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The Importance of Choosing the Right Background Screening Partner

lawsuits

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

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

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

If you have any questions about your background screening process, our team of dedicated professionals are available to help, and can provide friendly, accurate guidance. Give us a call today at 877-345-2021, or email clientsupport@acheckglobal.com.

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Background Screening at a Glance

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

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

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

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

So what do A-Check clients usually request?

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

         OPTION A                            OPTION B                           OPTION C

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

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

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

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FAIR CHANCE HIRING: What’s in a name?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Reference

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

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

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

Evaluation: Using Criminal Records in the Hiring Process

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

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

Decision: The Adverse Action 2-Step

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

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

Compliance Checklist

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

IRS Documentation Requests:

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

 DOT 49 Part 40 form:

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

PRIA and FAA records:

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

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