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Message regarding Equifax

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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

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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.

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A CRAsh Course on Consumer Reporting Agencies

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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.

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Why Choose Applicant Tracking System (ATS) Integration?

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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.