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Background Screening in the Age of Gig Employment

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

Importance of background screens

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

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

We’re here for you

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

 

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

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

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

Why is this disclosure form changing?

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

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

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

What A-Check Global is Doing

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

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

What Employers Need to Do

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

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

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An Update on Salary History Bans

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

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

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

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

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

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

We’re keeping an eye on this growing trend.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Pennsylvania           Sep 4, 2018         Philadelphia, PA                              (TBD)

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

Vermont                    Jul 1, 2018

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

 

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“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.