Featured

Time for a Compliance Check-Up?

rendered.png

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

How can we help you?

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

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

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

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

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

 

Advertisements
Featured

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Featured

Form I-9: Helpful Hints to Keep You Compliant

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

Subject Matter:

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

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

Presenter:

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

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

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

Featured

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

rendered (3)

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

 

1. Paper Records

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

2. Records Stored Offsite

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

3. Strange Rules

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

4. Please send a Self-Addressed Stamped Envelope

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

5. “Can’t you see I’m busy?”

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

6. “Sorry, but we’re backed up.”

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

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

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

8. “Baby, it’s cold outside.”

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

Featured

Will you be at the SHRM 2018 Annual Conference & Exposition?

SHRM18

We will be celebrating 20 years as an industry leader, proudly serving 2,000+ client organizations. We offer comprehensive, compliant pre and post-employment screening programs: background checks, drug and alcohol testing, occupational health screening, motor vehicle reports, and much more.

Contact us for a Complimentary Assessment of your current employee screening program.

sales@acheckglobal.com   ∙   877-345-2021   ∙   acheckglobal.com

Mention offer code: SHRM18-Assessment

Limit one coupon per company. Some limitations apply, ask your representative for details.

ACheck Logo small

 

Featured

ATS/HRIS Integrations…Yes We Can!

Integration 4

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

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

We’re here for you

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

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

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

We’re all about the details

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

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

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

Right Size, Right Fit

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

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

Featured

A-CHECK GLOBAL ACHIEVES BACKGROUND SCREENING CREDENTIALING COUNCIL ACCREDITATION

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

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

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

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

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

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

About NAPBS®

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

Featured

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

Best Practices

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

State and Local Ban-the-Box Legislation

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

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

Additional Best Practices to Consider During the Background Check Process

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

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

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

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

Reference

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

Featured

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

Best Practices

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

Engage a Trusted, Consultative Background Screening Company

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

Obligations Before Running a Background Check

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

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

Obligations After Receiving a Background Check

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

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

Reference

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

Featured

A-Check Global and GDPR

What is GDPR?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

Will A-Check Global be GDPR certified?

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

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

Questions?

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

 

Featured

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

Best Practices

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

Your First Focus—Implementing a Lawful Background Screening Policy

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Reference

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

Featured

Happy Applicant, Happy Company

happy applicant

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

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

How we do it

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

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

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

Featured

International Screening Solutions

Global Reach

Because talent knows no borders

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

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

International Criminal Records Research

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

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

International Verifications

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

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

Featured

Drug Screening: The pros and cons of each method

shutterstock_216274144

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

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

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

Urine

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

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

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

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

Saliva

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

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

Hair

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

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

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

Blood

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

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

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

Drug Urine Saliva Hair Blood
Amphetamines 24-72 hrs 24-36 hrs 1-3 months 24 hrs
Cocaine 24-72 hrs 24-36 hrs 1-3 months 1-3 days
Opiates 24-72 hrs 24-36 hrs 1-3 months 1-3 days
PCP (occasional use) 1-5 days 24-36 hrs 1-3 months 1-3 days
PCP (chronic use) up to 30 days 24-36 hrs 1-3 months 1-3 days
THC (occasional use) 1-5 days <24 hrs 1-3 months 12-24 hrs
THC (chronic use) up to 30 days <24 hrs 1-3 months 2-7 days
Featured

Time for housekeeping: Let’s make sure you’re protected and compliant!

Business Man With Checkboxes

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

To begin, let’s review the following items:

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

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

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

Featured

The Value of ISO 9001:2008 Certification

iso-logo

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

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

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

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

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

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

Here at A-Check Global:

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

Benefits to our customers:

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

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

References

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

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

Featured

Restricting the use of salary history when making employment decisions

compliance3

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

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

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

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

Ensuring Competitive Pay

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

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

A-Check Global, Your Trusted Partner

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

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

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

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

Featured

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

Drug screen

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

What changes are being made to the panel?

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

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

Why were these changes made?

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

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

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

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

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

A little more about safety concerns raised by the MRO.

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

There are three outcomes for this process:

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

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

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

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

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

Featured

Background Screening and the Education Community

 

School v3.jpg

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

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

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

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

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

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

References:

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

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

Featured

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

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

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

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

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

 

Featured

DOT Use of Paperless Chain of Custody and Control Forms

ecoc

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

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

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

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

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

Errors are minimized and deadlines are easily met.

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

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

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

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

Featured

Employer (End User) Responsibility during Background Screening

Employer Responsibilities.png

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

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

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

Permissible Purpose

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

Disclosure and Authorization

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

Evaluation

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

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

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

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

Adverse Action

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

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

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

Featured

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

compliance3

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Remaining Compliant and Best Practices

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Featured

The Impact of Marijuana Legalization

marijuana

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

Does marijuana legislation protect employers?

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

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

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

The debate over consumption, safety, and workplace issues.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Legislation is evolving and ongoing.

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

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

Featured

A little background on background screening

background-check

What is a Background Screen?

A Background Screen is a process—actually, a legal investigative search—to compile past information, including criminal, employment, education, credit records, etc. of an individual for the purpose of helping an organization make employment decisions.

One might think that it’s perfectly fine to just gather information from online public sources. Simply put, it’s not. Employers—and background screening providers—have to abide by laws and regulations that minimize risk to the employer, while also protecting candidates from discrimination. Companies should implement formal background screens to help keep their clients, employees and business safe.

Performing background screens help keep companies safe and minimize risk by verifying and reporting historical information, all while ensuring candidates are who they say they are.

How does the screening process work?

Prior to performing a background screen, the candidate must supply written consent and both the candidate and company must understand and acknowledge rights under FCRA guidelines. This “Authorization for Background Investigation” form is how A-Check Global receives and verifies the candidate’s acknowledgment and authorization to conduct a background screen on the company’s behalf.

A common misconception of the background screening process is that a comprehensive report can be completed and presented within 24 hours or less. In reality, a team of trained professionals work seamlessly together, utilizing both electronic and manual processes to gather the most current and accurate information available.

An average background screen usually takes 2-5 days to complete. However, there are variables that can impact the timeline, such as insufficient or incomplete information provided by the candidate, or the type of screen component(s) requested. Take for example, a county criminal search which can be a lengthy effort depending on where the county is located and on the county resources available to provide information to A-Check.

Let’s take a look at screen components.

Typically, an employer will ask for fairly common types of pre-employment screens: a Social Security Trace, Criminal History Records, Employment History and Education Verification, and perhaps Motor Vehicle Records, Credit Reports, and Drug Screening.

The Social Security Trace can aid in validating the candidate’s identity. It can be used to uncover previous address history and even alias names affiliated with a social security number.

Sources of criminal history records include: county, statewide, and federal criminal records, the national criminal locater database and state and national sex offender registries.

Employment verification requirements—how much historical information is requested—tends to vary from client to client, and A-Check Global tailors this search to meet the employer’s business needs.

Education verifications validate an applicant’s high school, college, or trade school diplomas and degrees.

State laws vary regarding retention of driving records. Generally, this search will reveal the candidate’s 3-5 year driving history and may provide insight into any potential areas of concern.

A-Check Global’s substance abuse testing programs aid in protecting employers from the negative effects of workplace drug and alcohol abuse. Our services include a complete range of drug testing, alcohol screening and medical screening management for both regulated and unregulated industries.

Reviewing the results.

Once a background screen is complete, the employer can review the results and make an informed employment decision based on this information. Keep in mind that using this information for hiring decisions must be done in compliance with Federal and state regulations including the Fair Credit Reporting Act, and the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. Likewise, candidates must have ample opportunity to review their completed background report if requested prior to the screen, and dispute any specific items they question.

If you’re tasked with analyzing your current screening program, or just have questions about your background screening process, we would welcome the opportunity to be part of that conversation. A-Check Global’s team of dedicated professionals are available to help, and can provide friendly, accurate guidance. Give us a call today at 877-345-2021, or email support@acheckglobal.com.

Featured

The Great Recession of 2008 and its Impact on Credit Reporting

compliance3

Welcome to the second Blog article in our CRAsh Course on Credit Reporting. In this article, we’ll focus on the lasting impact a changing financial landscape can have on credit reporting legislation.

It’s 2017—nearly a decade since the Great Recession ended—and while things have recovered for many people financially, the lasting effects of the catastrophic financial event continue to be felt by some.

Due to more than 7 million foreclosures and the high rate of unemployment during, and shortly after the recession, a large percentage of the US population has negative information on their credit reports caused directly by the economic downturn.

To ensure those who experienced financial stress during the Great Recession could continue pursuing employment opportunities, important—and popular—regulations were implemented to limit the use of credit reports on pre-employment background screens.

Legislation now defines when and how credit reports can be used for employment decisions

11 states and the District of Colombia have placed regulations on the use of credit screens when hiring. Additionally, while there’s no law CURRENTLY in place, Minnesota’s Department of Human Rights recommends that a credit check is only done when money handling is an essential job function.

In states where no laws are in place, cities have stepped in to limit use of credit reports when making a hiring decision. Philadelphia and New York both have these rules in place.

These laws are fairly common sense. They typically bar employers from analyzing an applicant’s credit history unless the position deals significantly with money. Money handlers, accountants, managers and other financial positions are usually exempt from protection under the law.

Even when hiring in a state with no limits on credit reports, it is recommended that credit is only reviewed for individuals with significant access to finances. The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) states that “An employer must not have a financial requirement if it does not help the employer to accurately identify responsible and reliable employees . . .

While you may argue that knowing your new stock person or receptionist’s money handling abilities gives you a better idea of their potential to be a reliable employee, the candidate and EEOC may argue differently and claim the process is discriminatory. Even if you’re right, battling this in court costs time, money, and stress that’s easily avoided by simply limiting credit screening to personnel with financial responsibilities.

Let’s make sure best practices are in place

To mitigate risk in your employment decisions, add these rules to your screening program:

  1. Credit reports are only conducted on candidates with significant monetary responsibilities
  2. Your screening policy includes detailed information on why credit reports are used
  3. Separate screening policies are in place for money handling and non-money handling positions
  4. Background screens are conducted the same way for all candidates based on their position
  5. Your legal team has reviewed screening policies for compliance with state and federal guidelines

Another way to help ensure compliance to ongoing changes in legislation is to utilize the services of a background screening company—like A-Check Global—with a robust compliance department. As a trusted business partner, we review our clients’ screening policies, ensure services are not being conducted in violation of regulations, track legal changes, and suggest policy updates when new rules are put in place.

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

Featured

The What and Why of Adverse Action Notices

compliance2

When information contained in an A-Check Global background check is used wholly or in part by a requester to deny employment to an applicant, a specific process must be followed to comply with the requirements of the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA). This process affords the applicant an opportunity to review their background report and dispute any specific information, if deemed inaccurate.

We’re here to help!

As your trusted partner, A-Check Global developed an Employment Screening Adverse Communication Kit to assist clients (end users of consumer reports) with regulatory responsibilities in accordance with FCRA Section 604(b)(3)(A). This kit helps save time, minimizes paperwork, and recommends a timeline to ensure applicants receive their pre-adverse notifications in a timely manner and are given a reasonable period to review results before final adverse notification is provided.

This kit contains two documents: (1) a pre-adverse communication/applicant response form, and (2) a final adverse action letter. Please consult with your Corporate HR as you follow the Instructions to create your company’s compliance documents.

Please also keep in mind, A-Check Global is not providing legal advice or counsel, thus our kit should not be deemed as such. Consult with your legal counsel to ensure the final product conforms to the needs of your organization.

Use our 2-step process to remain compliant

To facilitate the Adverse process, simply use our sample templates, customize them to meet your business requirements, and then mail out the Pre-Adverse and Adverse Notice yourself. Or, give us a call—we would be happy to assist in managing this process on your behalf.

Note: It is vital to your organization to ensure that the Adverse Action two-step process is executed each time a decision not to hire or place an applicant is made based on the content of a background report.

To process a Self-Adverse notification:

  1. Provide the applicant the pre-adverse letter with response form and a copy of the report used to make the adverse decision. Prepare each letter by adding the applicant’s name and the Consumer Reporting Agency’s name and contact information. This letter is designed to provide the applicant the opportunity to dispute any inaccurate or missing information within the report.
  2. If the applicant does not respond to the pre-adverse letter after a reasonable period of time—A-Check recommends six [6] business days—follow up with the applicant by providing them the final adverse action letter. Again, it is very important to add and confirm the applicant’s name and Consumer Reporting Agencies contact information—ensuring the name of the Consumer Reporting Agency on the report and the name of the Consumer Reporting Agency on the letter match.

The applicant can then dispute the accuracy of the Consumer Report by going online at http://www.myacheck.com or they can email us or contact us directly.

Remember, we’re here to answer your questions regarding your Pre-Adverse and Adverse Notice program. Please feel free to call, email, or live chat us at acheckglobal.com.

Featured

Message regarding Equifax

EQUIFAX-DATABREACHLA

Dear Customer,

By now, you’ve no doubt heard that on September 7, 2017, Equifax announced a cybersecurity incident involving U.S. consumer information. Equifax discovered the unauthorized access to certain data files and acted immediately to stop the intrusion. Additionally, they have conducted an ongoing and comprehensive forensic review of the intrusion, and are working closely with law enforcement.

We’ve been asked by customers for clarification regarding the data we receive from Equifax to facilitate A-Check background screening. We currently work with Equifax to receive candidate payroll information during employment verification inquiries. Candidate information we submit to make these inquiries is not stored or archived on Equifax databases.

As an organization that works closely with Equifax, please know we’ve been in close contact with them to gather information we can in turn pass along to you.

To date, Equifax reports they have found no evidence of unauthorized activity on Equifax’s core consumer or commercial credit reporting databases. In addition, they have found no evidence that this cybersecurity incident impacted Equifax’s core consumer or commercial credit reporting databases. This report is intended to also be inclusive of A-Check inquiry data.

If you have questions, we welcome your call or email. And of course, we’ll keep you updated with any further developments as we continue our communication with Equifax.

A-Check Global

Featured

Understanding Drug Screen Reports

drug_test_92572931-56b08ae65f9b58b7d023ef47When speaking with our clients who routinely drug screen even high volumes of employees, we’re often asked questions about reading or deciphering drug screen results. That’s a good thing, because it shows our clients are as committed to making informed employment decisions as we are about providing accurate and compliant information.

Even experienced employers can benefit from some good advice

We’ve seen it all, but one of the more common areas to pay attention to within the Chain of Custody and Control Form (CCF) is the “Reason for Testing.” Employers might incorrectly mark this area, so it’s important to accurately choose one of the major reasons for testing to help minimize and overcome any recurring compliance risks. The reasons for testing listed on most non-federally regulated CCFs are:

  • pre-employment
  • random
  • reasonable suspicion
  • return-to-duty
  • promotion
  • follow-up testing

On every CCF document, a Specimen ID number will also be assigned. The location of the ID can vary from form to form, but can usually be located in the upper margins of the document. The Specimen ID is one of the most important parts of the drug screening process, as it ensures the integrity of the result remains true as it travels between locations.

Location, location, location

Location identification is often another area of confusion, since the complete process of a drug screen is not usually completed in one place.

The first step in the specimen testing process is the collection facility. This step is where the donor provides the initial sample to be shipped to and evaluated at the testing laboratory. The testing laboratory is where the initial positive or negative determination will be made. Once official results have been determined, the testing laboratory will then send non-negative – and all federally regulated – results to the Medical Review Officer (MRO). The MRO is responsible for evaluating medical health and prescriptions to determine any medically valid reasons for any non-negative results.

Understanding the results

After the MRO process, verified results are then made available to the employer. There are four sections that are typically outlined on a drug screen report:

  • substance abuse panel
  • initial test level
  • GC/MS confirmation test level
  • Determined result.

The “substance abuse panel” is the list of drugs that an applicant or employee was screened for. Understanding the “initial test” and “GC/MS” (Gas chromatography-mass spectrometry) confirmation levels is where the process can get a little complicated.

Contrary to popular belief, these numbers do not indicate the level that the donor tested at. The initial test level is the threshold that the lab uses to determine negative or positive results. Any results that exceed the initial test level threshold are flagged as positive results.

Once a specimen has been flagged, a GC/MS confirmation test is performed to verify the positive reading. If the confirmation results meet or exceed the GC/MS confirmation levels that are outlined in this field, then the result is reported out to the MRO as a positive.

It is in this field that sub-testing will also be reported. Sub-testing is the practice of testing for different types of a drug category. The most common type of sub-testing is screening for methamphetamine inside the amphetamine category, but sub-testing can also occur for opiates, barbiturates, alcohol, and other drug categories.

While it can be complicated, we’re here as your trusted partner, and available to talk with you about your drug screening program and applicant/employee drug reports. Contact A-Check Global today.

Featured

A CRAsh Course on Consumer Reporting Agencies

compliance3

As your trusted partner, we love updating our blog with information that helps you make informed employment decisions. When speaking with customers, we’re often asked about the laws surrounding Consumer Reporting Agencies and these laws affect employers, employees, and applicants. Of course, this is such an immense topic that we’ve decided to devote several upcoming blog articles to the subject. For today, here’s a quick intro and a sneak peek at what you’ll see in upcoming entries.

The Birth of the Consumer Reporting Industry

The consumer reporting industry arguably gets its start in 1899 when the first credit bureau—Retail Credit Company—was founded. While originally used to assess a person’s ability to repay debt, consumer reporting now also encompasses tenant screening, employment screening, insurance risk analysis, and more.

Due to the potential for background screens to be used unfairly to deny credit, housing, or employment, a number of regulations have been put in place to protect the subjects of a background investigation. The law refers to these individuals as consumers.

Introducing . . . The Fair Credit Reporting Act

The Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) is the largest piece of consumer protection law. It acts as the foundation of consumer rights at the federal level. Both CRAs, and the companies that act as the end user of a consumer report must adhere to the rules of the FCRA. In addition to the FCRA, many states, counties, and municipalities have passed their own regulations. These regulations are designed to offer further protection to consumers from unfair background screening procedures.

Violations of consumer rights as provided by the FCRA and other consumer protection laws can lead to costly litigation. In 2016 more than $75 million was awarded to defendants who successfully argued violations of the FCRA. What’s worse, these violations are often reported in business news or national media, potentially damaging a company’s brand and ability to recruit qualified talent. This number is expected to rise in 2017 and 2018.

With the potential rise of litigation in mind, we’re dedicated to providing ongoing advice on how to fairly utilize consumer reports, and remain compliant with federal, state and local regulations. In upcoming posts we’ll present regulatory trends affecting the screening industry, and offer advice and best practices to comply with these regulations. We hope you like what you read, and find this information useful. Stay tuned for:

  • The importance of credit reports
  • The rise of “Ban the Box” legislation
  • Restricting the use of salary history when making employment decisions

If you want more information about any of our articles, or if there’s something you’d like us to write about please contact us at connect@acheckglobal.com.

Featured

Why Choose Applicant Tracking System (ATS) Integration?

Integration 3

These days, many companies wrestle to balance employee workload and overall efficiency. As a result, employees might sometimes feel they are doing the work of three people or more. In that type of environment, it just makes sense to look for solutions that streamline responsibilities and quite frankly, make the job a little easier.

From a Human Resources technology standpoint, one effective solution is an applicant tracking system (ATS) integration. Many use some form of online ATS to hire, on-board and track applicants, and then another system(s) to perform pre-employment and/or drug screening before making employment decisions. An integrated solution unifies these functions through secure data sharing and a user friendly, web-based interface, providing the user a seamless operating environment.

The Goal is Effortless Employee Screening

Employment screening is a key part of the onboarding process. It helps ensure candidates are who they say they are and that they’re qualified to perform the job in question, while also helping to minimize employee-related risk pertaining to a company’s brand reputation, safety, and compliance.

Companies can realize significant benefits by integrating their employment screening process and ATS. A successful integration requires the cooperation of the employment screening provider and the applicant tracking system vendor to ensure software compatibility. Partnering with a screening provider dedicated to strong project management expertise while overseeing the entire process is also a must have.

The beauty of integrating is that you’ll have options to either take a simple workflow solution that’s both affordable and quick to implement, or a custom solution where you have the ability to develop around your specific business rules—integrating a workflow that makes sense to your organization and your system end users, while still providing convenience and efficiency to your candidates. Discussing these options with your employment screening partner will allow you to determine which will work best for your company.

At A-Check Global we’re a well-oiled integration machine

As an experienced employment screening provider with many successful integrations already in place through top ATS providers, A-Check Global works closely with you, combining current technologies with dedicated customer support to securely and effectively bring your company into the future of employee onboarding.

ATS integration allows your staff to maximize efficiency by eliminating redundant processes, thereby saving both time and money. It’s a win-win, and A-Check Global would be honored to partner with you toward that effective solution.

Featured

Reviewing the Benefits of a Medical Review Officer (MRO)

MRO

An MRO can play an important role in your employment decisions

A Medical Review Officer (MRO) is responsible for providing a medically-verified evaluation on drug screen results. For applicants and employees not regulated by the Department of Transportation (DOT), this applies to any non-negative laboratory result determination. For applicants and employees who fall under DOT regulation (drivers or fork lift operators, for example), this applies to every drug screen, regardless of the laboratory’s initial determination. DOT applicants or employees are subject to additional requirements because of stricter, federally mandated regulation and “Return-To-Duty” programs.

The entire MRO process is beneficial for both employee and employer, and aims to maximize accuracy throughout the drug screening process.

An added layer of review to assist both applicant/employee and employer

Applicants may disclose any health conditions to a medical professional, allowing them to protect their privacy during the application and screening process.

It is possible for an applicant’s drug screen to show a positive result due to a medical condition or prescribed medication. By presenting drug screen results to an MRO, employers might avoid numerous expenses associated with removing or disqualifying an applicant or employee from employment, only to then discover a medically valid condition.

Additionally, the MRO process might also reveal conditions detrimental to safety. If an MRO believes that a medical condition or prescribed medication associated with an employee can inhibit that worker’s ability to safely perform their duties, they can choose to disclose that information on the final MRO report for the employer. A “Fit-For-Duty” test can also be requested by the MRO to properly assess the worker’s ability to perform job duties and measure any possible impairment concerns.

Drug screening best practices prove the need for MRO services

Dismissing a worker or disqualifying an applicant based on a positive drug screen that has not undergone MRO review is not necessarily congruent with industry best-practice policies and can also prove costly for the employer. For example, according to a 2014 Training Industry Report, onboarding a typical full time employee can cost up to $1,000—and require approximately 40 hours of company provided training. MRO consultation during the drug screening process can help an employer make sound employment decisions before that money is spent.

If your company is interested in taking the next step in drug screening accuracy and fairness in your Drug-Free Workplace policy, contact A-Check Global to get started immediately with MRO and other drug screening services.

Featured

Salary History – Think Twice Before Asking

Pay Equity Legislation 5_02_2017Salary History Bans gain momentum in the employment process

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

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

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

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

We’re keeping an eye on legislative activity.

Rep. Eleanor Holmes Norton, (D-DC) and co-sponsors Reps. Rosa DeLauro (D-CT), Jerrold Nadler (D-NY), and Jackie Speier (D-CA) have proposed the Pay Equity for All Act of 2017 which would prohibit employers from asking job applicants for their salary history before making a job or salary offer. Many states are also enacting their own legislation to address this issue.

The following states and cities have implemented or are in the process of implementing pay equity legislation including salary history bans:

Massachusetts     New York City     District of Columbia    Philadelphia      Oregon     Iowa    California    Puerto Rico    New Orleans     Connecticut    Delaware    Georgia    Idaho    Illinois    Maryland    Maine    Mississippi    Montana    New York    Texas    New Jersey    North Carolina    Pennsylvania    Vermont    Virginia    Washington    Rhode Island

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

 

Featured

Effective July 1, 2017: Tighter Regulations on Considering Criminal History During Employment Decisions

In 2016, The California Fair Employment and Housing Council introduced revised regulations governing an employer’s consideration of criminal history when making employment decisions. The Office of Administrative Law approved these regulations, and they will become effective on July 1, 2017.

Essentially, these new regulations focus on two areas:

  1. Adverse impact claims
  2. Prohibitions and notice requirements regarding criminal history

Let’s take a closer look at what this may mean for you and how it might impact your employment decision process.

Adverse Impact Claims

Simply put, these new regulations will impose stricter limitations when using criminal records during employment decisions (for example, an employer’s decision to hire, fire, train or discipline an employee). These California regulations now align with federal law stating Employers are prohibited from using criminal history if doing so has an adverse impact on a current or prospective employee.

Likewise, employees are permitted to confirm adverse impact by using criminal conviction statistics, explaining that state/federal statistics of disparities in criminal convictions of a protected category are sufficient to illustrate adverse impact.

If an existing or potential employee establishes a claim, the burden is on the employer to show that the policy regarding consideration of criminal history is “job-related and consistent with business necessity” and takes into consideration the nature of the offense and the amount of time passed since the offense and/or completion of the sentence. Policies that consider convictions older than seven years may be subject to rebuttable presumption. Bright-line disqualification practices are also subject to new regulations. Employers must demonstrate that this practice can clearly distinguish between employees who do or do not impose a risk, and that criminal conviction has a negative impact on ability to perform job duties. Once employers establish this defense, the burden is on the employee to illustrate an alternative resolution.

Prohibitions and notice requirements regarding criminal history

New regulations also detail criminal history information that employers may no longer consider, and include additional requirements for providing applicant notice. Specifically, employers are prohibited from considering:

  • Arrests that did not result in conviction
  • Pre- or Post-trial diversion
  • Dismissed, sealed, or expunged conviction
  • Certain juvenile criminal history
  • Non-felony conviction (older than two years) of marijuana possession

If an employer receives a disqualifying conviction from a source other than the application, the employer must now provide notice of a disqualifying conviction prior to adverse action AND allow the applicant reasonable opportunity to respond with evidence of factual inaccuracy.

PLEASE NOTE: This notice and opportunity-to-respond requirement differs from the Fair Credit Reporting Act (“FCRA”) and “Ban the Box” California ordinances.

Prior to July 1, 2017, please take a moment to review your policies. California Employers should:

  • Reassess use of bright-line disqualifications
  • Update policies/procedures to remove prohibited disqualifications
  • Confirm that consumer reporting agencies used to screen applicants have implemented new regulations
  • Create policy/procedure providing notice of disqualifying conviction, as now required
  • Remain aware of federal/local regulations imposing additional limitations

The information contained herein is not specific legal advice, and should not be construed as such. You should discuss the use of policies and practices regarding employment decisions with your organization’s legal counsel to ensure regulatory compliance. For more information these and other regulations regarding employment screening, please contact A-Check Global via our contact page or 877-345-2021 today.

Featured

Experts Predict More Mediation in the EEOC’s Future

3.28.17 - Experts Predict More Mediation in the EEOC

President Trump’s election in November of 2016 has caused many government agencies to wonder what the future holds. Will there be budget cuts, or budget increases? Hiring surges, or hiring freezes? Although there is quite a bit of uncertainty amongst these agencies, legal experts believe that one government agency, in particular, should expect major changes: the Equal Employment Opportunity commission (EEOC).

 

According to their website, “the EEOC is responsible for enforcing federal laws that make it illegal to discriminate against a job applicant or an employee because of the person’s race, color, religion, sex (including pregnancy, gender identity, and sexual orientation), national origin, age (40 or older), disability or genetic information. It is also illegal to discriminate against a person because the person complained about discrimination, filed a charge of discrimination, or participated in an employment discrimination investigation or lawsuit.”

 

Since its establishment in 1965, the EEOC has performed these responsibilities successfully, with their efforts often leading to numerous lawsuits, judgments, and even the establishment of new laws aimed at protecting members of particular classes and groups.

 

Historically, these lawsuits, or the risk thereof, have posed significant challenges and changes for employers throughout the country due to the ease of initiating cases. However, with mediation on the horizon, this may change.

 

According to the EEOC, “Choosing mediation to resolve employment discrimination disputes promotes a better work environment, reduces costs and works for the employer and the employee.”

 

Essentially, this means a simple mediation can resolve a claim or issue, which will significantly decrease the number of investigations and litigations for employers. Additionally, an increase in mediation will give more power back to employers – enabling them to reach more mutually-beneficial conclusions with applicants/employees.

 

An official announcement/declaration of expected agency and policy changes under the Trump Administration has not yet been released by the EEOC, but employers interested in remaining informed, should visit the EEOC site regularly for updates.

 

For more information on EEOC compliance and/or how EEOC regulations impact employment screening, contact A-Check Global today via our contact page, or by calling 877-345-2021.

Featured

Managing the Newly ‘Revised’ Form I-9

Date:  Thursday, March 23, 2017

View a recording of the Webinar here!.

Presenter:

Dave Basham – Sr. Outreach Analyst – U.S. Citizenship & Immigration Services Department of Homeland Security

Dave joined U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services in 2008, following his retirement from the U.S. Army. He serves as a national contact for ICE agents in regards to the Form I-9 and E-Verify. Dave has conducted over 500 nationwide presentations which included audiences of elected officials, immigration attorneys, compliance personnel to human resources and payroll professionals. In 2014, Dave was selected as the recipient of Arkansas’s SHRM (Society of Human Resources Management) ‘Friend of HR’ award. 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.

 

Subject Matter:

A new version of the Form I-9, Employment Eligibility Verification, was released on November 14, 2016. By January 22, 2017, employers should be using the revised form. During this session we will cover areas to include the forms new blocks and changes; the differences in the fillable version versus the paper copy; and other “in the weeds” areas that will assist organizations with their Form I-9 processes and compliance.

Featured

Using Mobile Collection Services to Establish Drug Free Workplaces

Using Mobile Collection Services to Establish Drug Free Workplaces.png

In recent years, workplace safety has played a more major role in employment and hiring practices than ever before. And for many employers, this evolution ties directly into the establishment of Drug Free Workplace and similar policies.

 

Additionally, with the passage of various drug-related laws in some states, and changes in societal expectations as they pertain to drugs in others, more and more employers are taking advantage of all that the world of drug screening has to offer.

 

In a recent post Benefits of Instant, Onsite Drug Screening, A-Check Global addressed the desire of many employers to transition to more convenient alternatives to standard drug screens given the increase in overall benefits. After all, standard drug screens typically require employers to designate specific dates/times for employees and/or applicants to test off-site; which, as a result, has the potential to impact turnaround time and work productivity.

 

Instant, onsite drug screening is a popular alternative for employers, but it is not necessarily a good fit (or a permitted solution) for all companies and organizations.

 

If instant drug screening is not for you or your company, then onsite mobile collection services may be the ticket, as mobile collection is ideal for those looking to avoid an extended absence from employees. A mobile collection service consists of a collection facility coming to the place of employment to conduct all necessary drug screens that follow all typical procedures practiced at licensed facilities.

 

This option is useful for large groups of employees or applicants who are undergoing either random program, periodic, or pre-employment drug screening. Additionally, having an onsite collection facility come to a place of employment allows the collection to be completed via industry best-practice procedures during all stages of the screening process, while also having access to professional laboratory analysis, anti-adulteration technology, and, when applicable, additional review from an MRO.

 

If you are interested in mobile collection services, or incorporating alternative drug screening methods into your current Drug Free Workplace policy, please contact A-Check Global through our contact page, or by phone at 877-345-2021.

Featured

Benefits of Instant, Onsite Drug Screening

Benefits of Instant, Onsite Drug Screening.png

For many employers, drug screening is a vital piece of the hiring process. However, given the complex nature of drug screening in some industries, and time constraints in others, standard drug screens are not always a one-size-fits-all solution to drug screening needs.

 

A standard drug screen typically requires both collection at a licensed facility and analysis at an approved laboratory location. In addition, positive results are also subject to additional review from a Medical Review Officer (MRO). All of these procedures can have a significant impact on budgeting and work productivity, and in an effort to mitigate some of these costs, many employers have opted to make the change from traditional drug screening to alternative onsite drug screening options.

 

Instant-cup testing and onsite mobile collection services are both available to employers who wish to avoid the cost and inconvenience of sending their employees offsite for drug screening. While both options reduce the impact on budgeting and productivity, they each have unique advantages on a workplace drug screening program.

 

By opting into instant drug screening, employers are able to avoid the heavy costs of both collection facilities and laboratory testing. Regular collections at a facility can take anywhere between one to three hours – possibly even longer depending on the travel time between the place of employment and the collection facility- leaving the employee away from his or her post for an extended period of time. Instant drug testing is an effective way to circumvent this productivity loss.

 

Instant testing drastically reduces turnaround time for drug screens – getting workers back to work much quicker than traditional drug screening procedures. Having onsite collection kits can be useful as a preliminary drug screen to avoid unnecessary expenditures for laboratory based testing. In the case of reasonable suspicion or random program testing, instant drug testing provides a safer testing environment that does not require the employee to travel under the influence or be provided with transportation arrangements.

 

These procedures can be worked into any employer’s Drug Free Workplace policy, as long as they comply with all appropriate federal, state, local, union, and industry-specific regulations.

 

For more information on the benefits of onsite drug screening, or to incorporate it into your company/organization’s policy, contact A-Check Global today via our contact page, or by calling 877-345-2021.

Featured

Using Credit History in the Hiring Process

1-31-17-using-credit-image

(Disclaimer: The information contained herein is not legal advice, and should not be construed as such. You should discuss the use of consumer reports with your organization’s legal counsel to ensure regulatory compliance.)

 

Historically, United States employers have commonly utilized credit history as a measure of financial responsibility and overall trustworthiness for employment applicants. However, in recent years, numerous states and municipalities have enacted legislation restricting the use of credit history in the applicant screening process to a small number of exceptions; primarily to those applicants who will have fiduciary roles if hired.

 

When utilizing credit reports in the hiring process, there are two primary factors employers and hiring managers should take into consideration:

 

  1. The laws and regulations governing the use of credit reports for employment purposes.

a) Employers and hiring managers should familiarize themselves with state/municipal laws that may limit the use of credit history in employment decisions. Some of the states/metropolitan areas with laws enacted to further regulate the use of credit history in the hiring process include: California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Illinois, Maryland, Nevada, Oregon, Vermont, Washington, Chicago, New York City and Philadelphia. The primary objective of most laws enacted by these states and jurisdictions is to restrict the use of credit reports to ensure they are only utilized when the position includes fiduciary responsibilities or positions with high compensation and/or financial decision making authority.

  1. The relevance of the report in the hiring process.

 

The Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) encourages employers to consider the nature of the position prior to using credit history in the hiring screening process. SHRM notes the following:

 If the responsibilities of the job call for the employee to handle money, assets, clients’ personal information, or proprietary company data, the information provided in the credit report may be very useful … If the position doesn’t require the applicant to have access to financial or proprietary company data, a credit report may not be needed.

 

Ultimately, it is the responsibility of hiring managers to ensure they remain in compliance with both the FCRA and any other applicable state or local laws and regulations.

 

For more information on using credit history in employment screening ensuring your hiring process is legally compliant, please contact A-Check Global via our contact page or 877-345-2021 today.

A-Check System Update Schedule

We’re committed to ensuring our systems and services are secure, stable, and regularly maintained to effectively protect your data when doing business with us. Please refer to this page for information on upcoming system updates.

Scheduled Update: Windows Server Patches
Date: August 25, 2018
Time: 4:00 am – 6:00 pm (PT)

During this window, we expect minimum downtime for clients while our servers are rebooted.

Questions?
Please don’t hesitate to contact A-Check with questions about this or any scheduled system updates we perform. Email: support@acheckglobal.com | phone: 877-345-2021