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Compliance Clips for September 2022

CONSUMER REPORTING AND EMPLOYER COMPLIANCE INFORMATION

Pay Transparency Legislation
21 states and a number of local jurisdictions already have pay transparency laws that require employers to disclose pay ranges to job applicants and employees. This growing legislation trend means employers should take a closer look at job applications and postings to ensure they are compliant—especially as overall hiring becomes more detailed due to ongoing remote workforce options and multi-state hiring. All in all, it’s always a great time to review hiring practices with your legal counsel.
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FCRA Litigation
Let’s work together to help minimize the risk of class action FCRA lawsuits. In this case example, an organization recently agreed to a $225k settlement for violation of FCRA by failing to provide pre-adverse action notices when using background screening reports to make decisions regarding applicants and employees. As a reminder, if the background check information results in an adverse action decision, a notice of pre-adverse action, along with a copy of the background check results and a copy of the Summary of Your Rights Under the Fair Credit Reporting Act must be presented to the individual. The individual must then be allowed at least five business days to dispute the information in the background check. If after that period of time adverse action is taken upon final decision, the individual must be provided with a final notice of adverse action.
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New York City
Attention New York City employers: Effective January 1, 2023, local law will regulate the use of automated employment decision tools to identify and prohibit actions that discriminate against individuals in protected classes. What does this mean? Essentially, valuable online tools that are increasingly used during the employment process include algorithms and software geared toward finding top talent … but also has potential to impact scoring based on an individual’s gender, race, job title, etc. Generally speaking, New York City law will require that 1) IA tools are subject to a “bias audit” prior to using, and 2) employers will be required to meet certain notice requirements to candidates and employees.
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I-9

I-9 Deadline
It’s worth one more reminder that the employer deadline was July 31, to update expired List B (proof of identification) with current proofs of identification for employees hired between May 1, 2020 and April 30, 2022 who presented an expired document. The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) adopted the temporary policy flexibility in response to challenges employers faced with renewing these documents during COVID. Now that document-issuing authorities have reopened and/or provided alternatives to in-person renewals, the DHS ended this flexibility May 1, 2022, and employers must once again accept only unexpired List B documents.
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SUBSTANCE ABUSE TESTING

In the News: Mushrooms
With some discussion at the state level around decriminalization of mushroom microdosing, it’s worth mentioning that while mushrooms won’t show up on most routine drug tests, drug contamination (lacing) likely will. Mushrooms generally won’t show up on a 5-panel test. Same goes for 8-, 10-, and 12-panel tests, but certain specialized tests might detect them. What’s interesting is that there have been reports of people selling regular, store-bought mushrooms laced with other drugs, including PCP, which is detected by most panel tests. So in general, while most organizations probably aren’t testing for mushrooms, applicants may inadvertently return a non-negative test depending on what they’ve unknowingly ingested.
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Missouri
Missouri voters will have a chance to vote on a proposed initiative to legalize recreational marijuana during this November’s general election. If passed, legislation would amend the Missouri Constitution to legalize the possession and use of marijuana for those 21 and older, allowing adults to purchase up to three ounces of marijuana at a time. The measure also allows adults who obtain a registration card to cultivate marijuana at home.
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North Dakota
Also up for vote in 2022, North Dakota voters will have the chance to decide on marijuana legalization at the ballot this November. The initiative would allow adults 21 and older to purchase and possess up to one ounce of cannabis and grow up to three plants for personal use. Its provisions largely mirror the House-passed legalization bill that was ultimately rejected by the Senate.
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Please keep in mind that A-Check Global is always here to help as you determine the course of your own employment drug testing.

BAN THE BOX

Harris County, Texas
Harris County represents the sixth Texas city or county to adopt a Ban the Box hiring policy. This Harris County policy applies only to public employers, not private employers. Ban the Box legislation has continued to gain momentum throughout the country. In fact, 37 states and more than 150 cities/counties have enacted Ban the Box legislation to help ensure that employers first consider an applicant’s skills and qualifications before viewing criminal history. This provides greater assurance that there is no negative bias to an employment application due to criminal convictions.
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Questions? We’re here to help!

Featured

Compliance Clips for July 2022

CONSUMER REPORTING AND EMPLOYER COMPLIANCE INFORMATION

Nationwide Credit Reporting
The three major credit bureaus announced that beginning July 1, 2022, paid medical collection debts will be removed from consumer credit reports, and the time period before unpaid medical debts are reported increases from six months to one year. Additionally, in the first half of 2023, it has been announced that medical collection accounts $500 and under will no longer be included in a consumer credit report. While these changes don’t and won’t eliminate medical debt from credit reports entirely, the three credit bureaus—Equifax, Experian and TransUnion—do note that they anticipate as much as 70% of consumer medical debt will be removed from credit reports. Please keep in mind that for those consumers who have medical debt on a credit card, that will continue to exist as credit card/loan debt until paid.
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Nationwide EEOC Guidance
New EEOC guidance for employers using AI during hiring: AI can potentially discriminate against applicants with disabilities. On May 12, 2022, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission issued a new comprehensive “technical assistance” guidance entitled The Americans with Disabilities Act and the Use of Software, Algorithms, and Artificial Intelligence to Assess Job Applicants and Employees. As referenced in this guidance, the “screen out” problem of AI rejecting applicants who would otherwise qualify for the job with reasonable accommodation is addressed. Under the ADA, a screen out is unlawful if the tool screened out an individual who can perform essential functions of the job with a reasonable accommodation. Employers should proactively manage risk by addressing unintended results from AI technology and communicate up front the knowledge, skill, ability, education, experience, quality, or trait that will be measured or screened with the AI tool. All while further empowering applicants to share if they feel some disability accommodation will be needed.
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FCRA Compliance
It’s always a good time to check, double-, and triple-check to ensure that your background check consumer reporting is FCRA compliant. When an employer uses a third party (like A-Check Global) to conduct background checks, there are FCRA compliance requirements that must be followed. For your convenience, here’s a short checklist of key requirements:

  • Ensure there is a permissible purpose for performing a background check on an applicant/employee, based on their role and responsibilities.
  • Provide clear written notice in a stand-alone document to the applicant/employee that a background check will be conducted, and the resulting information will be used to make an employment decision.
  • Obtain the applicant/employee’s written consent to perform a background check and/or investigative report.
  • If the background check information results in an adverse action decision, a notice of pre-adverse action, along with a copy of the background check results and a copy of the Summary of Your Rights Under the Fair Credit Reporting Act, must be presented to the individual.
  • Allow the individual at least five business days to dispute the information in the background check.
  • If adverse action is taken upon final decision, provide the individual with a final notice of adverse action.

We’re focused on helping you remain compliant, and always welcome your questions.
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Pre-Adverse Action Requirements
While the case in this example was a win for the employer, it’s a great reminder that compliance with FCRA law at every step of the background screening process can help minimize risk from costly litigation. If an employer decides to rescind an offer based on information from a report—a criminal conviction in this case—then before taking adverse action the employer must provide the applicant with: (1) a copy of the background check and (2) a written summary of consumer rights. The prospective employee then gets a reasonable amount of time to dispute the accuracy of the report. While this employer did not provide the report before rescinding the offer, the applicant’s suit did not prevail under FCRA because they do not have the right to dispute accurate—but negative—information found on the report.
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SUBSTANCE ABUSE TESTING

Washington D.C.
If approved and signed into law, Washington, D.C. will join an increasing number of state and local jurisdictions restricting employers from testing employees for cannabis use as a condition of employment. The bill applies to nearly all employers in D.C. and under the bill, employers cannot terminate, suspend, fail to promote, demote, refuse to hire, or otherwise penalize an employee or prospective employee based on their cannabis use, their status as a medical cannabis program patient, or the presence of cannabinoid metabolites in their system without additional factors indicating impairment. That said, employers can test and discipline employees in safety-sensitive positions for cannabis use and can test to comply with federal statute, federal regulations, or federal contracts. Employers can also require post-accident and reasonable-suspicion drug testing.
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Please keep in mind that A-Check Global is always here to help as you determine the course of your own employment drug testing.

BAN THE BOX

Federal Employees
We’ll keep an eye on this. Ban the Box regulations—the consideration of an applicant or employee’s criminal history during employment decisions—have been proposed for federal employees, perhaps serving as a model for upcoming regulations governing the consideration of applicant criminal history for federal contractors as well. The U.S. Office of Personnel Management (OPM) proposed initial regulations to implement the Fair Chance to Compete for Jobs Act of 2019 (Fair Chance Act). Initially, as mentioned, these proposed regulations, if adopted, will affect only federal employees.
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Des Moines, Iowa
Although not widely promoted, the city of Des Moines, Iowa, passed a “ban-the-box” law limiting employer inquiries into an applicant’s criminal history until after a conditional offer of employment. The Des Moines city council unanimously passed the ordinance amending municipal code to make it “illegal and discriminatory” for employers to: (1) include criminal history inquiries on an application, and (2) inquire into criminal history or conduct criminal background checks before a conditional offer of employment.
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DATA PRIVACY

Federal Privacy Law Discussion
On June 3, 2022, a bipartisan group of lawmakers published a discussion draft for the proposed American Data Privacy and Protection Act (ADPPA)—momentum in the effort toward a federal privacy law. The ADPPA is a draft bill and is yet to be introduced in the U.S. House or Senate, which means that any provision is subject to amendment. The ADPPA would apply broadly to organizations and businesses operating in the United States and defines consumer protection of “Covered data”—information that identifies or is linked or reasonably linkable to an individual or a device that identifies or is linked or reasonably linkable to one or more individuals, including derived data and unique identifiers. We’ll keep an eye on these efforts and will report progress.
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Questions? We’re here to help!

Featured

From our Family to Yours, Have a Joyous Holiday and a Happy New Year!

Thank you for the opportunity to be of service this year. We value the relationships we’ve built with our clients, and we look forward to your continued business in 2022 and beyond.

Please note our upcoming hours of operation:

Thursday, December 23: Closed at 3:00 pm (PST)
Friday, December 24: Closed in observance of Christmas
Thursday, December 30: Closed at 3:00 pm (PST)
Friday, December 31: Closed in observance of New Year’s Day

With warm regards,
Your A-Check Global Family

Featured

Happy Holidays from everyone at A-Check!

As we all work feverishly toward the last business day of 2020, we just want to take a few moments to wish you and your loved ones a wonderful holiday season. Thank you for your trust in us throughout 2020. It’s been quite a ride this year, and we owe our current and future success to your loyal and ongoing business. Likewise, it is an honor to be part of your organization’s family, and we appreciate every opportunity to help you and your business thrive.

Here’s to the opportunity and success that lies ahead of us.

You’ve probably heard already, but we’re all planning to take a little time to enjoy the holidays with our families too. Here’s a quick note of our upcoming holiday hours of operation.

Thursday, December 24: Closed at 3:00 pm (PST)
Friday, December 25: Closed in observance of Christmas
Thursday, December 31: Closed at 3:00 pm (PST)
Friday, January 1: Closed in observance of New Year’s Day

Please note: most schools, businesses, courts, government agencies, and drug collection facilities will have limited availability during the holidays. Minor delays may occur for some search results.

As always, we’re here to help. Just reach out and let us know what we can do to assist. Have a healthy, happy, and peaceful holiday season!

Welcome to A-Check Global

Worldwide Background Screening from our Riverside Headquarters

If your hiring program involves pre-employment background screening, take a moment to think about your current vendor. This isn’t about hard selling you, but we will say we proudly serve many organizations in the Inland Empire, and we’d welcome the opportunity to discuss your specific program expectations.

Your current vendor may be “fine,” but maybe there are areas you wish could be improved. We call them “Pain Points” … those frustrating service issues you’re wrestling with. At A-Check Global, we’re driven to providing fast, compliant background screening without pain points—whether you’re a global enterprise or emerging startup. It’s about making your life a little easier.

WHY CHOOSE A-CHECK?

Joining the A-Check family means benefiting from our customer service commitment each and every day, starting day one. As your background screening partner, yes we can:

  • Provide a dedicated implementation manager and dedicated, ongoing account management
  • Ensure inquiries (your phone message or email) are responded to in less than 2 hours
  • Ensure your data is secure
  • Ensure the quality of your background orders by reviewing 100% of all files
  • Provide customizable, mobile-friendly technology
  • Address your specific invoicing needs

WE SERVE YOU

We offer compliant screening programs, including background checks, drug and alcohol testing, occupational health screening, motor vehicle reports, and much more.

And here’s the best part. Since we’re in Riverside, we welcome you to schedule an appointment to meet our management team and take a tour of our headquarters. Please email insidesales@acheckglobal.com or call Danielle Schlaman at (951) 750-1348 or Ryan Schmits at (951) 750-1447. We’d love to meet you, and hopefully, become your trusted background screening partner.