment background screens. As your trusted partner, we’re here to keep you as compliant as possible, and welcome the opportunity to provide information through our blog. Haven’t read part one yet? You can read it here.

Engage a Trusted, Consultative Background Screening Company

The ideal background check is accurate, comprehensive, consistent, timely, and of course, legal. Coordinating these factors can be expensive and time-consuming, and the work involved differs depending on the location of the candidate and where he or she has lived in the past. For these reasons, most companies do not conduct their own background check but outsource this function to third parties—like A-Check Global—referred to as consumer reporting agencies.

Obligations Before Running a Background Check

The FCRA imposes legal obligations on companies that use background check reports which protect candidates from being denied employment because of incomplete or inaccurate information in their background check reports (“consumer reports”). Companies must ensure that an individual 1) knows that a background check is being conducted; 2) consents to having a background check conducted; and 3) is provided notification that information contained in the background check report may result in an adverse employment decision. Therefore, companies must obtain or provide the following:

  • Disclosure for Consumer Reports: Whenever an employer seeks to obtain a consumer report, the FCRA mandates that, before doing so, it must make a clear conspicuous written disclosure, separate from the application, to the candidate that a consumer report may be obtained. This must be given in a separate document, consisting solely of the disclosure, before a check is requested. This has been the subject of increased litigation in the last couple of years.
  • Candidate Authorization: An employer must also obtain the written authorization of the candidate prior to requesting a consumer report. As a best practice, companies should have their forms reviewed at least annually by counsel.
  • Certification to CRAs: A company must certify to the CRA that prior to ordering the consumer report, it will distribute the required written disclosure and obtain the required written authorization. The company must also certify that the information being obtained will not be used in violation of any federal or state equal employment opportunity law or regulation. Lastly the company must certify that it will comply with the adverse action requirements set forth in the FCRA and described below.

Obligations After Receiving a Background Check

  • Pre-Adverse Action Notification: Before taking any adverse action, such as not placing a candidate on a temporary or contract assignment, based in whole or in part on information in the consumer report, a company must notify the candidate that it is considering taking an adverse action based in whole or in part on information contained in the consumer report and provide the candidate with 1) a copy of the consumer report obtained from the CRA; 2) a summary of the candidate’s rights under the FCRA; and 3) any state specific notices. Currently a handful of jurisdictions, including New Jersey, New York, Massachusetts, New York City, Los Angeles, and Washington State, require additional notices. Additionally, several ban-the-box laws require employers to state the reason they are considering taking an adverse action (if the decision is based on criminal history) or to identify the potentially disqualifying criminal record.
  • Adverse Action Waiting Period: After providing the pre-adverse action notice, an employer must wait a “reasonable period of time” before taking the adverse action. The FTC has opined that a five-business-day waiting period is reasonable. The FCRA is clear that candidates should be given the “opportunity to be heard” to correct or challenge incorrect information on a consumer report before an employer actually takes adverse action.
  • Adverse Action Notification: After waiting a “reasonable period of time”, an employer must provide the candidate with 1) notice of the adverse action taken; 2) the name, address, and toll-free telephone number of the CRA that furnished the consumer report; 3) a statement that the CRA did not make the decision to take the adverse action and is unable to provide the specific reasons the adverse action was taken; 4) notice of the candidate’s right to obtain a free copy of the consumer report from the CRA within 60 days; and 5) notice of the candidate’s right to dispute the accuracy or completeness of any information in the consumer report furnished by the CRA. Additional notices may be required in some jurisdictions and, as with the pre-adverse actin notice, several ban-the-box laws, including those in California; New York City; Seattle; and Portland, OR (among others), require employers to state the reason they are taking an adverse action (if the decision is based on criminal history)or to identify the disqualifying criminal record.

Stay tuned for part three of this blog series to learn more about background screening best practices.

Reference

Devata, P. & Mora, J. (2018) Background Checks: A Primer for Staffing Firms on Complying With Federal, State, and Local Laws. [Issue Paper]. American Staffing Association

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A-Check Global and GDPR

What is GDPR?

For companies—including A-Check—who conduct international research using personal data, it’s critical to both understand and comply with regional legislative regulations. Even though we reside in the United States, we do business in compliance with evolving international data regulations.

GDPR, the European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation, takes effect May 25, 2018, and is designed to strengthen data protection in the European Union (EU) by regulating the collection, use, and processing of personal information for citizens of the EU. This new law expands its impact and scope to now include:

  • EU companies that process personal data
  • Non-EU companies offering services to EU individuals
  • Non-EU companies researching EU individuals in the EU (A-Check Global background screening, for example)

Personal Data includes any information relating to an identified person. For A-Check, this includes information like name, address, date of birth, and other data regularly collected during the background screening process.

A-Check Global’s focus on meeting upcoming GDPR requirements

The GDPR sets a number of rules into place for   – Data Controllers: entities that collect data directly from an individual   – Data Processors: entities that processes data on behalf of a Data Controller

As both a controller and processor, here’s how we will meet requirements of the regulation:

  • Responsibility and Accountability – We will inform data subjects (EU Individuals) exactly who is responsible for their data, and provide adequate levels of data protection for all information we maintain.
  • Lawful Basis for Processing – A-Check will obtain consent to process from the data subject, provide an explicit purpose for collecting their information (background screening), and allow them to withdraw consent at any time.
  • Data Protection Officer – A-Check has internal resources assigned to GDPR efforts and ongoing compliance.
  • Anonymization – A-Check encrypts personal data to ensure information cannot be tied back to the data subject without authorization.
  • Data Breach Notification – While a number of security measures are in place, and we do not anticipate an information breach, A-Check has policies and procedures to notify GDPR Supervisory Authority within 72 hours of a known data breach. Procedures are also in place to notify affected data subject(s).
  • Right of Access – A-Check allows applicants to request a copy of their report, and to be provided detailed information regarding the reasons we are collecting each piece of data we request.
  • Right to Erasure – Data subjects will have the right to request that any personal data stored by a controller be deleted.

 

Will A-Check Global be GDPR certified?

GDPR is not a certification program, so A-Check Global will not maintain any sort of GDPR Certification. GDPR is a law, and similar to how we are FCRA compliant in the United States, we maintain compliance with the GDPR.

We do hold a Privacy Shield certification, which demonstrates to EU entities that our data security processes and commitment to data transfer protection meet EU standards. We invite you to visit us online to learn more about Privacy Shield.

Questions?

If you have questions about the information contained in this document please feel free to reach out to our compliance team: compliancedept@acheckglobal.com.

 

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Background Checks, Part One: The Law, Best Practices, and Your Organization

Best Practices

When performing pre-employment background screens, there are a growing number of related laws that companies must comply with. So many, in fact, that we’ve decided to dedicate this topic to a three part blog series. We’re here to help keep you as compliant as possible.

Your First Focus—Implementing a Lawful Background Screening Policy

A background screening policy should be tailored to the unique needs of your company, and detail what background checks your company will run (e.g., criminal, credit, employment verification, education verification, driving records, etc.). Specific types of checks should be based on the relevant position, the relatedness of the check to the person’s ability to perform that job, and applicable legal limitations.

Obtaining criminal records is a great example to discuss further. When asking about or considering criminal records, the greatest pitfall to avoid is having a blanket policy automatically prohibiting your company from hiring an individual convicted of any offense at any time. In fact, some jurisdictions make such bright-line disqualification standards unlawful. Employers should consider the following factors when determining whether or not an exclusion is job-related:

  • The nature and gravity of the offense
  • The nature of the job
  • The time elapsed since the conviction or the completion of a sentence

In fact, there are many states and local jurisdictions that have addressed this very issue, and now require an employer to determine and exhibit whether or not the screening decision is a job related exclusion.

What about arrest-related inquiries? Employers should not ask about non-pending arrest records. If a candidate has an arrest pending, an employer may ask the candidate about the underlying conduct that led to the arrest and then assess accordingly. In some states, even asking about pending arrests is risky (e.g. California and Illinois). If a charge has been dismissed, however, it is risky to give any weight to that case and is unlawful to do so in some jurisdictions. Similarly, if a case has a deferred adjudication, or adjudication withheld, and the candidate has completed the terms of any condition placed by the court, companies should avoid taking any adverse action.

When to ask about criminal history: Your company should determine when to ask a candidate about his or her criminal background. Certain state and local “Ban the Box” laws prohibit including the question on an application, and the later in the hiring process your company asks the question, the less likely that the EEOC would be successful in pursuing a civil rights violation under Title VII. (Read our blog – a Fair Chance for Applicants-the Rise of Ban the Box Legislation to learn more).

Conduct an individualized assessment: Companies should allow candidates an “opportunity to be heard” to establish why their background should not bar their employment. The person(s) who conduct this assessment should be familiar with Title VII, EEOC guidance, FCRA, and any state or local employment laws.

Should you conduct a credit-related background check? Currently there is no EEOC guidance on how to properly conduct a credit-related background check. However, a company should consider conducting a similar analysis as that performed regarding criminal histories—analyzing the nature of the job, the nature of the negative information, and the time elapsed since the negative information arose, to determine whether a hiring prohibition is job related.

Mention the Fair Credit Reporting Act and how you comply: Your company policy should mention that you are familiar with the FCRA and outline how you comply.

Stay tuned for part two of this blog series to learn more about background screening best practices.

Reference

Devata, P. & Mora, J. (2018) Background Checks: A Primer for Staffing Firms on Complying With Federal, State, and Local Laws. [Issue Paper]. American Staffing Association

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Happy Applicant, Happy Company

happy applicant

Here at A-Check Global, we know that finding a qualified applicant to fill a specific position is so much more than just an accurate, comprehensive background screen. Filling a seat can be a lengthy and time-consuming process. From job board posting or working with a staffing agency, to holding interviews and selecting the most-qualified applicant for an offer letter . . . the whole process can easily take weeks. Then there’s the time involved requesting and completing a background screen.

It’s because of these demands on your time that we do everything in our power to help make the lives of HR professionals just a little easier. Many of our clients use A-Check’s web-based applicant portal that efficiently shifts the data entry portion of background and drug screening request from the requestor (usually your HR Department) to the applicant. This expedites the hiring process because keyboarding errors and duplicative data entry can be minimized. The result is a seamless workflow affording the applicant more control through the screening process, ultimately leading to faster processing times and greater satisfaction for both the applicant and company.

How we do it

With A-Check Global’s mobile friendly, secure portal, applicants can conveniently submit information online, upload supporting documentation, self-schedule drug screens (as applicable), sign documents electronically, and request electronic copies of their completed background screen reports.

Providing this level of convenience to your applicants while keeping them updated throughout the background screening process means they stay engaged with your company and are less likely to look elsewhere for employment . . . a win-win for everyone involved!

A-Check Global understands how important it is to delight both you and your applicants when partnering with us. This is why we’re driven to provide the best employment screening experience possible. Contact us today to learn more, and to request a demo of our online systems. We’d welcome the opportunity.

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International Screening Solutions

Global Reach

Because talent knows no borders

Recruiting from an international talent pool offers near-limitless opportunity for employers, but can also present unique challenges when performing background screens. An effective global risk mitigation strategy requires expertise from trained professionals tasked with researching and analyzing the vast quantities of data available worldwide.

We at A-Check Global provide our clients with professional screening services around the globe. Utilizing our professional in-house staff and our International Affiliate Network, we provide employment and education verification, drug screening, and international criminal records in more than 200 countries and territories world-wide. And, our international services are handled with the same care and attention to customer service that we provide for domestic services.

International Criminal Records Research

International criminal records searches are conducted both in-house and through our international research partner network. This network of professional researchers is comprised of established professionals with a proven record of expertise in their countries’ investigative and reporting processes. They are fully vetted, and monitored for accuracy and quality of service regularly.

International criminal records research is reported in real time through A-Check Global’s proprietary systems. Our research partners receive service requests and return completed investigations as well as supporting documentation through our secure portal, ensuring our clients receive results in a timely manner. Records are reviewed by our Quality Control and Compliance Department prior to release to clients to ensure we meet the regulations of the applicant’s home country as well as any client specific policies.

International Verifications

International verifications are conducted by our in-house team of professional verifiers. Our verifications specialists are available 24/5 to ensure work schedules align with all time zones. Utilizing an in-house group of verification professionals ensures international and domestic clients requesting background screening data receive the same level of dedication and attention to detail they enjoy from our US based services.

We maintain detailed turnaround time information for our employment, education, and professional reference verification services across the globe.

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Drug Screening: The pros and cons of each method

shutterstock_216274144

According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, the organization that certifies drug screening laboratories, 28.6 million people aged 12 or older reported that they had used an illicit drug in the past 30 days. That corresponds to roughly one in 10 Americans.

The use of illegal substances in the work place is an ever present threat against safety and productivity. It is important to understand what resources are available to help you screen for any potential risks your company may have and which methods best fit your current need.

Here is a brief summary of four of the most common screening options:

Urine

A common misconception is that a urine drug screen tests for traces of the drug itself inside of the urine, when in actuality, it is testing for the metabolites that the body produces while processing the substance, which remain in an individual’s system much longer that the drug itself.

Consequently, urine drug screens offer a much longer window of detection than other methods of screening. This window is what has caused urinalysis to become the primary method of occupational drug screening and the industry standard for detecting recent drug use, typically one to five days.

Urine drug screens are also currently the only method that is allowed for federally mandated testing, such as Department of Transportation regulated employees.

One of the downsides to urine testing is the potential for adulteration for non-observed tests. While there is no way to guarantee that a test has not been tampered with, there are options available to test the integrity of the samples that are provided. Creatinine and pH values are two of the common measurements used for ensuring the integrity of a urine specimen and are available at most major testing laboratories.

Saliva

Oral fluid’s strength is its accuracy detecting drug use within 36 hours of initial use. If an employee is suspected to have been under the influence in the past couple of days, an oral fluid test is the best option for confirming substance abuse in that time frame. As a result, oral fluid testing is a popular option for reasonable suspicion and post-accident screening scenarios. Unfortunately, this also makes it a poor choice for any kind of drug screen that an employee or applicant has had time to prepare for.

Unlike most urine drug screens, an oral fluid test is completely observed, which makes adulteration much more difficult for an employee who is being testing. Most oral fluid tests can be performed onsite at the place of employment, which reduces collection fees and productivity loss during the time of collection.

Hair

According to Quest Diagnostics, hair testing detects twice the number of positives as urine tests. This could be attributed to the much longer window of detection that hair screening offers. Unlike urine and saliva testing, which can be used effectively between one to five days, hair testing can detect drug use and patterns of drug use for up to three months.

This extended period of detection makes hair testing ideal for random program and pre-employment testing scenarios, where an employer may want a better idea of an employee or applicant’s long-term drug use patterns.

Hair testing would not be ideal in situation where recent drug use needs to be evaluated, since it takes roughly two to three weeks for the hair to grow in and show any kind of drug use. Since 100-120 strands of hair are needed to properly complete the hair testing, issues may also arise in applicants or employees who have little or no hair on their bodies or heads.

Blood

There is no better option for testing active drug use in an employee’s system than a blood screen, which can tell exactly what is currently in an individual’s system at the time of testing. Drugs and alcohol are rapidly metabolized in the body, which allows substance abuse to be detected within minutes of entering an individual’s system. The downside to this procedure, is that metabolization also quickly eliminates drugs from the body, allowing substance abuse to be test for only a few hours.

Due to the invasive nature of a blood test and the very brief detection window, blood testing is usually reserved for reasonable suspicion and post-accident screening where active drug or alcohol use is likely.

If you have questions about your current screening program, please don’t hesitate to reach out to us. A-Check Global’s team of dedicated professionals is available to help and provide friendly, accurate guidance. Give us a call today at 877-345-2021, or email support@acheckglobal.com.

Drug Urine Saliva Hair Blood
Amphetamines 24-72 hrs 24-36 hrs 1-3 months 24 hrs
Cocaine 24-72 hrs 24-36 hrs 1-3 months 1-3 days
Opiates 24-72 hrs 24-36 hrs 1-3 months 1-3 days
PCP (occasional use) 1-5 days 24-36 hrs 1-3 months 1-3 days
PCP (chronic use) up to 30 days 24-36 hrs 1-3 months 1-3 days
THC (occasional use) 1-5 days <24 hrs 1-3 months 12-24 hrs
THC (chronic use) up to 30 days <24 hrs 1-3 months 2-7 days
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Time for housekeeping: Let’s make sure you’re protected and compliant!

Business Man With Checkboxes

We at A-Check Global are thrilled you have chosen us as your business partner. A key element of our partnership’s mutual success is regularly working together to ensure your information and processes are up to date. Doing some annual housekeeping can further the ongoing protection of your account information and help confirm your hiring and employment practices remain fully compliant.

To begin, let’s review the following items:

  • Your User List: Let us know if there’s anyone on your user team(s) we need to add, remove, or edit. Has anyone’s access level recently changed or need updating?
  • Your Background Check Policy: when is the last time you read it? Does it need refreshing? Does it reflect changes in legislation that might impact your guidelines and hiring process?
  • Your separate Disclosure and Authorization forms: The emphasis here is on the word “separate.” Do you have current, compliant, stand-alone documents for your applicants?
  • Your Adverse Action process and communication: Are you currently compliant? Our Oct 2017 Blog is a great refresher!
  • Your adherence to Ban the Box Legislation: When in doubt, don’t forget you can always #AskACheck.
  • The compliance of your eSignature process (if applicable).

A-Check Global is your trusted partner. If you have any questions, our team of dedicated professionals are available to help, and can provide friendly, accurate guidance.

Give us a call today at 877-345-2021, or email support@acheckglobal.com.

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The Value of ISO 9001:2008 Certification

iso-logo

ISO 9001:2008 Certification is an important seal of approval illustrating a company’s commitment to the operating standards of an internationally recognized ISO management system. The certification helps confirm a company’s credibility as well as present evidence to a potential client that the company will fulfill its business promises.

Obtaining ISO 9001:2008 Certification shows a company’s focus on high-quality business practices: customer satisfaction, production objectives, environmental standards, etc. Achieving Certification strengthens these commitments and increases credibility and customer confidence in a company’s brand and ability to serve.

For example, by running a quality management system, a company can stay in control of its processes and procedures, ensuring that if anything does go wrong it is rectified quickly, efficiently, and to the satisfaction of the customer. It can also help ensure a smooth line of communication between employees, suppliers and customers at all times.

ISO 9001:2008 quality management is the core business operations standard on which most other standards are based. It’s focused on customer service and on ensuring customers receive quality service at a fair cost.

This is why we at A-Check Global were thrilled to announce our ISO 9001:2008 re-Certification in December 2017, a distinction we’ve held since 2006.

Here’s what ISO 9001:2008 Certification means to you . . . and to us:

Here at A-Check Global:

  • We are committed to resource management and efficient, ethical service
  • Internal controls are in place to ensure consistent customer service
  • Our employees are motivated to provide friendly, professional service

Benefits to our customers:

  • Our business decisions are made with you in mind
  • Issues are identified and resolved quickly
  • You benefit from innovation and robust products and services

For more information about this topic feel free to contact us at connect@acheckglobal.com. We welcome the opportunity to speak with you.

References

https://www.isoqsltd.com/faq/

https://www.isoqsltd.com/iso-certification/iso-9001-certification-quality-management-system/

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Restricting the use of salary history when making employment decisions

compliance3

In our fourth “CRAsh Course” blog entry, we examine salary history bans, the latest trend in fair chance employment legislation.

Addressing Pay Disparity to Minimize “Prisoner of the Past” Impact on Applicants

Many states and municipalities have already enacted (or are considering) laws prohibiting the request of salary information during both the screening process and while making employment compensation decisions.

These newest regulations follow the trend of post-recession restrictions being placed on screening processes. And, much like ban the box laws and limits placed on the use of credit reports, salary history bans are designed to offer applicants greater potential for fair employment.

Ensuring Competitive Pay

In the past, employers typically offered a slight increase in pay over a previous job to make the overall employment package more enticing. However, those advocating for current salary ban laws argue this practice potentially locks workers in a low-wage cycle if they were underpaid by previous employers. Worse than that, in the event lower pay was from some form of discrimination, the effects of the original discriminatory practice would continue.

Keep in mind, while these laws may help employees and applicants, employers will need to pay particular attention to their recruiting and hiring practices. Beyond potential litigation for continuing unlawful salary requests, regulators in states with salary history bans in place may also be able to use the power these laws grant to quickly identify discrimination and bring charges against employers.

A-Check Global, Your Trusted Partner

A-Check Global is already out in front of this evolving legislation. To ensure that both we and our clients maintain compliance with these laws, we no longer request or collect salary information when conducting employment verifications. Additionally, we ensure that supplemental documents used by A-Check to verify employment are not visible to clients.

While we can certainly assist you in remaining compliant, there are important steps that should also be part of your organization’s employment decision efforts. We suggest you consider the following:

  1. Update your applications; remove any request for salary history information.
  2. When requesting information on employment history, request only dates, title, and other relevant non-salary information.
  3. Update your interview questions/processes; if asking “how much you’re currently making” is part of your interview questionnaire, it should be removed.
  4. Know position pay scales going in, as some salary history ban laws require employers to disclose pay to an applicant when they ask. Interviewers should know the position’s pay scale before the interview.
  5. As always, discuss with your legal team all processes and procedures your company should have in place, and enact policies based on their feedback.

For more information about this topic, or to request any information on Consumer Reports feel free to contact us at connect@acheckglobal.com.

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Effective January 1, 2018: DOT Drug Screening Expands to Include Semi-Synthetic Opioids

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The Department of Transportation (DOT) has ruled to adopt drug screening panels set by the Department of Health and Human Services earlier this year, with changes in effect January 1, 2018.

What changes are being made to the panel?

The DOT has opted to expand the required panel to include the following Schedule II semi-synthetic opioids: hydrocodone, hydromorphone, oxycodone, and oxymorphone. Technically, the DOT panel is still considered a 5-panel drug screen. The difference is in the expanded opioid coverage that will now be part of federal drug screening programs for urine testing. Many might be more familiar with these opioids from their pharmaceutical brand names: OxyContin®, Percodan®, Percocet®, Vicodin®, Lortab®, Norco®, Dilaudid®, and Exalgo®.

Additionally, Methylenedioxyamphetamine (MDA) has been added as an initial test analyte, replacing methylenedioxy-N-ethylamphetamine (MDEA).

Why were these changes made?

Prescription drugs have become one of the most widely used, misused, and abused drugs in history. They are highly addictive and often prescribed as pain management for everything from minor procedures and broken bones to chronic conditions. In 2015, opioid misuse and overdose culminated in over 33,000 deaths for the year. In 2017, the current administration declared the opioid epidemic a public health emergency.

The inclusion of these semi-synthetic opioids is the DOT’s response to this epidemic and an attempt to remove these drugs from the federal workplace environment.

What does this mean for employers? What is the impact to existing screening programs?

While employers are assured their employee pools are being tested for a commonly abused class of drugs not previously tested under the DOT panel, these changes will have some impact:

  1. There may be instances where employees who have not previously tested positive on their drug screens will now be showing positive on their results.
  2. Diligent reporting by the Medical Review Officer (MRO) may increasingly raise safety concerns or report an employee unqualified as part of a reasonable medical judgement.
  3. And, finally, a potential increase in drug screening price.

A little more about safety concerns raised by the MRO.

If the MRO believes there is a significant safety risk with the employee’s continued use of an opioid drug, then the MRO will now instruct the employee to have his/her prescribing health care provider (HCP) contact the MRO to discuss possible changes or discontinuance of the medication.

There are three outcomes for this process:

  1. If the prescribing HCP does not contact MRO within 5 days, the MRO will report a safety concern to the employer.
  2. If the prescribing HCP discontinues the medication or changes the medication to one that does not present a significant safety risk, the MRO will not report a safety concern to the employer.
  3. If the prescribing HCP contacts the MRO and states that the medication is not being changed or discontinued, the MRO will report a safety concern and recommend a fitness for duty evaluation of the employee.

The usual Federal Chain of Custody and Control forms (CCF) that we have now can still be utilized after Jan. 1, 2018 without issue until June 30, 2018 at all laboratories. After that, we will be required to use the newly updated CCFs for any federal drug screening.

How can I make sure that I am ready for the upcoming changes?

A-Check Global is your trusted partner during this change. If you have any questions surrounding your federal workplace program or changes to the DOT protocol, A-Check Global’s team of dedicated professionals are available to help, and can provide friendly, accurate guidance.

Give us a call today at 877-345-2021, or email support@acheckglobal.com.

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Background Screening and the Education Community

 

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As one might guess, business rules that help guide employment decisions can differ based on the needs of the organization or industry. The education community is a great example, especially because faculty or other employees may be in contact with children or young adults. Likewise, schools are largely dependent on their reputations as an organization and on the integrity of those working on campus. These higher standards often result in greater, mandatory background screening requirements for the education community.

Here’s a small sample of state-specific background screening legislation:

For example, in Florida, Senate Bill 988 requires specific notations on the driver’s licenses of sexual predators, and establishes stringent standards for background screening of individuals providing contracted non-instructional services to Florida public schools or districts. Additionally, Senate Bill 1712 establishes that a conviction of certain offenses makes one ineligible for a Florida Educator Certificate, and additionally, instructional personnel and school administrators are ineligible for employment in any position that requires direct student contact in a district school system, charter school, private school that accepts students under the Corporate Tax or McKay Scholarships, or the Florida School for the Deaf and the Blind.

Pennsylvania School Law requires that all applicants for employment in public and private schools, employees of independent contractors seeking business with public and private schools, and student teacher candidates undergo background checks if they will have direct contact with students. School volunteers who are responsible for children’s welfare or who have “direct volunteer contact” with children at a school are also required to have background checks.

Of course, these aren’t the only states requiring mandatory background screening for those working with children, but are used to illustrate that if you’re planning a career in education, be prepared to submit to background screening for each position you hold.

If you have questions about the background screening process, A-Check Global’s team of dedicated professionals are available to help, and can provide friendly, accurate guidance. Give us a call today at 877-345-2021, or email support@acheckglobal.com.

References:

http://www.fldoe.org/teaching/professional-practices/background-screening-requirements.stml

http://www.education.pa.gov/Teachers%20-%20Administrators/Background%20checks/Pages/default.aspx#tab-1

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A-Check Global Awarded ISO 9001:2008 re-Certification

A-Check Global, an internationally recognized provider of employment background screening solutions, is proud to announce that audits covering every aspect of business operations have been successfully completed and A-Check Global has been awarded ISO 9001:2008 re-Certification.

 The ISO 9001:2008 quality management standard—developed by the International Organization for Standardization (ISO)—is focused on ensuring businesses have regularly reviewed processes, procedures, and internal controls in place to ensure consistent delivery of quality service to its customers.

 A-Check Global has been ISO 9001:2008 Certified since 2006, illustrating its unwavering commitment to both its superior customer service and the integrity of its internal business practices.

 “Achieving ISO 9001:2008 Certification—as any business going through the process can attest—is as demanding as it is rewarding,” said Donald Shimizu, Executive Vice President. “This certification reflects an ongoing promise from everyone at A-Check Global to conduct business efficiently and ethically, to meet the needs of our customers by providing sound products and services, and to ensure business decisions are made with our clients in mind. We are honored to be recognized once again for our pledge to business quality.”

 

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DOT Use of Paperless Chain of Custody and Control Forms

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In 2015, the Department of Transportation (DOT) approved the use of Electronic Federal Chain of Custody and Control Forms, sometimes referred to as eCOCs or eCCFs.

In simple terms, it represents a virtual paper trail from here to there.

Think of it as a digital version—an “electronic paper trail”—of a traditional paper form, detailing every step on the journey taken during a human specimen test. This includes everything from collection to transfer, analysis, and reporting—all linked to a specific screening laboratory. Employers are required to provide this level of control documentation to every candidate undergoing a drug screen.

For DOT testing programs, the eCCF is also used to document final results reported to a Medical Review Officer (MRO).

The introduction of these electronic forms into the DOT testing environment has streamlined the drug screening process, reducing turnaround times by preventing delays in the transfer of documents and eliminating the need for employers, Medical Review Officers, and Third-Party Administrators to track down CCFs.

Errors are minimized and deadlines are easily met.

Short deadlines in the electronic Chain of Custody process, such as the collection facility’s responsibility to send the CCF to a Medical Review Officer (MRO) within 24-hours, are met more reliably than with the paper process. There are also many other important benefits:

  • The potential for data entry errors is reduced; information is entered into the system once, and the need to decipher handwritten information is eliminated.
  • Barcodes attached to every specimen accurately detail donor demographics.
  • Through approved locations with proper technology, donors can now provide an electronic signature.
  • Fatal flaws (fairly common problems that can jeopardize drug screen integrity) are minimized: missing signatures, inaccurate donor, employer, or collection facility information, etc.

Additionally, since drug tests can now be processed online, employers no longer need to order, store, or mail physical forms and no longer need to worry about using the correct federal or forensic form. Tracking a drug screen and staying up to date on its progress is now completed electronically.

If you have questions about your current screening program, please don’t hesitate to reach out to us. A-Check Global’s team of dedicated professionals is available to help and provide friendly, accurate guidance. Give us a call today at 877-345-2021, or email support@acheckglobal.com.

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Employer (End User) Responsibility during Background Screening

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When an employer uses an applicant’s background information to make informed employment decisions, they must do so in compliance with a number of federal and regulatory laws in place to protect applicants from any type of discrimination. The “End User” legal responsibilities include:

  1. Establishing Permissible Purpose
  2. Disclosure and Authorization
  3. Evaluation; and
  4. Adverse Action Notification

Let’s take a deeper look at End User responsibilities based on Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) and Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) guidelines.

Permissible Purpose

According to the FCRA, the End User must have a legal permissible purpose for requesting a background screen report. End Users requesting background checks from A-Check Global do so under the legal permissible purpose of employment. The permissible purpose of employment maintains slightly different rules from other consumer report permissible purposes. Of these rules, the End User’s responsibility of Disclosure and Authorization is one of the most crucial requiring compliance.

Disclosure and Authorization

The End User must properly disclose that they will conduct a background screen—and subsequently will receive a background information report—in a document consisting solely of the Disclosure. Following this disclosure, the next required step is to obtain authorization from the applicant prior to processing their background screen. It is the End User’s responsibility to manage the forms they provide to applicants. These forms are often referred to as Disclosure and/or Authorization forms and provide the applicant with details pertaining to permissible purpose for conducting the background investigation, and their rights throughout the process. Disclosure and Authorization forms can typically be signed physically or electronically. However, your company or organization should always consult with your legal team to confirm you are utilizing the appropriate forms, and, if you are utilizing an electronic signature option, to ensure your system complies with the E-SIGN Act of 1999 and UETA requirements. For additional information about this responsibility, you may contact A-Check Global and we will provide information on utilizing A-Check Global’s pre-prepared forms. After disclosure and authorization, End Users must focus on evaluation.

Evaluation

Evaluating background screening results is the responsibility of each hiring company or organization. Your background screening agency is legally unable to evaluate the background screen and make hiring decisions. While agencies may adjudicate reports based on a pre-defined matrix supplied by the End User, the End User must review and evaluate each report, prior to making a hiring decision, in order to maintain compliance.

The EEOC states that End Users perform the following steps when utilizing background information in making a hiring decision:

  • Apply the same standards to everyone, regardless of their race, national origin, color, sex, religion, disability, genetic information (including family medical history), or age.
  • Take special care when basing employment decisions on background problems that may be more common among people of a protected class.
  • Be prepared to make exceptions for problems revealed during a background check that were caused by a disability.

In the event that an evaluation yields a negative result, employers must participate in the adverse action process.

Adverse Action

Whenever Adverse Action is taken based on background screening results, the End User must notify the candidate. For instance, if you do not hire an individual based on criminal records located during the background screening process, you must supply the candidate with a pre-adverse notification followed by a final adverse notification.

The pre-adverse notification will afford the candidate the opportunity to dispute the findings on their report. It should provide details about the agency that completed the report, including the contact information to be used should the candidate wish to file a dispute. The Final Adverse Notification should be sent within a reasonable timeframe after the pre-adverse notification. While there is no time frame specified by the FCRA, A-Check Global best practices suggest waiting at least five days before sending the final notification and continuing to hold the job open in any case where the applicant files a dispute.

Regulatory compliance plays a major role in the background screening process. There are many potential risks and liabilities associated with utilizing reports, and it is in your company or organization’s best interest to follow best practices, guidelines and regulations outlined by the FCRA and EEOC. As the End User of a consumer or investigative background screen report, you have a number of responsibilities and should remain proactive in maintaining an understanding of these responsibilities, at all times. And as always, if you have any questions you may contact us at 877-345-2021 or clientsupport@acheckglobal.com.

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A Fair Chance for Applicants – the Rise of Ban the Box Legislation

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Welcome to the third blog in our CRAsh Course on consumer reporting. In this article, we continue to focus on changes implemented since the Great Recession by looking deeper into Ban the Box laws—fair hiring practices that put a candidate’s qualifications first by removing questions about criminal history.

A Fair Chance for Applicants – the Rise of Ban the Box Legislation

In our last article  we discussed how the Great Recession drove lawmakers to place limits on the use of credit reports in consumer reporting. This time, we look into Ban the Box laws which also gained popularity toward the end of the economic crisis.

Prior to the Great Recession, Hawaii was the only state with Ban the Box legislation in place. Since 2009, twenty-eight additional states have enacted some form of statewide Ban the Box policy. In states without Ban the Box laws, cities and counties have enacted their own regulations.

During the crisis, high rates of unemployment led to increased competition between applicants. As a result, many people admitting to a criminal record on their application were immediately disregarded without any consideration for previous work history, or received no thoughtful analysis of how their criminal record affected their ability to perform job duties.

To combat this, Ban the Box regulations were designed to give people with a criminal record a better chance at gaining employment. By forcing employers to wait until an interview has taken place, or until a job offer has been made, proponents of these laws believe people with convictions have a better shot at getting a job.

Recently, the effectiveness of these laws has come into question; however, states continue to enact legislation banning employers from asking for conviction history during the application process. In 2017 alone, Indiana, Kentucky, Nevada, Pennsylvania and Utah had laws “banning the box” go into effect.

Employee rights organizations, like the National Employment Law Project (NELP), also feature Ban the Box laws prominently in their platforms. Support for the laws appears alongside topics covered extensively by the media, such as the $15 minimum wage movement, and furthering rights for “gig” workers like Uber drivers.

Remaining Compliant and Best Practices

The patchwork rollout of Ban the Box regulations can make compliance with these laws daunting. 29 states and 150 municipalities have enacted Ban the Box regulations for at least some employees. Nine states have Ban the Box laws in place for all employees. There is currently no federal law affecting private companies. This makes creating nationwide best practices difficult.

It is important for employers to know the laws of their jurisdiction, or the jurisdictions where they have hiring locations. This list, completed by the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM), has information on all states and municipalities with Ban the Box laws in effect. It can help you determine if your company is in a jurisdiction with a Ban the Box law.

As the laws vary, often times even from city to city, even smaller businesses with only a few offices could have different requirements from one location to the next. To simplify their processes, many companies like Walmart, Target and Home Depot, have enacted companywide Ban the Box policies. You may wish to go this route as well.

Estimates show that nearly two-thirds of employees live in an area with a Ban the Box policy in place, so it’s likely you’re already working in a jurisdiction with Ban the Box legislation. To ensure compliance, your application and hiring processes should be reviewed by a legal or HR professional. It’s also a good idea to periodically review your policies against current law and make updates when needed.

If you are not in a jurisdiction with Ban the Box laws in place, best practice is to remain updated on potential regulations that could go into effect. Subscribing to Human Resource oriented blogs and Google Alerts related to Ban the Box can be a simple, inexpensive way to stay informed.

Contracting with a background screening company committed to compliance—like A-Check Global—can also help you remain compliant with these laws. As many background screening companies host the application or applicant consent process for their clients, they are also often responsible for complying with Ban the Box.

For more information about this topic, or to discuss information on consumer reporting, feel free to contact us at connect@acheckglobal.com.

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The Impact of Marijuana Legalization

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The growing number of legalized marijuana states indicates a public perception shift of marijuana’s role in their communities. Many states have legalized the use of medical marijuana for patients with chronic or severe medical diagnoses, but many states are also starting to legalize the use of recreational marijuana, creating an issue for employers who are now unsure whether they are legally allowed to continue screening applicants and employees for marijuana use.

Does marijuana legislation protect employers?

More than half of the drug testing laws passed in 2016 were directly related to marijuana regulation, and a large percentage of the current regulation revolving around marijuana is heavily favored toward employer and business protection.

Currently, California regulation (Health and Safety Code – HSC, 11362.45) states, “Nothing in section 11362.1 shall be construed or interpreted to amend, repeal, affect, restrict, or preempt: … (f) The rights and obligations of public and private employers to maintain a drug and alcohol free workplace … or affect the ability of employers to have policies prohibiting the use of marijuana by employees and prospective employees, or prevent employers from complying with state of federal law.” This allows employers in California to continue drug screening their employees and applicants in order to maintain their zero-tolerance marijuana policies.

Additionally, Florida’s regulations (Chapter 381, Public Health – General Provisions) also protect employers from many of the issues surrounding marijuana legalization: “Nothing in this section shall require any accommodation of any on-site medical use of marijuana in any… place… of employment…”

The debate over consumption, safety, and workplace issues.

Some believe since recreational marijuana is now legal in a growing number of states, businesses should no longer be able to screen or reprimand employees for drug use, often drawing parallels between marijuana and alcohol effects. In business practice this does raise questions, as a substantial amount of research currently supports risk associated with marijuana consumption.

According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), the potency of marijuana has risen by a factor of three in the last 30 years. This increase, coupled with the recent legalization movements, has caused numerous agencies from marijuana-legal states to report severe increases in public safety hazards.

Following the legalization of medical and recreational marijuana in Colorado, the Rocky Mountain High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area; an organization governed by the Office of National Drug Control Policy; whose goal is to facilitate cooperation and coordination against drug trafficking in areas surrounding Colorado, Utah, and Wyoming; have reported the following conclusions:

  • Traffic fatalities involving operators testing positive for marijuana have increased 100 percent from 2007 to 2012
  • The majority of driving-under-the-influence arrests involve marijuana and 25 to 40 percent were marijuana alone
  • There has been a 16 percent increase in toxicology reports showing positive marijuana driving-under-the-influence results
  • 57 percent increase in marijuana-related emergency room visits from 2011 through 2013
  • 82 percent hospitalization increase from 2008 to 2013

This evidence strongly supports the hazards irresponsible marijuana use can cause. The cognitive impairment that marijuana imposes on the user produces a substantial risk for any employee operating or working near heavy machinery.

It also has a significant impact on a person’s ability to perform basic work functions. In a recent study, the National Academy of Sciences (NAS) stated that “recent cannabis use impairs the performance in cognitive domains of learning, memory, and attention” with “recent use” being defined as a 24-hour period.

There are also other major costs that employers may incur from employees who are regularly using marijuana that are related to insurance and healthcare expenses. NAS has also found that smoking marijuana on a regular basis is associated with chronic cough and may be linked to greater mental health symptoms for people suffering from bipolar disorders.

Legislation is evolving and ongoing.

There have already been more than 20 bills introduced in the post-2016 election regarding the regulation and legalization of marijuana. The landscape of marijuana legislation is likely to continue to push in favor of legalization, making the importance of developing an effective drug-free workplace policy and having an effective drug screening program a critical business decision for your organization.

If you have questions about developing a drug-free policy, or about your current screening program, please don’t hesitate to reach out to us. A-Check Global’s team of dedicated professionals are available to help, and can provide friendly, accurate guidance. Give us a call today at 877-345-2021, or email support@acheckglobal.com.