Featured

A Quick Look at Pre-Employment Credit Screening (From the Applicant Point of View)

If your organization runs pre-employment credit checks as part of your overall screening program, let’s ask you to put on your “applicant hat” for this blog entry. We’ll take a minute to look at credit checks from the applicant angle. And more importantly, to see what they face when applying for positions while also battling—or recovering from—lackluster credit histories.

So, just how many companies run pre-employment credit checks?

You might be surprised to know that a good percentage of companies make it common practice to run credit checks, especially for job positions handling money and/or sensitive, personal information. In fact, many run credit checks as a predictor that if an applicant successfully manages their own money, it’s a sign that he or she will make good, ethical decisions in the workplace.

A 2018 HR.com survey of HR professionals reported that just over 30% of companies performed credit checks on at least some of their applicants, if not all. Of course, if you’re not already running credit checks, we always recommend you check with your legal resource to confirm any limitations in your area for doing so.

Let applicants know what information is available during a credit check.

Your applicant just dazzled you with an impressive interview. You think it could potentially be a great match, and hopefully for many years to come. You may even be considering a conditional job offer. Now, it’s time to share that you run a pre-employment credit check as part of your company’s overall background screening—and here come the questions. No worries, this is what you do best. Take a moment to let them know what is, and isn’t, part of the credit check:

  • First, and probably most important to your applicant: the credit check doesn’t include a credit score. The credit score isn’t provided as part of a pre-employment credit check.
  • The report will show open accounts (without actual account numbers), payment history, outstanding balances, and open credit amounts. You’ll also have access to information about accounts in collections, negative payment history, and credit to balance limits ratio—unfortunately known as red flag items that illustrate credit issues.
  • The credit check is known as a soft hit, which will have no impact on the applicant’s credit score. Hard hits, like inquiries run for purposes of a loan offer or credit extension, can potentially impact a credit score.

Now, pretend you’re the applicant. How’s YOUR Credit?

Applicants may have asked you how they can improve their credit score. As an HR professional, it certainly helps to have a few key pieces of advice on hand. Or, perhaps this has you now thinking about your own credit history. Because who knows, perhaps someday you might be an applicant about to land your next dream job!

  • Top Tip: Regularly review your credit report for inaccurate information. You may already know, but it bears repeating that you can obtain a free credit report from all three credit bureaus at annualcreditreport.com. You’re entitled to one free report per year from each bureau (TransUnion, Equifax, and Experian). If you spread that out across the year, it would mean you could go to one of the three bureaus every four months for your report.  
  • If you find inaccurate information, it is critical to immediately dispute it with the credit bureaus. Keep in mind that applicants finding inaccurate information may also reach out before a credit check to let you know they are currently disputing information. And, while it may be a little “too much information,” know that applicants may let you know their credit troubles are the result of a particular hardship—like a divorce, family death, or other life event.

The bottom line, pre-employment credit checks can be a valuable tool to understand your applicants’ approach to money management, as well as their potential to make appropriate decisions in their roles within your organization. As an HR professional, it’s also a great opportunity to help ensure you’re making informed employment decisions for the safety and well-being of your organization.

Featured

Compliance Clips for October 2020

CONSUMER REPORTING

Helpful Compliance Guidance for End Users of Consumer Reports
You may already know that the federal Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) is the primary legislation regulating the procurement and use of a consumer report (a background screening report from A-Check Global, for example). Adding even more complexity to compliance focus—regulatory compliance for domestic consumer reporting also includes state and jurisdiction consumer reporting laws with additional procedures and disclosures. This topic can become very confusing, very quickly. Please know we’re always here to help. A-Check developed a handy checklist to help you gauge your organization’s current level of regulatory compliance for the end use of consumer reports in the hiring process.
READ MORE

I-9 AND E-VERIFY

Extension: Form I-9 and Requirements in response to COVID-19
An additional update is available in light of ongoing COVID-19 efforts. The in-person requirement for the Form I-9 is temporarily suspended if your company is closed or taking other precautions due to COVID-19. The general rule is that an employer must undertake a physical inspection of the document(s) presented by the employee for section 2 purposes.

UPDATE: Because of ongoing COVID-19 precautions, it has been announced that remote I-9 document review has been extended for another 60 days; the expiration date for these accommodations is now November 19, 2020.

The government has suspended the in-person and physical inspection of the document(s) presented by the employee when completing the Form I-9. During this time, an employer can view the document(s) presented by the employee via Zoom or Skype, for example.
READ MORE

Florida
The Florida Governor signed a new E-Verify law. Beginning January 1, 2021, Florida public employers, private contractors, and subcontractors, must register with and use E-Verify to confirm work eligibility of new hires.
READ MORE

SUBSTANCE ABUSE TESTING

Arizona
A measure to legalize marijuana in Arizona officially qualified for the November General Election ballot as Prop. 207. Under the measure, adults could possess up to an ounce of marijuana at a time and cultivate up to six plants for personal use. The initiative also contains several restorative justice provisions such as allowing individuals with prior marijuana convictions to petition the courts for expungement. We’ll keep an eye on this one and report back to you after the elections.
READ MORE

Substance Abuse Trends Reported by Quest Diagnostics
U.S. General Workforce drug positivity hits 16-Year High in 2019. Quest Diagnostics—a trusted A-Check drug screening partner and leading provider of diagnostic services—recently released their Drug Testing Index™ analysis of more than nine million workplace drug test results. As Quest Diagnostics reports, even prior to COVID-19, workplace drug positivity rates were trending in the wrong direction. Now, with many Americans under higher stress levels as they continue to juggle remote work schedules, childcare and homeschool responsibilities, and even frustration from ongoing social isolation, it stands to reason that there may have been negative impact on general health and well-being during these recent months.
READ MORE

AS A REMINDER: At A-Check, we’re happy to help implement a drug screening program that meets your evolving needs—or make adjustments to the program you’re already running with us. Just give us a call at 877-345-2021 and ask to speak with someone on your Client Relations team.

BAN THE BOX AND CRIMINAL HISTORY DISCLOSURE

Hawaii
Effective September 15, 2020, Hawaii amends its Ban the Box law to fortify protections for individuals with old and/or relatively minor conviction records. The law prevents most private sector employers from considering felony convictions older than seven years, and misdemeanor convictions older than five years. However, an employer making employment decisions may inquire about and consider an individual’s criminal conviction record, provided the conviction in question has a logical relationship to the position’s duties.
READ MORE

North Carolina
State jobs will be more open to people with criminal records, due to a new executive order signed by Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper. Starting in November, 2020, the state will no longer ask prospective job applicants to check a box saying whether they have a criminal record. This law will apply only to state government jobs, not private companies or local governments. The elimination of that question on job applications has been a longtime goal of Ban the Box supporters in North Carolina.
READ MORE

SALARY HISTORY

Maryland
Maryland prohibits employers from relying on job applicants’ prior pay. The new salary history ban and wage range notice requirement takes effect October 1, 2020. This new law will 1) prohibit employers from requesting or relying on job applicants’ prior pay history to make decisions about employment or initial pay in most circumstances; and 2) require an employer to provide an applicant, upon request, with the wage range for the job applied for. The new law amends Maryland’s existing Equal Pay for Equal Work (EWEW) law, and will apply to all private, state, and local government employers in Maryland.
READ MORE

A Look at Salary History Bans Already in Place
State and local governments are increasingly adopting legislation to prohibit employers from requesting salary history from job applicants. For your reference, here’s a great running list of states and localities that have legislation in place.
READ MORE

COVID-19

Updated COVID-19 Guidance from the EEOC
The EEOC recently updated guidance on the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and the Coronavirus pandemic. This new information expands their prior guidance on how the ADA applies to the current pandemic. In a question and answer form, this guidance covers a number of important issues surrounding COVID-19 and the workplace, including: the right for an employer to ask employees entering the office if they have COVID-19 symptoms, the right for an employer to report employees with COVID-19 or associated symptoms to appropriate personnel, the right for an employer to require a temperature check, and much more.
READ MORE

Questions? We’re here to help!

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U.S. General Workforce Drug Positivity hits 16-Year High in 2019

Quest Diagnostics—a trusted A-Check drug screening partner and leading provider of diagnostic services—recently released their Drug Testing Index™ analysis of more than nine million workplace drug test results. According to their findings, the rate of workforce drug positivity hit a 16-year high in 2019. For example, positivity rates in the combined U.S. workforce increased in urine drug tests, climbing to 4.5%, the highest level since 2003—and more than 28% percent higher than the thirty-year low of 3.5% recorded between 2010 and 2012.

Here are a few key index findings from Quest:

  • Marijuana positivity continues to top the list of most commonly detected substances across all U.S. workforce categories, reaching 3.1% in 2019. This of course is led by positivity in recreational use states. And we hear you . . . it’s hard enough keeping track of evolving legalization legislation. Here’s a website with comprehensive information that may be a good resource in addition to our own compliance updates each month.
  • Specific regions of the United States, particularly the West and Midwest, experienced increases in positivity for cocaine and methamphetamine in 2019. Positivity increased to as high as 0.28% in these areas. 
  • Methamphetamine positivity continues to increase across multiple specimen types. General U.S. workforce categories reached positivity a positivity rate of 0.19% in 2019, when analyzing results from urine, hair, and oral fluid testing.
  • When looking across classifications based on the North American Industry Classification System (NAICS), the Retail Trade category has been identified by Quest as holding the top spot for industry-specific positivity since 2015.
  • And, since 2015, the post-accident positivity rate has increased each year in the general U.S. workforce, reaching 9.1% in 2019.
  • More Quest insight can be found online within their Drug Testing Index.

Will COVID-19 prove to further these trends?

As Quest Diagnostics reports, even prior to COVID-19, workplace drug positivity rates were trending in the wrong direction. Now, with many Americans under higher stress levels as they continue to juggle remote work schedules, childcare and homeschool responsibilities, and even frustration from ongoing social isolation, it stands to reason that there may have been negative impact on general health and well-being during these recent months.

This combination of external forces can very easily lead to worsening heath issues and the opportunity to perhaps abuse alcohol or drugs—even among those who would not normally be inclined to do so. It’s not simply an issue of those at risk relapsing into prior addictive behavior.

Let’s work together for the continued safety of your workplace

Based on the potential for abuse due to COVID-19 related anxiety and strain, it is critical to continue your focus on workplace safety, as well as all employee health concerns.

Your company may be operating with a remote workforce, and you may be in the fortunate position to welcome new employees to the team over the coming weeks and months. Screening employees for substance abuse before they begin working for you—or if you have begun to see sharp declines in remote productivity among current employees—can greatly help ensure you’re doing all you can to keep a safe workplace and healthy, productive team members.

We welcome the opportunity to discuss your options, what you currently might have in place, or to help you build an effective, compliant drug screening program for your company.

Featured

Compliance Clips for September 2020

CONSUMER REPORTING

FCRA Class Action Activity
With nearly 5,000 FCRA cases filed in 2019, it’s no wonder everyone at A-Check Global is so committed to compliance. Case law decisions surrounding the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) continue to spotlight the critical need for compliance in background screening. Let’s use ongoing class action suits as an opportunity to see activity trends and best practice suggestions that can help your company remain compliant.
READ MORE

I-9 COMPLIANCE

A Further Extension: Form I-9 and Requirements in Light of COVID-19
An additional update is available in light of ongoing COVID-19 efforts. The in-person requirement for the Form I-9 is temporarily suspended if your company is closed or taking other precautions due to COVID-19. The general rule is that an employer must undertake a physical inspection of the document(s) presented by the employee for section 2 purposes.
UPDATE: Because of ongoing COVID-19 precautions, it has been announced that remote I-9 document review has been extended for another 30 days; the expiration date for these accommodations is now September 19, 2020.
The government has suspended the in-person and physical inspection of the document(s) presented by the employee when completing the Form I-9. During this time, an employer can view the document(s) presented by the employee via Zoom or Skype, for example.
READ MORE

I-9 Compliance Advice for Employers
And while we’re on the subject of I-9, we think there’s always time for a useful Top 10 list. Here’s a quick look at best practices for how to stay compliant with I-9 regulations.
READ MORE

SUBSTANCE ABUSE TESTING

Marijuana Legalization in November Elections
Along with all the other upcoming election activity, here’s a quick read on states voting on marijuana legalization in November: New Jersey, Mississippi, and South Dakota. Additional states—Arizona, Montana, Nebraska, and Oklahoma—are all working toward ballot measures for the upcoming November election.
READ MORE

New York
New York continues to lead the way with employee-friendly laws, regulations, and court rulings, including their approach to marijuana in the workplace. Employers should proceed with caution when terminating an employee who fails a drug test for marijuana. A New York employer was recently sued for discharging an employee for a positive marijuana test. They were sued for disability discrimination based on the employee disability and failure to accommodate a disability.
READ MORE

AS A REMINDER: At A-Check, we’re happy to help implement a drug screening program that meets your evolving needs—or make adjustments to the program you’re already running with us. Just give us a call at 877-345-2021 and ask to speak with someone on your Client Relations team.

BAN THE BOX AND CRIMINAL HISTORY DISCLOSURE

Boston University
A new player in the Ban-the-Box movement: Boston University is hoping to diversify its applicant pool by no longer requiring disclosure of criminal history on grad school applications. Recent research has highlighted that knowing applicant criminal history doesn’t help predict or reduce crime on campuses, and additionally, can have the negative effect of discrimination against people with criminal records.
READ MORE

Montgomery County, MD
A new bill is being introduced in Montgomery County, MD, to expand the scope of a Ban the Box law already in place, and would prohibit criminal background checks on job applicants until after a conditional job offer has been made. If passed, it would also apply to businesses with fewer than 15 employees. Further discussion planned for September 15.
READ MORE

Pennsylvania
Pennsylvania’s Senate Bill 637 was recently signed, removing some job licensing barriers to Pennsylvania workers with a criminal record. It is reported that one in five Pennsylvanians needs an occupational license to work. Boards and commissions are now not allowed to deny someone employment based on their criminal history unless their prior offenses are related to that particular line of work. Additionally, if boards and commissions do have stipulations about granting a job license to someone based on certain prior criminal offenses, that information will have to be publically available. However, sexual offenders will still not be permitted to work as healthcare providers.
READ MORE

FDIC Restrictions Loosened
The FDIC has loosened a number of restrictions that previously prohibited the hiring of bank personnel with criminal histories. The Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) published a final rule regarding Section 19 of the Federal Deposit Insurance Act, which restricts hiring at FDIC-insured depository institutions. Changes include the narrowing scope of crimes subject to Section 19 and the circumstances under which the FDIC’s written consent is required for a financial institution to make a hiring decision. This will allow more applicants to obtain work at FDIC member banks without having to go through the Section 19 application process.
READ MORE

SALARY HISTORY

Philadelphia
Starting September 1, 2020, Philadelphia employers will no longer be able to ask job applicants about their salary history, or require job applicants to disclose their salary history during the application process. Applicants may choose to disclose their wage history voluntarily, but an employer cannot use that information in setting initial wages. Likewise, Philadelphia employers may not retaliate against applicants who refuse to disclose their wage history.
READ MORE

Featured

Anticipated Court Delays Due to Extreme Weather Events

In the midst of recent and anticipated tropical storm and hurricane activity, we first want to say that we hope you and your families remain healthy and out of harm’s way. Due to these events, clients should anticipate delays at courthouses within the following counties. A-Check will continue to follow up on the status of these counties and provide additional updates as weather patterns are updated.

Current Counties Affected:
Texas: Jefferson, Hardin, Chambers, Sabine, and Orange
Louisiana: East Baton Rouge, St. Landry, and Livingston, Lafourche, Allen, Jefferson Davis, Cameron, St. John the Baptist

Featured

Helpful Compliance Guidance for End Users of Consumer Reports

You may already know that the federal Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) is the primary legislation regulating the procurement and use of a consumer report (a background screening report from A-Check Global, for example). In fact, A-Check is required to distribute a simplified document—Notice to Users of Consumer Reports: Obligations of Users Under the FCRA—that illustrates End User requirements.

Adding even more complexity to compliance focus—regulatory compliance for domestic consumer reporting also includes state and jurisdiction consumer reporting laws with additional procedures and disclosures.

Sound like a lot to keep up with? It is, and that’s why we’re your partner in the process.

This topic can become very confusing, very quickly. Regulatory compliance can be a lot for employers to digest while also depending on background screening reports to make ongoing hiring decisions. While many organizations may believe the background check company is solely responsible for the entire scope of every background screen, the reality is it’s a shared responsibility between those requesting a consumer report (the End User) and the company compiling the consumer report (A Consumer Reporting Agency like A-Check).

Your responsibilities as an End User:

It is recommended that your organization develop a background screening program and policy to ensure you’ve got a consistent process in place that can be regularly audited and adjusted if necessary. What’s more, this comprehensive documentation will go a long way in providing a defense should you experience a legal complaint from an applicant.

We welcome the opportunity to answer any questions you may have about your own background screening program, but in the meantime, A-Check has developed the following checklist to help you quickly gauge your organization’s current level of regulatory compliance for the end use of consumer reports in the hiring process:

PERMISSIBLE PURPOSE:
Ensure that your teams understands the permissible purpose for obtaining a consumer report and that you have certified with your Consumer Reporting Agency (A-Check, for example) that you’ll comply with the federal Fair Credit Reporting Act and all other legislation regulating the use of consumer reports.

DISCLOSURE:
Identify and carefully construct each of the required Disclosures for your process. Consider federal and state law, in addition to including all necessary language based on the type of information you include in the consumer report used for screening job applicants. For example:
– Consumer Report Disclosure
– Investigative Consumer Reporting Disclosure
– California Investigative Consumer Report Disclosure & check box requirement
– Credit Report Disclosure

AUTHORIZATION:
Craft a compliance Authorization form for signature. For example:
– Consumer Report Authorization that states “I authorize” the background check
– State required notices for Minnesota, New York, Oklahoma, Washington & check box requirements
– Personal Identifying Information form if applicable
– FCRA Summary of Rights
– If applicable, a compliant e-signature process

EVALUATION CRITERIA:
Standardize evaluation criteria based upon the characteristics and requirements of the job and not based on the characteristics of what is found in a consumer report.

DECISION:
A decision to hire is easy—simply onboard your applicant. However, the adverse decision not to hire based on the contents of a consumer report must be executed flawlessly each time a candidate is denied a job, including A) Pre-adverse—a dispute waiting period of 5 days, and B) Adverse communication. It is important to follow the FCRA process and applicable legislation like Ban the Box, etc. For example:
– FCRA: Pre-adverse Communication, EEOC form, copy of the report, and Summary of Rights
– Pre-adverse Ban the Box requirements including forms in Los Angeles and New York City
– Final Adverse Communication with state required notices for New Jersey, New York, & Washington
– Final Adverse Ban the Box requirements including forms in Los Angeles and New York City

Have questions about your current background screening program? We welcome your call, and we’re happy to help.

Featured

Compliance Clips for August 2020

CONSUMER REPORTING

FCRA Class Action Activity
With 4,937 FCRA cases filed in 2019, it’s no wonder everyone at A-Check Global is so committed to compliance. And, since the FCRA allows for the award of statutory damages and attorney’s fees, case filings are unlikely to slow down anytime soon. Let’s use ongoing class action suits as an opportunity to see activity trends and best practice suggestions that can help your company remain compliant.
READ MORE

How the FCRA Protects You
The Fair Credit Reporting Act protects you by ensuring the accuracy and privacy of your personal information, and by regulating the way credit reporting agencies gather, process, and share your data. Here’s a quick “refresher” read on basic protections the FCRA provides you and all other consumers.
READ MORE

I-9 COMPLIANCE

A Further Extension: Form I-9 and Requirements in Light of COVID-19
There has been an additional update in light of ongoing COVID-19 efforts. The in-person requirement for the Form I-9 is temporarily suspended if your company is closed or taking other precautions due to COVID-19. The general rule is that an employer must undertake a physical inspection of the document(s) presented by the employee for section 2 purposes.
UPDATE: Because of ongoing COVID-19 precautions, it has been announced that remote I-9 document review has been extended for another 30 days; the original exemption was set to expire July 19, 2020.
The government has suspended the in-person and physical inspection of the document(s) presented by the employee when completing the Form I-9. During this time, an employer can view the document(s) presented by the employee via Zoom or Skype, for example.
READ MORE

SUBSTANCE ABUSE TESTING

Kansas Currently Debating Marijuana Legislation
Marijuana legalization remains controversial in Kansas despite neighboring states showing much success. Kansas House candidates weigh in on the subject of future legislation in this quick read.
READ MORE

Montana Also Considering Marijuana Legislation
Montana may be on track to have marijuana legalization measures for the November ballot. In spite of signature gathering setbacks caused by COVID-19, Montana marijuana activists said on Friday that official county-level data shows they’ve collected enough valid signatures to qualify two legalization measures for the November ballot.
READ MORE

AS A REMINDER: At A-Check, we’re happy to help implement a drug screening program that meets your evolving needs—or make adjustments to the program you’re already running with us. Just give us a call at 877-345-2021 and ask to speak with someone on your Client Relations team.

BAN THE BOX

Aiken, South Carolina Joins Ban the Box
Aiken becomes the latest South Carolina city to join the Ban the Box initiative, removing criminal history from job applications—giving formerly incarcerated people a better chance at getting a job.
READ MORE

Suffolk County, New York: Ban the Box Effective August 25, 2020
Suffolk County, NY, soon will join other state and local governments enacting Ban The Box legislation, prohibiting the County or any other employer having at least 15 employees from asking job applicants about their prior criminal convictions until after the first interview. This previously passed Amendment will now go into effect on August 25, 2020.
READ MORE

COVID-19 & RETURN TO OFFICE

Workers Not Required to Submit to COVID-19 Antibody Testing
For those of you preparing to welcome employees back to the office: the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) recently stated that employers may not require that workers submit to a COVID-19 antibody test. An antibody test constitutes a medical examination under the ADA, and doesn’t meet the law’s “job related/business necessity” standard. The EEOC also stated that while temperature checks are also medical exams, they do satisfy as an element within a combination of health measures.
READ MORE

Featured

Unprecedented Times: Courts Remain Closed or “Kind-Of Open”

As an employer focused on the health of your employees and the continued success of your business, you’ve no doubt made a lot of pretty big adjustments to the way you do things. COVID-19 has presented challenges like we’ve never seen before.

Here at A-Check, we’ve been working via remote workforce to meet your needs without interruption, while at the same time navigating widespread court closures that have limited our access to documents and information.

As you already know, we continue to see impact in areas that have been hit hardest by COVID-19—like California and New Jersey. In NJ for example, some public access terminals have been removed, and court clerks are experiencing overwhelming call volume from field researchers requesting updates.

Courts are also working hard to meet the need

In spite of ongoing uncertainty and pandemic spikes, courts across the country have been doing their best to safely reopen wherever and whenever possible. This is great news for A-Check Global and other consumer reporting agencies trying to assist our customer requests.

During this time, many criminal record checks have been fulfilled through electronic court research, and we’ve provided results with little, if any delay. That said, in-person research has continued to be challenging in some courts. Limitations understandably continue to create longer turnaround times:

  • Courts are implementing CDC health guidelines. And while that is great for the safety of employees and visitors, that safety often means reduced capacity—often limited to just a few researchers within the building at a time—and longer turnaround time within courts.
  • Some courts have either removed or limited the access to public-facing terminals, limiting researcher access to information.
  • Some courts are requiring visitor/researcher appointments during specific times and days, or are limiting the amount of time any researcher can spend using public-facing terminals.
  • And, courts who offer personal service are now working with a substantial backlog of information requests that need to be fulfilled before getting to newer requests.

We’re here to help keep your requests moving forward, and will do everything we can to that end. Within our client-facing portal, we include a daily listing of court closures/delays to keep you informed, but are happy to answer any questions you may have about your criminal record requests. Please feel free to reach out to us at support@acheckglobal.com. Your business means the world to us, and we look forward to meeting your needs.

Featured

Compliance Clips for July 2020

DATA SECURITY LEGISLATION

New Zealand: New Privacy Bill Effective December 1, 2020
New Zealand’s parliament recently passed a modern version of privacy bill to replace the previous New Zealand Privacy Act. The bill is a new legal framework for the protection of information, including the introduction of a mandatory data breach notification. It received unanimous support in the parliament, and the bill—known as the New Zealand Privacy Act 2020—will become effective on December 1, 2020. This bill seeks to increase New Zealanders’ confidence that their personal information is secure and will be treated properly.
READ MORE

South Africa: New Privacy Law Now Effective
South Africa’s privacy law known as the Protection of Personal Information Act, 2013 (the POPIA) becomes effective July 1, 2020, providing detailed legislation supporting right to privacy. The POPIA provides for a general information protection mechanism applicable to organizations in both the public and private sectors. Similar to EU’s GDPR, POPIA establishes specific conditions for lawful processing of data.
READ MORE

Happy Birthday, GDPR
The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) recently turned two years old, and we’ve all learned a thing or two about preparing for, and complying with evolving data security legislation. GDPR has also done much to elevate overall focus on privacy compliance.
READ MORE

I-9 COMPLIANCE

A Reminder: Compliance with Form I-9 and E-Verify Requirements in Light of COVID-19
While we shared this information previously, there has been an additional update in light of ongoing COVID-19 efforts. The in-person requirement for the Form I-9 is temporarily suspended if your company is closed or taking other precautions due to COVID-19. The general rule is that an employer must undertake a physical inspection of the document(s) presented by the employee for section 2 purposes. UPDATE: Because of ongoing COVID-19 precautions, it has been announced that remote I-9 document review has been extended for another 30 days; the original exemption was set to expire June 18, 2020. The government has suspended the in-person and physical inspection of the document(s) presented by the employee when completing the Form I-9. During this time, an employer can view the document(s) presented by the employee via Zoom or Skype, for example.
READ MORE

SUBSTANCE ABUSE TESTING

Virginia: New Legislation Decriminalizes Simple Marijuana Possession
Now effective as of July 1, 2020, Virginia legislation decriminalizes possession, and prohibits employers from requiring applicants to disclose information related to past criminal possession charges.
READ MORE

Arizona: Growing Support for Marijuana Legalization Ballot Measure
Is Arizona next? In a survey of likely voters, about two-thirds showed support for placing a marijuana legalization initiative on the ballot this November. In the poll, which was conducted from May 18-22, the legalization initiative was positioned as a measure making it legal for adults 21 and older to purchase and possess cannabis and also impose taxes on legal sales. 400 respondents were asked if they would vote yes or no on the proposal.
READ MORE

AS A REMINDER: At A-Check, we’re happy to help implement a drug screening program that meets your evolving needs—or make adjustments to the program you’re already running with us. Just give us a call at 877-345-2021 and ask to speak with someone on your Client Relations team.

BAN THE BOX

St. Louis, Missouri: Ban the Box Legislation Passes
Beginning January 1, 2021, employers with ten or more employees, located within the City of St. Louis will be prohibited from inquiring about an applicant’s criminal history on the employment application. Once the law takes effect, employers may not base a hiring or promotional decision on the criminal history, or sentence, of an applicant unless 1) the history is found to be reasonably related to, or bearing upon, the duties and responsibilities of the position; and 2) the employer can demonstrate that the decision is based on all available information.
READ MORE

Suffolk County, New York: Ban the Box Legislation Passes
Suffolk County soon will follow the trend of other state and local governments enacting “ban the box” legislation. The Suffolk County, New York, Legislature has passed the “Fair Employment Screening Amendment,” prohibiting the County or any other employer having at least 15 employees from asking job applicants about their prior criminal convictions until after the first interview. The Amendment will go into effect on August 25, 2020.
READ MORE

SALARY HISTORY

Maryland: Upcoming Prohibition Against Wage History Inquiries
Maryland employers, get ready for new employment laws: Prohibition against facial recognition technology, salary history ban, and more. With regard to salary history ban, employers in Maryland should assess their hiring processes to ensure they do not request wage history information from applicants once the new law goes into effect on October 1, 2020.  Additionally, employers should ensure that applicants who request wage range information for the position to which they are applying are able to obtain such information once the new law is in effect.
READ MORE

Questions? We’re here to help!

Featured

Feds Grant Another 30-Day Extension for Remote I-9 Document Review

We previously noted in May that the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) had extended the flexibility policy in complying with requirements related to Form I-9’s section 2 (in-person employment eligibility verification) due to COVID-19.

UPDATE: Because of ongoing COVID-19 precautions, it has been announced that remote I-9 document review has been extended for another 30 days; the original exemption was set to expire June 18, 2020.

The general rule is that an employer must undertake a physical inspection of the document(s) presented by the employee for section 2 purposes. However, in light of COVID-19, the government is suspending the in-person and physical inspection of the document(s) presented by the employee when completing the Form I-9. During this time, an employer can view the document(s) presented by the employee via Zoom or Skype, for example.

Once normal operations resume, employers must inspect documents in person and note “COVID-19” as the reason for the delay in the section’s “additional information” field, as well as “documents physically examined” with the date of inspection to that field or Section 3 as appropriate, per ICE guidelines.

Please also keep in mind that this exception is only available to employers/workplaces currently operating remotely. If there are employees physically present at a work location, no I-9 exceptions are currently implemented.

READ MORE

Happy Birthday, Dear GDPR, Happy Birthday to You.

FeaturedHappy Birthday, Dear GDPR, Happy Birthday to You.

That’s right, Europe’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) just turned two years old. Seems like just yesterday this new legislation was the hot topic, and organizations were spending big dollars and months of development resources to ensure they were in compliance. Many were sure these new data privacy regulations would trigger millions of dollars in big fines, and even jeopardize the existence of some companies doing business online.

Fast forward two years, and there’s a lot of online discussion about what exactly GDPR has done for data privacy and the way companies look at their own roles in protecting consumer information. We haven’t seen the level of immense fines everyone anticipated, but GDPR has done much to elevate overall focus on compliance.

Consumers have greater awareness of how their information is used/shared

It’s been a long and slowly increasing trend, but consumer awareness about data privacy is gaining momentum. GDPR has helped by further bringing to light the way businesses gather personal information, the types of information they gather, and the rights consumers have over the protection of that data. In turn, companies doing business under GDPR are forced to handle that data with greater focus on compliance, including improved security controls and even adherence to guidelines that dictate how a company may use consumer data.

And yes, online consumers are also probably seeing a lot more website cookie messages these days. These messages aren’t the “be all, end all” of consumer education, but they are ongoing reminders to be increasingly aware of online privacy measures.

Other countries are aligning with GDPR legislation

By now, you’ve no doubt heard that many countries, states, and local governments are now aligning upcoming privacy laws with GDPR regulations. Here in the U.S., there is movement to further address data privacy at the federal level, and California’s new privacy law, the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA) became effective on January 1, 2020.

While the U.S., Brazil, and other countries working toward nationwide privacy laws aren’t necessarily developing mirror images of GDPR, they are working with the same general data privacy principles in mind.

Companies must adapt to growing data privacy regulations

Compliance with data law isn’t an option. Enforcement of privacy laws such as GDPR require companies to keep comprehensive compliance policies and procedures in place—and of equal importance, they must regularly review and improve upon those policies to remain current and compliant. Be it GDPR, CCPA, or perhaps even local law enacted in the future, companies have had to, and will need to continue their focus on data privacy and consumer education.

So, GDPR may only be two years old, but its impact is already proving to be far reaching and important legislation for both companies and consumers.

Featured

Compliance Clips for June 2020

CONSUMER LEGISLATION

Heroes Act Amendment Awaits Consideration in the Senate
The Heroes Act includes a provision which would place a temporary moratorium on the ability of consumer reporting agencies (CRAs) to furnish certain adverse information during major disasters, including during COVID-19. Section 110401 of the Heroes Act would amend the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) by adding, “No person may furnish any adverse item of information (except information related to a felony criminal conviction) relating to a consumer that was the result of any action or inaction that occurred during a covered period.”  A covered period could refer to COVID-19 and/or any major disaster or health emergency.
READ MORE

Brazil: New Privacy Law Enforcement Likely Postponed in Response to COVID-19
Brazil’s General Data Protection Law (aka, the Lei Geral de Proteção de Dados and referred to as the “LGPD” in the Portuguese acronym) appeared ready to go into effect in August 2020. However, as Brazil has recently become a COVID-19 hot spot, on April 3, 2020, the Brazilian Senate approved Bill No. 1179/2020. This emergency measure postpones the effective date for the LGPD to January 2021, with sanctions and penalties enforceable only after August 2021.
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Maryland: Employers, Get Ready for New Employment Laws
Several new bills, including ones that prohibit use of facial recognition technology, wage history inquires, hairstyle discrimination, and revisions to the state’s mini-WARN act, recently became law when the deadline for their enactment passed without Governor Larry Hogan’s veto.  These laws will take effect beginning October 1, 2020.
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I-9 COMPLIANCE

A Reminder: Compliance with Form I-9 and E-Verify Requirements in Light of COVID-19
While we shared this information previously, it bears repeating in light of ongoing COVID-19 efforts. The in-person requirement for the Form I-9 is temporarily suspended if your company is closed or taking other precautions due to COVID-19. The general rule is that an employer must undertake a physical inspection of the document(s) presented by the employee for section 2 purposes. However, the government is suspending the in-person and physical inspection of the document(s) presented by the employee when completing the Form I-9. During this time, an employer can view the document(s) presented by the employee via Zoom or Skype, for example.
READ MORE

SUBSTANCE ABUSE TESTING

Virginia: New Legislation Decriminalizes Simple Marijuana Possession
Effective July 1, 2020, Virginia legislation decriminalizes possession, and prohibits employers from requiring applicants to disclose information related to past criminal possession charges. The law will take effect July 1, 2020.
READ MORE

Montana: Statewide Signature Drive for Marijuana Ballot Initiative
Montana’s Cannabis Legalization Campaign launched a signature drive—with careful attention to COVID-19 social distancing—to drive legislation toward a vote for cannabis legalization later this year, including the establishment of a system to regulate and tax cannabis for adult use, and authorization to set Montana’s legal age for marijuana consumption at 21.
READ MORE

Minnesota: Legislation is Being Introduced to Legalize Marijuana
As states begin to move forward again amid the COVID-19 health emergency, Minnesota House Majority Leader Ryan Winkler is introducing what he called “the best legalization bill in the country.” If passed as written, the bill would allow Minnesota adults 21 and older to possess and transport up to 1.5 ounces of marijuana (and 8 grams of cannabis concentrates) in public places and keep up to 10 pounds at their private residence. Adults could grow up to eight marijuana plants at home, up to four of which could be mature, flowering plants. Gifting small amounts to other adults would also be legal.
READ MORE

Rochester, NY: Legislation is Being Considered to Stop Drug Testing Applicants
City Council is considering legislation that would drop pre-employment drug testing for THC (tetrahydrocannabinol), a compound found in marijuana. Exceptions would include those applying for public safety positions. Monroe County continues to screen for THC during pre-employment drug testing but these policies will be reviewed at some point given the shifting regulations nationally, and the potential legalization of marijuana in New York state.
READ MORE

AS A REMINDER: At A-Check, we’re happy to help implement a drug screening program that meets your evolving needs—or make adjustments to the program you’re already running with us. Just give us a call at 877-345-2021 and ask to speak with someone on your Client Relations team.

BAN THE BOX

Suffolk County, New York: Ban the Box Legislation Passes
Suffolk County soon will follow the trend of other state and local governments enacting “ban the box” legislation. The Suffolk County, New York, Legislature has passed the “Fair Employment Screening Amendment,” prohibiting the County or any other employer having at least 15 employees from asking job applicants about their prior criminal convictions until after the first interview. The Amendment will go into effect on August 25, 2020.
READ MORE

SALARY HISTORY

Philadelphia: Employer Questions About Applicant’s Wage History Now Prohibited
Philadelphia was the first city to pass a law to ban employers from asking about the wage history of job applicants in 2018. Now that a federal court’s injunction has been lifted, the law is in effect as of May 8, 2020. Employers or employment agencies may not inquire about a prospective employee’s wage history, require disclosure of wage history, or condition employment or consideration for an interview on the disclosure of an applicant’s wage history. The law also prohibits retaliation against a prospective employee for failing to comply with any wage history inquiry.
READ MORE

Questions? We’re here to help!

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Feds Grant 30-Day Extension for Remote I-9 Document Review

In an earlier blog entry, we noted that the in-person requirement for the Form I-9 is temporarily suspended if your company is closed or taking other precautions due to COVID-19.

UPDATE: U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) announced remote I-9 document review has been extended for another 30 days; the original exemption was set to expire May 19, 2020.

The general rule is that an employer must undertake a physical inspection of the document(s) presented by the employee for section 2 purposes. However, in light of COVID-19, the government is suspending the in-person and physical inspection of the document(s) presented by the employee when completing the Form I-9. During this time, an employer can view the document(s) presented by the employee via Zoom or Skype, for example.

Once normal operations resume,​ employers must inspect documents in person and note “COVID-19” as the reason for the delay in the section’s “additional information” field, as well as “documents physically examined” with the date of inspection to that field or Section 3 as appropriate, per ICE guidelines.

Please also keep in mind that this exception is only available to employers/workplaces currently operating remotely. If there are employees physically present at a work location, no I-9 exceptions are currently implemented.

READ MORE

 

Featured

Compliance Clips for May 2020

CONSUMER REPORTING

9th Circuit Case Addresses FCRA, Background Screening, and Rules on “Standalone” Disclosure
As class action lawsuits continue to gain momentum, employers should continue to be very aware of compliance surrounding Disclosure and Authorization forms related to background screening. With that said, on April 24, 2020, the 9th Circuit upheld the dismissal of a case arguing that an employer violates the FCRA (a) by providing an FCRA disclosure simultaneously with other employment materials, and (b) by failing to place a FCRA authorization on a standalone document. In this latest decision, the court held that the employer’s disclosure document satisfied the “standalone” requirement because that single-page document included nothing beyond disclosing an intent to obtain a background report, the employer’s logo, and a signature block. Moving forward, please consult with your legal resources to determine compliance of your Disclosure and Authorization forms.
READ MORE

Compliance with Form I-9 and E-Verify Requirements in Light of COVID-19
While we shared this information previously, it bears repeating in light of ongoing COVID-19 efforts. The in-person requirement for the Form I-9 is temporarily suspended if your company is closed or taking other precautions due to COVID-19. The general rule is that an employer must undertake a physical inspection of the document(s) presented by the employee for section 2 purposes. However, the government is suspending the in-person and physical inspection of the document(s) presented by the employee when completing the Form I-9. During this time, an employer can view the document(s) presented by the employee via Zoom or Skype, for example.
READ MORE

SUBSTANCE ABUSE TESTING

Florida Medical Marijuana Users may Soon Become Protected Class
Both chambers of the Florida Legislature are currently considering proposed bills aimed at extending certain protections to Florida employees who are legal medical marijuana users — H.B. 595 and S.B. 962, which are collectively entitled the Medical Marijuana Employee Protection Act. Both bills, if passed, would extend to both private- and public-sector employees (with the exception of safety sensitive positions) and employment applicants in Florida. If passed, one of the new rights these bills would provide to employees is the right to sue an employer if the employer takes an adverse employment action due to an employee’s status as a legal medical marijuana user.
READ MORE

Utah State Legislature Clarifies: Private Employers Not Required to Accommodate Use of Medical Cannabis
The Utah State Legislature enacted Senate Bill 121, which amends and clarifies various provisions of Utah’s medical cannabis laws, including a pronouncement that private employers are not required to accommodate the use of medical cannabis. The key takeaway: private employers in Utah now definitively know that they are under no legal obligation to accommodate employee use of medical cannabis, either at the workplace or away from work. Employers that do not intend to accommodate the use of medical marijuana are advised to clearly communicate their policies so employees are aware that the use of marijuana, medical or otherwise, violates company policy.
READ MORE

New Jersey: Failed Drug Test not Enough to Dismiss Claim of Disability Discrimination
In a recent employee-friendly trend, various courts have found that employers discriminate against certified medical marijuana users when adverse employment actions are taken against them solely because of failed drug tests. This certainly means employers should consider assessing their current policies and procedures.
READ MORE

AS A REMINDER: At A-Check, we’re happy to help implement a drug screening program that meets your evolving needs—or make adjustments to the program you’re already running with us. Just give us a call at 877-345-2021 and ask to speak with someone on your Client Relations team.

BAN THE BOX

Lawsuit against Waterloo’s ‘Ban the Box’ is dismissed
The City of Waterloo, Iowa announced that the lawsuit filed against the Fair Chance Initiative (Ban the Box) has been dismissed. Under the city ordinance, scheduled to take effect on July 1, 2020, employers will no longer be allowed to have a criminal history box on applications, and cannot ask about criminal history during the hiring process. However, employers can still do background checks on applicants.
READ MORE

SALARY HISTORY

States and localities that have outlawed pay history questions
State and local governments are increasingly adopting laws and regulations that prohibit employers from requesting salary history information from job applicants. In fact, there currently are 18 state-wide salary bans in place, and another 21 cities/jurisdictions who have salary history ban legislation. As a reminder, we’re reposting a great site that lists them all, including recent additions and upcoming bans:
Colorado: January 1, 2021
St. Louis, Missouri: March, 2020
Cincinnati, Ohio: March, 2020 (estimated)
Toledo, Ohio: June, 2020
READ MORE

Questions? We’re here to help!

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The New Normal: Hiring and Onboarding Employees Remotely During COVID-19

For organizations worldwide, the response to the COVID-19 pandemic has been a swift shift to a new normal. In part, that likely means keeping business as usual by transitioning to hiring and onboarding employees remotely. The fundamentals of hiring remain the same, and the goal is always to make great hires. That said, there’s never been a better time to take a look at your procedures and ensure you’re discovering good people, making them feel like they’re a part of your company’s big picture, and giving them the tools to succeed—regardless of whether they ultimately work inside or outside of your office.

Be creative in discovering your next great candidate

As a result of COVID-19, there are a LOT of candidates looking for their next opportunity to contribute. Your job is to find an efficient way to sort through a growing stack of applications and find the ones you’ll likely interview.

First step? Consider finding a free moment to take a look at your application. Are you simply asking “yes/no” questions, or are you also asking deeper, open-ended questions—questions that allow your potential candidates to really paint a complete picture of who they are, where they’ve been, and most importantly, what they’re capable of achieving at your company? Perhaps go one step further and ask what interests them about your company, the open position, and more specifically, what they might accomplish once hired. Additional information can help considerably as you decide who to move forward in your process.

Be transparent during trying times

Once it’s time to reach out for introductions, remember that these are strange days. Chances are really good that you’re speaking with candidates who are feeling uncertain about their professional future. You may speak to a recent graduate who is unsure how to land a first opportunity during COVID-19, or you may be connecting with candidates who have lost long-standing jobs.

Now is the time to be transparent. Be very honest and open with your candidates about your company’s efforts to protect both the business and the safety of the employees. Share with them the realistic timeline for remotely hiring and onboarding new employees. Clear and authentic communication can put candidates at ease during this time, and even give them greater confidence in your company.

Take advantage of tech

It’s no secret that the video format is taking over. From virtual proms, to family gatherings and holidays, we are growing more comfortable communicating “on-screen.” As you move forward with interviews, video chat apps are a good alternative to conducting phone interviews. Honestly, it’s not as easy to pick up on non-verbal cues when you’re not sitting in front of a candidate. But through video, you can get a general sense for how they present themselves, and how they show enthusiasm for you, your company, and the potential role.

Collaborate with IT for success

If you aren’t best friends with your IT team, there’s never been a better time to introduce yourself. Hiring remotely can present a long list of challenges . . . many of them technical. There’s nothing more off-putting than stalling an interview or training session because your microphone isn’t working.

Work closely with your IT team to evaluate the tools and resources you have in place, and where you can quickly and effectively improve things to benefit your candidate’s experience. And remember, the onboarding experience is more than the video interview. Be sure to collaborate with IT to ensure that your training program and other onboarding tasks can also successfully be administered remotely.

Get your candidate’s team involved

Whether your candidate will work remotely or in your offices, it’s important to immediately provide a sense of teamwork. Even when hiring remotely, there are opportunities to find candidates who will thrive when contributing to a team atmosphere.

Whenever possible, include your candidate’s future teammates in the interview process. With the success of video chat software, this is now more possible than ever before. It’s not much of an issue to set up conversations between people in multiple locations and across different time zones. No need to get everyone traveling to numerous office interviews. Even better, it allows candidates to quickly meet and get to know team members they will be working with before accepting an offer.

Introduce them to the big picture and make sure they’re interested

It probably goes without saying, but we’ll say it anyway. Since your candidates are getting introduced to you and your company without visiting your offices, it’s important to spend a little time with the big picture. Open a dialogue to find out just how truly interested in your company the candidate is, and if they seem driven to contribute to what your company is accomplishing. Let them know what success looks like for your open position, and what will be asked of them to achieve that success. With smart questions, you’ll be well on your way to finding the right person for the job.

Show flexibility when onboarding

As you’re making great hires during COVID-19, you’re probably noticing that the onboarding process requires a little flexibility. The first days and weeks are critical as you introduce your employees to their teams, company culture, product information, benefits, etc. During this time, video conferencing can play an immense role in the process. Now is also a good time to take a look at the effectiveness of welcome packages and other introductory communication you present.

During this time, you may not have opportunity to meet face to face with your new employees, so it’s critical that you go the extra mile to make sure your they feel as connected to their new company as possible.

Featured

Guidance from DOT’s Office of Drug and Alcohol Policy and Compliance (ODAPC) during COVID-19

The Office of Drug and Alcohol Policy and Compliance released guidance regarding the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on processes and compliance related to DOT Drug and Alcohol Testing requirements.

This information is specific to:

  1. performing remote evaluations by Substance Abuse Professionals (SAP), and,
  2. the re-qualification timelines for collectors, Medical Review Officers (MRO), Screening Test Technicians (STT) and Breath Alcohol Technicians (BAT), and SAPs.

This information is effective while there is a determination that COVID-19 presents a health emergency, or through June 30, 2020, whichever is sooner.

FOR DETAILS, please read the full statement. In short:

SAP Assessments and Evaluations

ODAPC recognizes that conducting face-to-face assessments and evaluations during the COVID-19 public health emergency may not be possible or advisable for certain individuals. ODAPC would allow SAPs to conduct a remote face-to-face evaluation and assessment (under statement parameters like two-way audio and visual technology that offers quality and clarity to read non-verbal physical cues) while this policy is in effect. ODAPC will not consider an evaluation or assessment performed remotely as an act of serious non-compliance for purposes of starting a public interest exclusion proceeding against the service agent while this statement of enforcement discretion is in effect.

Re-qualification Timelines for Certain Service Agents

If a service agent is unable to meet their re-qualification due date while this statement of enforcement discretion is in effect, the Department will not consider it a non-compliance for purposes of starting a public interest exclusion proceeding against the service agent.  The Department is providing this flexibility for service agents that cannot meet their re-qualification requirements by their respective due dates due to restrictions imposed by Federal, State and local authorities, and health agencies related to the COVID-19 national emergency (e.g., facility closures, State or locally imposed quarantine requirements, or other impediments).

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Drug Screening Precautions for Candidates Visiting Patient Service Centers

Throughout the ongoing fight to overcome COVID-19, screening laboratories and their Patient Service Centers have shown great commitment to the safety of their employees as well as candidates visiting locations nationwide to undergo drug screening collection. Employers can rest assured that efforts are in place to help make candidate experiences as safe as possible:

Patient Service Centers do Not Collect/Process COVID-19 Specimens
For the protection of candidates, Patient Service Centers do not collect or process COVID-19 test specimens. Anyone who has reason to suspect they have COVID-19 should immediately reach out to their doctor or healthcare provider for advice on where to get tested in their specific community.

Service Center Hours for High-Risk/Vulnerable Candidates
Please note that older candidates, or those with special medical conditions that put them at greater risk for COVID-19, have options. Patient Service Centers offer early hour availability each business day to serve with VIP care. While nobody will be turned away during these early appointments, the intent of this action is to provide protection to our communities while also offering a little peace of mind to those vulnerable candidates accessing Patient Service Centers for drug screening collection.

Wait for Your Appointment Where Comfortable
To best comply with Centers for Disease Control (CDC) guidelines for social distancing, Patient Service Centers offer options for candidates to check in and then wait in their vehicle or a nearby location for their appointment. Candidates can be alerted via text message or phone call when a technician is available to see them.

Safety at Patient Service Centers
In addition to social distancing efforts, technicians and facilities have strengthened their already-rigorous hygiene practices, including more frequent hand washing and disinfection/sanitation schedules, and ongoing COVID-19 education and training. Many, if not the majority of Patient Service Centers, may now also require candidates to wear face masks when visiting.

Please let us know if you have any questions about your Drug Screening program during this time of heightened precaution.

Featured

Compliance Clips for April 2020

CONSUMER REPORTING

Compliance with Form I-9 and E-Verify Requirements in Light of COVID-19
The in-person requirement for the Form I-9 is temporarily suspended if your company is closed or taking other precautions due to COVID-19.The general rule is that an employer must undertake a physical inspection of the document(s) presented by the employee for section 2 purposes. However, in light of COVID-19–the government is suspending the in-person and physical inspection of the document(s) presented by the employee when completing the Form I-9. During this time, an employer can view the document(s) presented by the employee via Zoom or Skype, for example.
READ MORE

House and Senate Bills Introduced to Amend FCRA in Response to COVID-19
On March 17, 2020, the United States Senate introduced a bill to amend the Fair Credit Report Act, preventing negative credit reporting during the COVID-19 pandemic. On March 23, 2020, the United States House of Representatives introduced a similar bill.  “The Disaster Protection for Workers’ Credit Act” seek to place a four-month moratorium on all negative credit reporting.
READ MORE

SUBSTANCE ABUSE TESTING

Marijuana Legislation: Coming Soon to the Southeast?
The 2020 state legislative sessions are underway across the country and a hot topic in many states is medical marijuana. Last year, Alabama was poised to become the first Deep South state to enact a medical marijuana law. The Alabama legislature ultimately tabled the issue until the 2020 legislative session. Now, the Alabama Legislature is considering Senate Bill 165 (AL-SB165), which would create the Compassion Act to legalize medical marijuana in Alabama. The Kentucky legislature is considering House Bill 136 (KY-HB136), which would legalize medical marijuana in Kentucky. Finally, Mississippi voters will soon have the opportunity to vote on whether to amend the state constitution to allow medical marijuana.
READ MORE

Recent DOT Guidance on Drug and Alcohol Testing During COVID-19
Monday, March 23, 2020: the United States Department of Transportation issued guidance for DOT-regulated employers, employees, and their service agents that might be facing challenges in meeting the department’s drug and alcohol testing requirements due to the pandemic. While DOT-regulated employers remain obligated to comply with applicable DOT training and testing requirements, this guidance addresses optional best practices if collection sites and related services are unavailable.
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New Jersey: Medical Marijuana Industry Advocates Recommend Legislation Changes
The state Health Department amended the medical marijuana program to serve patients and inhibit the spread of the coronavirus by letting dispensaries make curbside sales. As an upcoming change, Attorney Bill Caruso, a founding member of New Jersey United for Marijuana Reform, expressed optimism that support for home cultivation would also grow.
READ MORE

AS A REMINDER: At A-Check, we’re happy to help implement a drug screening program that meets your evolving needs—or make adjustments to the program you’re already running with us. Just give us a call at 877-345-2021 and ask to speak with someone on your Client Relations team.

DATA PRIVACY

Seven Coronavirus Scams Targeting Your Business
Please know that businesses are at risk, too. Keep your guard up against these seven B2B scams that try to exploit companies’ concerns about COVID-19.
READ MORE

SALARY HISTORY

States and Localities that have Outlawed Pay History Questions
State and local governments are increasingly adopting laws and regulations that prohibit employers from requesting salary history information from job applicants. In fact, there currently are 18 state-wide salary bans in place, and another 21 cities/jurisdictions who have salary history ban legislation. To keep it all top of mind, here’s a great site that lists them all, including recent additions, and upcoming bans:
Colorado: January 1, 2021
St. Louis, Missouri: March, 2020
Cincinnati, Ohio: March, 2020 (estimated)
Toledo, Ohio: June, 2020
READ MORE

Questions? We’re here to help!

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Temporary Flexibility of Form I-9 Requirements in Response to COVID-19

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) recently announced temporary flexibility in compliance with Form I-9 requirements during remote on-boarding. The article link below gives specific info on how employers with remote employees can obtain, remotely inspect, and comply with Section 2 of Form I-9.

Here’s a quick read on the latest developments:

  1. The in-person requirement for the Form I-9 is temporarily suspended for companies closed or working remotely due to COVID-19. Employers will not be required to review employee identity and related documents in the employee’s physical presence. Instead, inspection of Section 2 documents will take place remotely (e.g., over video link, fax or email, etc.).
  2. Employers must still create a case in E-Verify within three business days from the date of hire. “COVID-19” is entered as the reason for the physical inspection delay in the Section 2 Additional Information field once physical inspection takes place after normal operations resume.
  3. Once the documents have been physically inspected, the employer should add “documents physically examined” with the date of inspection to the Section 2 additional information field on the Form I-9, or to section 3 as appropriate.
  4. Once normal operations resume, all employees on-boarded using remote verification must—within three business days—complete in-person verification of identity and employment eligibility documentation for Form I-9, Employment Eligibility Verification.

For your reference, here is further detail. PLEASE READ MORE. Drop an email to support@acheckglobal.com if you have any questions.

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Compliance Clip March 2020

CREDIT CHECKS

House Passes Bill Restricting Employer Credit Checks

The House of Representatives passed the Comprehensive CREDIT Act of 2020, which would change federal laws pertaining to consumer reporting agencies and credit checks in a number of ways. Significantly for employers, the Act includes an amendment to the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA), which would restrict the use of credit information for most employment decisions. PLEASE NOTE: The Act now heads to the Senate where it is unlikely to pass in its current form . . . we’ll monitor and keep you updated.
READ MORE

SUBSTANCE ABUSE TESTING

NEW YORK City Employers Must Say Bye-Bye to Pre-Employment Marijuana Testing
A common onboarding practice is about to become illegal in New York City. Effective May 10, 2020, most New York City employers will be prohibited from requiring job applicants to undergo testing for marijuana. The new law makes mandatory marijuana testing of prospective employees equivalent to an unlawful discriminatory practice, such as denying a job applicant employment because of his or her race, gender, or any other protected characteristic.
READ MORE

Department of Transportation Cautions Employers About CBD Use by Regulated Workers
If a CBD product has a concentration of more than 0.3% of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), an amount generally viewed to be sufficient to produce a psychoactive effect, then it is an unlawful Schedule I controlled substance under federal law. Problems arise when employees test positive for THC but then claim to be using a “THC-free” or “pure CBD” product.
READ MORE

AS A REMINDER: At A-Check, we’re happy to help implement a drug screening program that meets your evolving needs—or make adjustments to the program you’re already running with us. Just give us a call at 877-345-2021 and ask to speak with someone on your Client Relations team.

BAN THE BOX LAW

NEW ENGLAND Ban the Box Trend: Navigating Criminal History Checks in the Hiring Process
Many states and localities have been adopting Ban the Box, prohibiting employers (including private employers) from asking applicants to disclose information concerning their criminal histories prior to an initial interview or a conditional offer of employment. Currently, all New England states except Maine and New Hampshire have a Ban the Box law that is applicable to private employers.  Bills that would have applied Ban the Box to private employers in both Maine and New Hampshire died in last year’s legislative sessions, but there is a good chance that similar legislation will resurface.
READ MORE

DATA PRIVACY

WISCONSIN Proposes “Groundbreaking” Data Privacy Law Modeled After GDPR
A trio of consumer data privacy bills modeled after Europe’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) has been introduced in the Wisconsin State Assembly. The three bills, collectively dubbed the Wisconsin Data Privacy Act (WDPA), were sponsored by Republican State Representative Shannon Zimmerman, who is seeking to make Wisconsin “the most consumer-friendly state in our nation on data privacy.” If enacted, the WDPA would take effect July 31, 2022.
READ MORE

State Consumer Privacy Law Round-Up
As the likelihood of the federal government passing a timely, workable national consumer privacy law before the November election decreases, states from coast to coast have been busy. According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, over 150 new consumer privacy bills were introduced in 25 states and Puerto Rico in 2019. This link is a comprehensive summary of privacy bills introduced thus far in 2020:
READ MORE

SALARY HISTORY

Ninth Circuit Reaffirms Only Job-Related Factors Will Excuse Pay Disparity Under Federal EPA, Prior Salary Not Job-Related
On February 27, 2020, the Ninth Circuit issued a long-anticipated decision.  The appellate court affirmed its prior holding and concluded that: (1) only job-related factors may excuse wage disparities between comparable employees within the context of a federal Equal Pay Act (EPA) claim, and (2) prior salary, alone or in consideration with other factors, is not job-related, and therefore cannot serve as an affirmative defense to an EPA claim.
READ MORE

Questions? We’re here to help!

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Compliant Background Screening and your Employment Program

If it’s worth saying, it’s worth repeating . . .
and then backing that up with a link to a great article we found!

Performing compliant, accurate background screening helps minimize risk to your company and your employees by confirming candidates are who they say they are, while at the same time maximizing your ability to hire and retain strong, capable employees for the long run.

But keep in mind that above all, when you perform background screening through a company that is in the business of gathering and reporting background records and verification information (like A-Check Global), you as the employer must ALSO do your part to comply with the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA).

Why such focus on the compliance of background screening?

We can’t make it any clearer than to say failure to comply with FCRA requirements will surely expose you to the risk of expensive and ongoing litigation. It’s important to regularly review your program for:

  • Adherence to FCRA requirements for Disclosure and Authorization forms
  • Compliance with permissible purpose and to what extent information can be used
  • Non-discriminatory consideration for all candidates
  • And confirmation that the Consumer Reporting Agency you use (like A-Check Global) also maintains compliance with applicable laws and regulations.

Got a minute? Here’s a great read:

We found an excellent article detailing compliance requirements and the utilization of background checks by employers.

READ MORE

We are here to help!
If you have questions 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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Keeping a Close Eye on Compliance:

FCRA Disclosure and Authorization Forms

No doubt, you already know the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) has strict regulations in place to govern your pre-employment background screening process—and that failure to meet these regulations when screening your candidates can quickly get you into some pretty expensive legal trouble. It’s no secret that class action attorneys, year after year, continue to pursue employers and Consumer Reporting Agencies that are not in strict compliance with FCRA requirements.

Before we get too much further, let’s take a quick look at why these regulations are in place to begin with.

The FCRA was enacted to help ensure consumer protection

Short and simple. It’s about the privacy of consumer information—knowing what information is collected, and how that information can be used by lenders, credit issuers, and yes, even employers. During background screening, this protection also extends to information like criminal/arrest records.

In short, if you’re a U.S.-based business, of any size, public or private, your pre-employment background screening program is subject to FCRA regulation compliance.

Two important requirements: FCRA Disclosure and Authorization

Employers must begin all candidate background screening with two critical steps:

  • Disclosure: You must properly inform candidates that you will be performing a background screen
  • Authorization: And, you much obtain the candidate’s permission for this background screen

Let’s take a closer look at what is required for both.

Disclosure: Clearly notifying candidates that you intend to perform background screening as part of a wholly informed hiring decision. This disclosure must be clear (direct language, easy to understand), conspicuous (prominent, not deeply embedded in other forms or fine print), and presented as a stand-alone document.

Authorization: Also as a self-contained document, a clear candidate acknowledgement that background screening will be conducted as a pre-employment requirement. This can be presented jointly with the Disclosure, but must be on two separate and printable pages. As part of the authorization, the client will also acknowledge that the company is an equal-opportunity employer and follows all fair hiring practices.

That said, what can go wrong? Well . . . without close attention, a lot!

At most risk, improperly worded presented background check disclosure and authorization forms that do not follow FCRA requirements to the letter are magnets for class action litigation. Like we mentioned above, the FCRA requires clear, conspicuous disclosure as well as candidate written authorization prior to performing a background screen employment. Furthermore—and this is detail attorneys are embracing—FCRA requires the disclosure and authorization forms exist as stand-alone documents. (FCRA section 604(b)(2)).

It is the End User’s responsibility to manage the forms they provide to candidates. 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, as FCRA regulations evolves over time, as does state-by-state legislation.

A-Check Global has consistently communicated the importance of disclosure and authorization form compliance to our clients. While U.S. employers are ultimately responsible for ensuring their hiring practices comply with federal and state requirements, we’re here to help.

Ask us about our FCRA Form Tool Kit

We offer a convenient Authorization for Background Investigation Form Kit which helps make it easier to comply with FCRA and applicable state-by-state requirements. Our document includes all the components necessary to customize your Forms.

For more information and access to this Tool Kit, please contact us at clientsupport@acheckglobal.com or 1-877-345-2021.

Featured

Compliance Clip February 2020

EMPLOYER COMPLIANCE

UPDATE: New Version of Form I-9 approved

On January 31, 2020, USCIS announced an update to the (paper version) of Employment Eligibility Verification Form I-9. This update was approved on October 21, 2019. Employers using the paper version should begin using the updated paper Form I-9 as of January 31, 2020, but have until April 30, 2020 to discontinue use of the previous paper version (Rev. 07/17/2017 N). The electronic version will be updated before this mandatory cutoff date of April 30, 2020, and we will keep you informed as we learn more.

USCIS made the following changes:
Form

Revised the Country of Issuance field in Section 1 and the Issuing Authority field (when completing the fillable form online).

Instructions
Clarified who can act as an authorized representative on behalf of an employer
Updated USCIS website addresses
Provided acceptable document clarifications
Updated the process for requesting the paper Form I-9
Updated the DHS Privacy Notice
READ MORE

 

SUBSTANCE ABUSE TESTING

PA MEDICAL MARIJUANA ACT: Court Finds Implied Wrongful Discharge Cause of Action
In a recent decision, a Pennsylvania county court ruled that the state’s Medical Marijuana Act creates a private cause of action for employees who have been terminated for their off-duty use of prescribed medical marijuana. The ruling is the first of its kind in Pennsylvania, but follows a line of cases from other jurisdictions that have similarly found that lawful medical marijuana users can sue their employers under similar circumstances. Pennsylvania employers should take note of this important decision, as we continue to monitor and report on this developing issue.
READ MORE

AS A REMINDER: At A-Check, we’re happy to help implement a drug screening program that meets your evolving needs—or make adjustments to the program you’re already running with us. Just give us a call at 877-345-2021 and ask to speak with someone on your Client Relations team.

BAN THE BOX LAW

MARYLAND Bans the Box
Effective January 1, 2020, Maryland employers may not, at any time before the first in-person interview, require an applicant to disclose whether he or she has a “criminal record” or has been the subject of criminal accusations. An employer may require the applicant to disclose that information during the first in-person interview. An employer is prohibited from retaliating or discriminating against an applicant or employee who complains of a violation of the law.
READ MORE

LOUIS Enacts Ban the Box Ordinance Applicable to Private Employers
The ordinance prohibits employers located within the City of St. Louis with 10 or more employees from asking about criminal history on applications and hiring forms. Employers are also barred from posting job advertisements that exclude applicants with a criminal history and from using exclusionary language in applications or other hiring forms. Employers are further prohibited from asking about or investigating an applicant’s criminal background until after the applicant has been interviewed and deemed qualified for the position. Employers may not attempt to circumvent these restrictions by seeking publicly available information about an individual’s criminal history.
READ MORE

DATA PRIVACY

BREXIT UPDATE: What Does This Mean for Data Privacy?
In a statement on January 29, the Information Commissioner’s Office said the following: “The UK will leave the European Union on January 31 and enter a Brexit transition period. During this period, which runs until the end of December 2020, it will be business as usual for data protection. The GDPR will continue to apply.”
READ MORE

BRAZIL’S Data Protection Law
With less than a year remaining before Brazil’s General Data Protection Law (referred to as the LGPD) takes effect, HR professionals should start preparing.

The LGPD—which regulates how companies, including employers, must process personal data such as employees’ identification numbers—takes effect August 15, 2020.
READ MORE

SALARY HISTORY

NEW YORK Joins Other States in Banning Salary History Questions
As of January 6, 2020, New York employers are prohibited from inquiring about an applicant’s prior salary. The law applies to all public and private employers within New York State and covers applicants and employees who have taken an affirmative step to seek full-time, part-time, or temporary/seasonal employment with an employer. The law does not apply to independent contractors, freelance workers, or other contract workers unless they are to work through an employment agency.
READ MORE

Questions? We’re here to help!

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New Version of Form I-9 published

On Jan. 31, 2020, USCIS published the Federal Register notice announcing a new version of the Form I-9, Employment Eligibility Verification.

This new version contains minor changes to the form and its instructions. Employers should begin using this updated form as of Jan. 31, 2020.

The notice provides employers additional time to make necessary updates and adjust their business processes. Employers may continue using the prior version of the form (Rev. 07/17/2017 N) until April 30, 2020. After that date, they can only use the new form with the 10/21/2019 version date. The version date is located in the lower left corner of the form.

 

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Form I-9: What’s New For 2020

Wed, February 5, 2020   |   10:00 am PST

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

Dave, a highly regarded government speaker, will cover a wide range of information about Form I-9 and E-Verify including what’s new for 2020:

View this informative webinar 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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Compliance Clip January 2020

EMPLOYER COMPLIANCE

EEOC Consent Decree over Criminal History Background Checks Serves as a Reminder to Employers to Take a Fresh Look at Their Screening Practices

Employers are well advised to consider evaluating their use of criminal history information and any other background check information to ensure compliance with the FCRA, similar state fair credit reporting statutes and substantive employment laws. READ MORE

 SUBSTANCE ABUSE TESTING

FMCSA Raises Random Drug Testing Rate to 50% For 2020
The U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration announced on December 27, 2019 that beginning on January 1, 2020, the minimum annual percentage rate for random drug testing is 50% of the average number of driver positions. The minimum annual percentage rate for random alcohol testing will remain at 10%. READ MORE

AS A REMINDER: At A-Check, we’re happy to help implement a drug screening program that meets your evolving needs—or make adjustments to the program you’re already running with us. Just give us a call at 877-345-2021 and ask to speak with someone on your Client Relations team.

BAN THE BOX LAW

NYC Fair Chance Act Restricts Employers’ Consideration of Criminal Background
The New York City Fair Chance Act (FCA) places significant obligations and restrictions on employers that consider criminal histories in the hiring process. Employers that fail to follow any of the multiple steps required by the FCA risk significant damages under the New York City Human Rights Law. READ MORE

New Federal Fair Chance Act Applies to Federal Contractors and Agencies
On December 20, 2020, the president signed legislation, the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) for Fiscal Year 2020, which includes the federal Fair Chance Act (“the Act”).  The Act prohibits federal contractors that have openings for positions within the scope of federal contracts, as well as all federal agencies, from inquiring about or seeking criminal history information from an applicant until after a conditional job offer has been extended. READ MORE

DATA PRIVACY

Data Privacy Draws Increased Scrutiny from Insurance Regulators
Data privacy has become an increasing area of focus for many insurance technology clients as they work to ensure they are in compliance with the EU General Data Protection Regulation and the California Consumer Privacy Act, which will go into effect on January 1, 2020. Although many insurance technologies are exempt from most of the provisions in the CCPA, they should still expect increased data privacy regulation to be coming down the road as many insurance regulators are concerned that their current data privacy laws are not equipped to adequately address the increasing size, complexity and scope of the data used in the insurance industry. READ MORE

REMINDER

The following is a list of legislation that went into effect January 1, 2020:

  • The California Consumer Privacy Act – gives consumers nationwide more control over personal information that companies collect and sometimes share with other companies. READ MORE
  • The Illinois Cannabis Regulation and Tax Act (410 ILCS 705) (the “Legalization Act”) legalizes recreational cannabis for Illinois adults. READ MORE
  • New Jersey’s Salary History Ban – employers are no longer allowed to ask prospective employees about their salary history. READ MORE
  • 21 states raised their minimum wage. See the full list here.

 Questions? We’re here to help!

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Compliance Clip December 2019

EMPLOYER COMPLIANCE

SSA No-Match Letters and Employer Obligations

The Social Security Administration (SSA) has drastically increased its issuance of Employer Correction Request (EDCOR) Notices, or “no-match” letters. No-match letters are sent when the SSA discovers a mismatch between information provided by employers for wage reporting purposes and SSA’s records. These no-match letters advise employers that corrections are needed in order for SSA to properly post employees’ earnings to the correct Social Security record.
READ MORE

 SUBSTANCE ABUSE TESTING

House Judiciary Committee Moves to Federally Legalize Cannabis
On November 20, 2019, the House Judiciary Committee approved a bill that would decriminalize cannabis on a nationwide scale. The Marijuana Opportunity, Reinvestment and Expungement Act of 2019 – or MORE Act – passed with what some are calling a landslide vote of 24-10. This vote marks the first time in history a congressional committee has affirmatively approved to end federal cannabis prohibition.
READ MORE

Pennsylvania: Medical Marijuana Lawsuit May Someday Provide Guidance to Employers
Given that state-sanctioned use of medical marijuana is relatively new, there are few cases interpreting Pennsylvania’s medical marijuana law with regard to employment. This is why a recently filed Pennsylvania lawsuit in October 2019, could have a far-reaching impact on employers.
READ MORE

Illinois: Amendments to Recreational Cannabis Law Would Help Reduce Employer Liability
The Illinois Cannabis Regulation and Tax Act (410 ILCS 705) (the “Legalization Act”) will legalize recreational cannabis for Illinois adults starting January 1, 2020. With the deadline approaching, Illinois business community representatives raised numerous concerns with lawmakers. The Illinois Chamber of Commerce proposed revising the Act to clarify permissible drug testing and to limit possible causes of action against employers. Both Houses have passed SB 1557, a bill which amends and clarifies many portions of the cannabis-related laws.
READ MORE

Michigan: Recreational Marijuana Use Now Legal
Michigan, where voters backed legalization in 2018, allowed stores to start selling weed to recreational users on Sunday. Michigan officials issued 18 licenses, including to growers and processors, for the first day of sales, and let stores shift some of their medical marijuana supply to recreational—at least until more recreational businesses are up and running in January.
READ MORE

AS A REMINDER: At A-Check, we’re happy to help implement a drug screening program that meets your evolving needs—or make adjustments to the program you’re already running with us. Just give us a call at 877-345-2021 and ask to speak with someone on your Client Relations team.

SALARY HISTORY BAN

Year-End Reminder: New Jersey’s Salary History Ban Takes Effect January 1, 2020
In just a few short weeks, New Jersey employers will no longer be allowed to ask prospective employees about their salary history during the application or interview process or rely upon salary history in setting compensation.
READ MORE

BAN THE BOX LAW

Ban the Box Laws Finding Inroads in Red States, Too
A pending vote in St. Louis to ban questions about criminal records at the start of the hiring process signals a larger shift on criminal justice reforms in red states.

St. Louis is at least the third city in a conservative state to consider such a measure this year, following new laws in Columbia, S.C., and Waterloo, Iowa, that have removed the question of criminal history from job applications. At a time when state and local legislative trends seem to more closely adhere to a political ideology—such as with paid leave or equal pay laws—Ban the Box laws bridge the political gap. READ MORE

DATA PRIVACY

New State Bills Inspired by the California Consumer Privacy Act May Re-appear Next Year
The California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA) inspired legislators in several other states to attempt to pass similar legislation aimed at protecting the privacy rights of consumers. As the legislative calendars for most of those states have wound to a close before the recent election, this Alert reviews those bills as a preview to what we should expect in the next legislative session, particularly as several states will be returning a more progressive assembly.
READ MORE

 Questions? We’re here to help!

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A-Check Global and the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA)

Chances are you’re considering the California Consumer Privacy Act and its impact on not only your organization but also on policies and processes of your business partners. Rest assured—as you’ll read below—A-Check (as a consumer reporting agency) is committed to data protection and already complies with the majority of California resident rights under CCPA legislation.

Here’s a very quick, high-level summary. The CCPA provides:

  1. Rights to California Residents when it comes to the buying and selling of their personal information, including notices, right to delete, right to access, etc.
  2. Requirements for businesses that meet the definition of a “Business” in civil code 1798.140 (exceeding $25M in revenue and/or collecting personal information of more than 50,000 people) – requirements include Data Security, Breach Notification, and administration of the rights of residents of CA (explained above).

However, the CPPA also includes exceptions for both employers and consumer reporting agencies reducing the responsibilities of each entity:

1798.145 – Interaction with other statutes, rights, and obligations

(d) This title shall not apply to the sale of personal information to or from a consumer reporting agency if that information is to be reported in, or used to generate, a consumer report as defined by subdivision (d) of Section 1681a of Title 15 of the United States Code, and use of that information is limited by the federal Fair Credit Reporting Act (15 U.S.C. Sec. 1681 et seq.).

Exceptions Explained:

The exceptions for employers and CRAs exclude these two entities from administering an applicant’s rights e.g., deletion of data. However both are still required to comply with the Data Security and Breach notification requirements.

However, as a CRA, A-Check Global already complies with the majority of California Resident Rights under the CPPA legislation:

  • A-Check staffs a dedicated Compliance Team that handles all consumer requests for corrections, copies, full file disclosures, and requests for deletion of personal information*
  • A-Check posts a detailed Privacy Policy and links are posted in all A-Check consumer communications
    A-Check’s Data Security Strategy includes a robust Information Security Policy based on the NIST Framework and a Data Security Team comprised of members of A-Check’s Staff – Executive Management, Compliance, Marketing, Development, and Infrastructure that meet bimonthly
  • A-Check requires a contract and data security assessment with all vendors that A-Check shares PII Information with
  • The new CCPA calls for an opt out button for consumers to opt out of having their information sold, however A-Check does not sell personal data for any reason, therefore the button is not necessary to our process
  • A-Check’s systems do not discriminate between applicants utilizing the system – no preferential treatment whatsoever
  • A-Check can only process a background check on a person under the age of 18 with consent from a guardian

*A-Check is required by the ICRAA to archive all information utilized to produce a consumer report for a period of 2 years, therefore we will not be able to immediately honor requests for deletion from consumers.

What is required of clients:

  • Compliance with Notice requirement 1798.100 of the legislation and Disclosure requirement 1798.110 of the legislation; and
  • Compliance with all Data Security and Breach Notification of the law

We’re here to help!

877.345.2021 | support@acheckglobal.com

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HR in a Gig Economy

gig economy

As an HR professional, it’s increasingly likely that you’ll be tasked with evolving your workforce to accommodate the gig economy . . . that is, if you aren’t already doing so within your organization. The gig economy is here to stay, and although there are challenges when employing contractors and freelancers, there are also a lot of advantages.

At A-Check, we also keep a close eye on the evolution of the gig economy, and recently found a quick read by Forbes Council Member Paul Phillips discussing the role of HR in this ever-changing workforce landscape:

Speed
Ensure your recruiting is moving at the same pace as your top talent. There’s no quicker way to get your next hire to look elsewhere than to subject them to a long drawn out employment process. The same goes for the speed and efficiency of your training/development once you make the hire.

Retention
It’s not just about making a great employee want to come back the next time they’re needed—it’s also about turning them into raving fans who share their experience with friends and family.

Change
You don’t have a choice. Business models are changing, and your HR policies need to position your organization as dynamic, agile, and a good target for top talent.

The full article can be found here.

We are here to help!
If you have questions 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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To Test…or Not to Test…for Marijuana

As you might imagine, A-Check gets a lot of questions from our clients regarding marijuana legalization and new drug testing trends we’re seeing as a result. We love fielding questions like these, mainly because it shows our clients take evolving legislation seriously when developing or enhancing employment screening programs.

We thought this might be a good opportunity to very quickly share some helpful information on the topic, especially for those who are wondering whether or not to continue testing for marijuana in their drug screens.

First, with a growing number of states legalizing recreational marijuana, it stands to reason—and research supports—drug test positivity across the majority of industries is also on the rise. It is also shown that marijuana continues to be among the most commonly detected substances.

A-Check closely tracks overall drug screening activity across our own clients, and we can report that even with widening recreational and medical marijuana legalization, clients are still testing for marijuana 98% of the time. Of course, pre-employment testing can vary by screening package, state, or job position (safety-sensitive for example). And for post-employment testing (either for post-accident or for reasonable suspicion) we continue to test for marijuana 100% of the time.

Taking this one step further, Quest Diagnostics—our drug screening partner—shares insight with us regarding marijuana testing. They report that across all Quest national testing (pre-employment, random, post-accident, reasonable suspicion, etc.) approximately 98-99% of all urine tests include marijuana. As a separate group, testing for marijuana in recreational use states is still nearly 95%. That does not represent a significant declining trend due to increasing legalization.

Finally, let’s take a quick look at a very recent position paper from the National Safety Council (NSC), stating that while the amount of THC detectable in a person’s body does not directly correlate with a level of impairment, NSC believes it is unsafe to be under the influence of cannabis while working in a safety-sensitive position. Further evidence that perhaps we will not see a significant decline in marijuana testing for some time.

We hope insight like this is helpful to you, and welcome the opportunity to answer any questions you might have regarding your drug screening needs.

Featured

Mid-Month Compliance Clip

CONSUMER COMPLIANCE

There has been a surge in workplace enforcement actions by U.S. Immigration and Customs

Enforcement. This surge in investigations and penalties against employers signals a new enforcement environment which employers must carefully navigate to ensure compliance with employment eligibility verification provisions under the Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1986, while avoiding discrimination violations. READ MORE

Effective October 6, 2020: Pennsylvania Law Requiring Mandatory E-Verify in Construction Industry
Pennsylvania House Bill 1170, known as the Construction Industry Employee Verification Act was recently passed which will require all construction-industry employers, both public and private, to use E-Verify to determine the eligibility of their employees to work in the United States. Construction companies with state contracts in Pennsylvania were already required to E-Verify new hires. The Act now makes the law statewide for the entire industry and will take effect October 6, 2020. READ MORE

SUBSTANCE ABUSE TESTING

IN PENNSYLVANIA DISCUSSION: Senators File Marijuana Legalization Bill
Two Pennsylvania senators—Daylin Leach (D) and Sharif Street (D)—recently introduced a comprehensive marijuana legalization bill (SB 350) which would allow adults 21 and older to possess, cultivate and purchase cannabis from licensed retailers. It also contains social justice provisions aimed at promoting equity in the industry, including automatically expunging prior marijuana convictions and providing interest-free loans to low-income individuals who want to participate in the market.
READ MORE

IN ILLINOIS DISCUSSION: Consider Adjusting Your Drug Policies Now, Not Later
When considering marijuana use, employers may want to rely less on drug testing, and more on documenting potential impaired behavior on the job to build a case for termination. Under the new Illinois law, people are allowed to possess and consume cannabis products on their own time. Employers can still regulate usage and possession in the workplace. The recommendation may be to regulate cannabis in the workplace much like alcohol. That means while active impairment or possession won’t be tolerated, usage on one’s own time probably won’t be viewed as so problematic. READ MORE

New Jersey has joined a growing number of states, including Connecticut, Massachusetts and New York, in providing employment protections for users of medical marijuana. The Compassionate Use Medical Cannabis Act (CUMCA) impacts New Jersey employers in two significant ways:  READ MORE

AS A REMINDER: At A-Check, we’re happy to help implement a drug screening program that meets your evolving needs—or make adjustments to the program you’re already running with us. Just give us a call at 877-345-2021 and ask to speak with someone on your Client Relations team.

Featured

A-Check Global Partners with Cornerstone—Background Screening Integration Now Available in Cornerstone’s EDGE Marketplace

Riverside, CA, October 8, 2019 — Today, A-Check Global announced the availability of its background screening solutions within Cornerstone OnDemand (NASDAQ: CSOD), a global leader in the cloud-based learning, talent management and emerging talent experience market. Now integrated as a partner within Cornerstone’s EDGE marketplace, A-Check Global’s background screening integration provides an enhanced resource to help organizations make well-informed hiring decisions, with quicker turnaround, and within the convenience of Cornerstone’s talent management system.

A-Check Global background screening integration with Cornerstone improves the efficiency of the hiring process by offering easy and secure online transfer of employment candidate information and reporting between A-Check Global’s background screening integration and the Cornerstone system platform.

“In today’s world of ever-expanding, technology driven recruitment solutions, we are honored to partner with Cornerstone, and we look forward to providing an enhanced workflow experience to employers and candidates,” said Donald Shimizu, Executive Vice President at A-Check Global. “A-Check shares Cornerstone’s focus on customer care through innovation, and we are excited to serve our mutual customers now and in the future.”

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, holds ISO 9001:2015 Certification, and is accredited with the Professional Background Screening Association (PBSA). The company’s global headquarters is in Riverside, California. For more information, visit www.acheckglobal.com or phone toll free, 877-345-2021.

About Cornerstone OnDemand
Cornerstone was founded with a passion for empowering people through learning and a conviction that people should be your organization’s greatest competitive advantage. Cornerstone is a global human capital management leader with a core belief that companies thrive when they help their employees to realize their potential. Putting this belief into practice, Cornerstone offers solutions to help companies strategically manage and continuously develop their talent throughout the entire employee lifecycle. Featuring comprehensive recruiting, personalized learning, development-driven performance management, and holistic HR planning, Cornerstone’s human capital management platform is successfully used by more than 3,600 global clients of all sizes, spanning more than 40 million users across 190+ countries and 40+ languages. Learn more at www.cornerstoneondemand.com.

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Diduknow3email sm

A-Check Global Offers Background Screening Services for Your Interns & Volunteers

While organizations often host additional “non-staff” personnel—interns, volunteers, students, independent contractors, and others—many may think performing background screening on these groups is either too complex or too expensive. Well, let’s just say we’re here to help by offering a screening program tailored to meet this exact need.

• Take advantage of comprehensive, budget-conscious screening options
• Shift data submission/payment responsibility from your HR team to the “candidate”
• Options available for securely accessing final reports

We can work with you to build and implement a package that works for your needs. For example, here’s a quick look at a “standardized” package of services many of our clients use currently:

Sample Screening Package: Additional Services:
• Social Security Trace • Education Verification
• National Criminal Locator (NATCRIM) • Employment Verification
• County Criminal Record • Motor Vehicle Report
• Federal District Record • Substance Abuse Screening
• Global Direct Search  

It’s all about finding what works best for you, then efficiently implementing these additional services into your existing employment program to make life just a little easier. We welcome your call or email to learn more about our intern program: 1-877-345-2021 or email clientsupport@acheckglobal.com.

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In Compliance News:

Upcoming changes to Illinois law will prohibit salary history inquiries & require review of employer drug policies

Salary History Inquiry Ban – Effective September 29, 2019
Amendments to the Illinois Equal Pay Act (IEPA) become effective September 29, 2019. Included is a ban prohibiting inquiry into and the use of a candidate’s pay history when making employment decisions. Illinois employers will be prohibited from a) screening candidates based on current/prior wages, benefits, and other compensation, b) requiring that salary history meets minimum/maximum criteria for a particular position, and c) requesting salary history as a condition of being considered for employment. Illinois joins with 13 states that have imposed such a ban. For full details on this amendment, we welcome you to READ MORE.

Employment Aspects of the Illinois Cannabis Regulation and Tax Act – Effective January 1, 2020
The Illinois Cannabis Regulation and Tax Act (CRTA)—“Recreational Marijuana Law”—takes effect Jan. 1, 2020. Please keep in mind, there are provisions that may require employers to modify drug use policies:

  • Employers must have good faith belief that an employee was impaired or under the influence in the workplace, defined by identifying specific, articulable symptoms of impairment.
  • If the employee is disciplined or discharged for being impaired by marijuana, there must be reasonable opportunity to contest the basis of the employer’s determination.
  • And, because marijuana use will be legal outside the workplace, employers will likely not be able to rely on the results of testing alone to satisfy the good faith belief requirement, even in post-accident situations, if there is no reasonable suspicion that the employee was impaired by or under the influence of marijuana at the time of the accident.

For full details on all upcoming provisions to the Illinois CRTA, please READ MORE and be prepared for further review or revision of your current drug testing and disciplinary polices where necessary to comply with CRTA.

Questions? We’re here to help. Please feel free to give us a call at 877-345-2021.

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Drug Screening Trends

DSCI

As your trusted partner, we want to make sure you are up to date on issues that may affect you so we monitor new legislation in regards to all facets of employment screening. We found a recent article by the Drug Screening Compliance Institute that details the ongoing evolution of drug legislation, and the resulting adjustments many employers in a growing number of states have to make to their employment programs. There’s never been a more important time for employers to keep an eye on state laws and be prepared to audit/adjust their drug screening policy.

The full article can be found here.

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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5 Reasons Not to Take the Day Off from Compliance

Wed, September 18, 2019   |   10:00 am PST

A-Check Global’s HR Webinar series presents Gary Hanley delivering information on FCRA Compliance.

Class-action lawsuits over alleged FCRA violations during the background screening process continue to be on the rise. With the potential rise of litigation in mind, we’re dedicated to providing ongoing advice on how to fairly utilize background screen (consumer) reports, and help you remain compliant with federal, state and local regulations.

Our presentation will cover the following items:

  1. Ensure Your Disclosure is standalone and does not include state notices and waivers
  2. All Adverse Communications are executed
  3. No one on Your Team is Sharing Reports
  4. Your Assessment process is not Subject to Disparate Impact
  5. Your Data is Secure!

Attend the full webinar to receive one hour of HRCI (Human Resources Certification Institute) Credit.

View this informative webinar below:

Presenter:

Gary H.jpg

 Gary Hanley / Compliance Director, A-Check Global

Gary has more than 20 years experience in consumer reporting, including 11 years at the executive level and the last seven years focused solely on industry compliance. Gary currently serves as A-Check Global’s Director of Compliance and as our Data Protection Officer. He is a recognized and respected leader in the Consumer Reporting Industry with several speaking engagements and published white papers to his credit.

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The Importance of Choosing the Right Background Screening Partner

lawsuits

Class-action lawsuits over alleged FCRA violations during the background screening process continue to be on the rise. With ever-changing policies and the privacy do’s and don’ts one has to follow, it’s not surprising that some companies make mistakes.

In fact HR Dive recently reported that employers paid out $174M to resolve background-check lawsuits READ HERE.

With the potential rise of litigation in mind, we’re dedicated to providing ongoing advice on how to fairly utilize background screen (consumer) reports, and help you remain compliant with federal, state and local regulations.

If you have any questions about your background screening process, 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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Creating a Positive Candidate Interview Experience

Hiring

There are many books written on the subject of the employment candidate experience. Most have a common theme—take your recruiting to the next level by implementing a winning interview process for every candidate, regardless of position or role. In this quick post, we’ll break it down for you in six easy steps:

  1. Treat all candidates as if they are your only candidate. While interviewing, we may have pre-conceived notions of who we are looking for, but everyone deserves a fair shot. If we provide each candidate with the same opportunity—and time—we may just discover that the best person for a position isn’t who we thought it might be.
  2. Follow up quickly. If contacted by a candidate after their interview, do your best to respond in a timely manner. A little consideration can go a long way in making a person feel their time was valuable. If passing on the candidate, respectfully and quickly following-up allows them to focus on other opportunities.
  3. Use a script. Asking each candidate the same questions helps take personal bias out of the situation and assists you in selecting the best person for the position based on their responses.
  4. At the end of the process, talk to each candidate in person. Whenever possible, show your interviewees dignity and respect by reaching out in person—rather than a “Dear John” letter—to let them know your organization is making another choice. The conversation doesn’t have to be lengthy and you can reaffirm the positive qualities they displayed, which was why you interviewed them in the first place. Most candidates will appreciate the human touch.
  5. Give the candidate brief advice or feedback. After the interview is complete, let the candidate know how they did. It doesn’t cost anything to be nice and if you feel they may not be in the running for this position, your comments will likely help them out as they focus on other opportunities.
  6. If possible, point them in the right direction. Many hiring managers and recruiters know others who have open positions. If you find a candidate that isn’t right for your company, but may be an ideal match for someone else, help them make the connection.

Regardless of whether or not your employment candidates plan to work in the same line of business throughout their careers, your positive interview experience will help you promote your organization’s brand, and your company will be remembered in the future. Those you interview will be more inclined to share the experience with colleagues, encourage others to apply for open positions with you, or better still, may stay in touch to find the future position that does fit.

To learn more about improving the candidate experience through your hiring process CLICK HERE.

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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

marijuana

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

BanTheBoxBanner

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/