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Compliance Clips for January 2023

CONSUMER REPORTING AND EMPLOYER COMPLIANCE INFORMATION

New York City Pay Transparency
Hey NYC, you’re on the way! Within weeks of the city’s pay transparency law going into effect, a recent report found that 60% of job listings in New York City now included employer-provided salaries. This is a big step toward closing pay gaps and disparity between job applicants. Now, with January 1, 2023 behind us, California- and Washington-based companies with 15 or more employees must disclose salary ranges for their open positions, and Washington employers are also now required to provide details on benefits or additional compensation.
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Diversity and Inclusion
Here’s a very interesting read about proactive leaders who are choosing Diversity Audits to uncover hidden biases that may be limiting their ability to hire and retain top talent. This isn’t necessarily a compliance requirement, but an intriguing reminder that your job candidates can construct an impression of what your company might be like to work at before even interviewing or visiting your office. There are hundreds of online data points that paint a picture, from a Google search, company reviews, and even language used on your career page. As the hiring landscape quickly changes, many companies are holding up mirrors to get a better look at how they present themselves.
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I-9 INFORMATION

Document Review Flexibility
We know we sound like a broken record, but yes, another extension has been implemented for document review flexibility. The U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) have extended until July 31, 2023, the in-person Form I-9 compliance flexibility. This flexibility allows employers whose workforce is working remotely to defer the physical presence requirements associated with the Employment Eligibility Verification (Form I-9) and section 274A of the Immigration and Nationality Act. While DHS may be considering more permanent changes to the remoted examination of documents, for now, this flexibility is still described as temporary.
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I-9 and E-Verify Updates
Here are five I-9 and E-Verify updates from 2022 that employers should know about as we move further into the new year. For 2023, compliance changes may potentially include a streamlined one-page Form I-9, new remote document review rules, and likely increased ICE I-9 audits. Employers: the takeaway here is to conduct regular internal audits of your I-9s as soon as possible with the help of immigration counsel. Additionally, plan to conduct I-9 training for employees who help ensure I-9s are filled out correctly.
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SUBSTANCE ABUSE TESTING

Nationwide
To test or not to test? Marijuana legalization efforts may lead employers to question whether or not they’re required to test for marijuana. Here at A-Check Global, we’re here to help you determine what type of drug testing policy may be best for your business goals. While federal contractors and businesses that employ certain regulated professionals in safety-sensitive positions are required to test workers for marijuana, other sectors must navigate a maze of jurisdiction regulations. That said, legalization legislation generally permits employers to maintain policies prohibiting substance use and impairment while on the job. Proving an employee is “under the influence” is quickly becoming a key element of most drug testing policies and has resulted in increasing workplace policies designed to protect employees and companies when there is reasonable suspicion an employee is under the influence while working.
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Nationwide
As blanket pardons for low-level marijuana offenses gain momentum, be sure to review your policies on criminal record reporting, especially records that have been sealed, expunged, or pardoned. On October 6, 2022, President Biden issued a blanket pardon to all citizens and lawful permanent residents convicted of simple possession of marijuana under the federal Controlled Substances Act. President Biden has urged governors to follow suit, and some states have begun to explore the idea of pardoning non-violent marijuana crimes. Many states and cities already have significant Ban the Box laws in place to protect job applicants, and many states limit an employer’s ability to make decisions or even inquire about offenses that have been sealed, expunged, or pardoned, even if they appear on a third-party background check. At A-Check Global, we’re here to help, but also recommend that you consult with counsel to determine whether existing background screening policies need to be updated or modified.
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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

Connecticut
On January 1, 2023, a new Connecticut law went into effect—The Clean Slate Law—further prohibiting employers from discriminating against individuals based on an individual’s erased criminal history information. In addition to being barred from discriminating with respect to erased criminal records, the law expressly prohibits employers from discriminating against individuals in compensation or in the terms, conditions, or privileges of employment based on an individual’s erased criminal history information.
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CONSUMER PRIVACY AND DATA PROTECTION

Nationwide
Twenty-eight states introduced a total of 54 Consumer Data Privacy bills in 2022. This quick look shows what’s now in place and what privacy legislation is coming in 2023. Much of this upcoming legislation includes important consumer data protection including the right to access, correct, delete, and export covered data, and to opt out of certain transfers of covered data. And it stands to reason that with the prospect of a federal consumer data privacy law lagging, 2023 may show effort in this area by state legislatures and state and federal regulators. Again, we recommend that you speak with counsel to help ensure your company is in compliance with data security guidelines currently in place.
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Questions? We’re here to help!

Featured

Here to Help: A-Check Global is a Leading Provider of Workplace Safety, Drug, and Alcohol Screening Services

First things first, and from our family to yours: Wishing you a healthy, happy, and prosperous New Year. Here’s to 2023!

That said, it’s an honor to serve our clients, and we look forward to being your trusted business partner for years to come. If you’ve got questions about your background screening program, we’re here to help—and to also let you know that A-Check is much more than just background screening. We also proudly support our clients with domestic and international drug testing, occupational health screening, on-site immunization services, and much more.

Protect Your Company and Your Employees

When it comes to the safety, productivity, and wellness of your workforce, drug screening and workplace medical services play an important role in helping you maintain a healthy organization. A-Check Global provides everything you need to get a comprehensive program up and running.

How Drug and Alcohol Abuse Impacts Your Company

It’s no secret that drug and alcohol abuse costs countless dollars each year in unexcused absences, higher turnover rates, even increased workers’ compensation claims. The National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence (NCADD) reports employees with alcohol problems were 2.7 times more likely to have injury-related absences. Additionally, 70% of estimated 15 million American drug users are employed.

The workplace can be an effective channel to promote programs and policies focused on improving health and wellbeing as well as protecting your workplace, your employees, and your brand culture. If you haven’t talked to us about these services before, we’re here to answer any questions about your program’s convenience, compliance, and affordability.

Our Comprehensive Suite of Services

Whether you’re looking to expand your background screening program—or perhaps looking for on-site medical services as you bring employees back to the office in 2023—we’re just a phone call away and welcome the opportunity to assist.

Drug and Alcohol Screening

  • Nationwide Network of Collection Service Centers
  • MRO Services
  • Automation and Self-Service Convenience to Reduce Turnaround Time
  • Dedicated A-Check Support Team 24/5

On-Site Services

  • Random Program Management
  • Immunization/Vaccination
  • COVID Testing
  • Instant Drug Screening and Post Incident

Occupational Health

  • DOT/NDOT Physicals
  • TB Testing
  • Audiograms
  • Pulmonary Function Testing

Meeting Your Unique Needs

  • DOT Regulated and Safety Sensitive
  • Serving Marine, Aviation, Government, Healthcare, Manufacturing, Hospitality, and more

As a response to our nation’s ongoing alcohol and substance abuse challenges, we’re here to help ensure your workplace and workforce remains safe and productive. Please don’t hesitate to reach out.

We’re here for you!

Featured

Compliance Clips for November 2022

CONSUMER REPORTING AND EMPLOYER COMPLIANCE INFORMATION

California
Effective January 1, 2023, new legislation will require California companies with 15 or more employees to post salaries for job listings. It is reported that this new law will help reduce the wage gap and systemic inequities by requiring the disclosure of salary ranges for all job postings. This new law will impose penalties on employers failing to report pay scales to the state.

Pay transparency, although an added responsibility for HR professionals and organizations to manage, is gaining momentum. California will join legislation already effective in New York City, Colorado, Connecticut, Maryland, Nevada, Rhode Island, and Washington.
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Nationwide
In related salary news, 21 states (and growing) have restricted an employer’s ability to inquire about an applicant’s salary history, along with 21 other localities. However, laws do vary in their degree of restriction. For example, some only restrict employers from asking about an applicant’s salary history, while others apply to both applicants and existing employees. Additionally, some laws allow employers to discuss salary expectations, while others prohibit employers from searching online for salary histories. As you might expect, we suggest that as legislation on the subject evolves, employers will want to consult with legal counsel for guidance in hiring policy and compliance on state and local law.
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I-9

Document Review Flexibility
And yes, yet another extension to share with you. The U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) have announced another extension—until July 31, 2023—for in-person Form I-9 compliance flexibility. As mentioned before, this flexibility allows employers whose workforce is working remotely to defer the physical presence requirements associated with the Employment Eligibility Verification (Form I-9) and section 274A of the Immigration and Nationality Act. While DHS may be considering more permanent changes to the remoted examination of documents, for now, this flexibility is still described as temporary.
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SUBSTANCE ABUSE TESTING

Nationwide
Voters approved recreational marijuana in Maryland and Missouri, bringing the total to 21 states with recreational marijuana use approval. Arkansas and North Dakota voters rejected legalization proposals in Tuesday’s election. This voter approval signals growing support for legalization, even in conservative potions of the country.
READ MORE

California
California Assembly Bill (AB) 2188 (which will take effect on January 1, 2024) makes discrimination against off the job cannabis use unlawful, but does not preempt drug testing for preemployment. The bill makes it unlawful for an employer to discriminate against a person in hiring, termination, or any term or condition of employment based upon: (1) a person’s use of cannabis off the job and away from the workplace, except for preemployment drug screenings, or (2) an employer-required drug screening test that has found the person to have non-psychoactive cannabis metabolites upon testing. Employers: please note that the bill does not permit an employee to possess, be impaired, or use cannabis on the job, nor does it affect the rights or obligations of an employer to maintain a drug- and alcohol-free workplace.
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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.

CONSUMER PRIVACY AND DATA PROTECTION

California
Coming soon: California’s Privacy Rights Act (CPRA) goes into effect on January 1, 2023. While existing law already stands in California—the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA)—many new amendments will help bring privacy standards in CA more in alignment with regulations many companies are already familiar with from GDPR.

This quick guide will help companies prepare for CPRA compliance next year. This guide covers important changes such as rights granted to data subjects (consumers), including expanded rights for data deletion extended to third-parties, the opportunity for subjects to correct inaccuracies, the opportunity to object to sharing data for advertising purposes, objection against data processors using AI for decision-making purposes, and more.
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Questions? We’re here to help!

Featured

Compliance Clips for October 2022

CONSUMER REPORTING AND EMPLOYER COMPLIANCE INFORMATION

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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Update: California DOB Redaction within Court Records
We want to inform you that on September 29, Governor Gavin Newsom chose to veto SB 1262. For employers and the background screening industry, this is very disappointing news as his signature would have meant that previously redacted court case information would be restored beginning January 2023.

PBSA and its allies—including A-Check Global—will continue to work closely together to determine options at this stage. Of course, we will continue to provide our valued clients with updates in the near future. And as always, we thank you for your business.
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Iowa
Let’s work together to minimize your risk from a bad hire! In recent news, an Iowa hospital has been cited by the state for hiring a nurse—without a comprehensive background screen—who was then fired for suspected opioid theft. State inspectors reviewed the hiring process used last fall to employ the nurse and found that the hospital had failed to conduct a complete background check on the individual, including criminal conviction and the state’s Sex Offender Registry. Remember, we’re here to help answer your background screening and compliance question. We’d love to hear from you.
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California
Effective January 1, 2023, new legislation will require California companies with 15 or more employees to post salaries for job listings. It is reported that this new law will help reduce the wage gap and systemic inequities by requiring the disclosure of salary ranges for all job postings. This new law will impose penalties on employers failing to report pay scales to the state.
READ MORE

I-9 COMPLIANCE

Document Review Flexibility
Due to the continued momentum of adopting hybrid workforces as well as evolving technology connecting organizations to their remote workers, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) recently proposed a rule allowing more permanent, alternative procedures when reviewing Employment Eligibility Verification documents required by Form I-9. These revised procedures could be implemented as part of a short-term pilot program or further implemented upon determination that these procedures remain secure and effective as a measure in response to ongoing health and safety efforts regarding COVID. The DHS is accepting comments on this proposed rule before October 17, 2022.
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When Presented with a Restricted Social Security Card
When it comes to Section 2 of Form I-9, a Restricted Social Security card is not an acceptable List C document. This quick video offers helpful guidance on what to do in this situation.
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SUBSTANCE ABUSE TESTING

Nevada
A recent Nevada Supreme Court ruling upheld a decision that state legislation protecting off-duty marijuana use did not include the phrase “under state law,” and therefore falls under the jurisdiction of federal law where use is still illegal. This ruling upheld the dismissal of a lawsuit by an employee who was terminated after testing positive for marijuana on a post-accident drug test. The employee’s claim that his use of marijuana outside of work hours was “lawful use” under state law was rejected, and the court explained that if the legislature intended to protect off-duty use of marijuana, it could have included the phrase “under state law” in the statute, which it doesn’t. Employers, please keep in mind that Nevada’s recreational marijuana law permits employers to adopt and enforce workplace policies prohibiting or restricting the use of marijuana.
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California
California Assembly Bill (AB) 2188 (which will take effect on January 1, 2024) makes discrimination against off the job cannabis use unlawful, but does not preempt drug testing for preemployment. The bill makes it unlawful for an employer to discriminate against a person in hiring, termination, or any term or condition of employment based upon: (1) a person’s use of cannabis off the job and away from the workplace, except for preemployment drug screenings, or (2) an employer-required drug screening test that has found the person to have non-psychoactive cannabis metabolites upon testing. Employers: please note that the bill does not permit an employee to possess, be impaired, or use cannabis on the job, nor does it affect the rights or obligations of an employer to maintain a drug- and alcohol-free workplace.
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New Jersey
The New Jersey Cannabis Regulatory Commission has issued “workplace impairment” guidance for employers who conduct marijuana testing—providing best procedures to help support drug testing practices. the Commission details that employers are required to “establish evidence-based protocols for documenting observed behavior and physical signs of impairment to develop reasonable suspicion, and then to utilize a drug test to verify whether or not an individual has used an impairing substance in recent history.”
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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.
READ MORE

Questions? We’re here to help!

Featured

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.
READ MORE

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.
READ MORE

Questions? We’re here to help!