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Compliance Clips for May 2020

CONSUMER REPORTING

9th Circuit Case Addresses FCRA, Background Screening, and Rules on “Standalone” Disclosure
As class action lawsuits continue to gain momentum, employers should continue to be very aware of compliance surrounding Disclosure and Authorization forms related to background screening. With that said, on April 24, 2020, the 9th Circuit upheld the dismissal of a case arguing that an employer violates the FCRA (a) by providing an FCRA disclosure simultaneously with other employment materials, and (b) by failing to place a FCRA authorization on a standalone document. In this latest decision, the court held that the employer’s disclosure document satisfied the “standalone” requirement because that single-page document included nothing beyond disclosing an intent to obtain a background report, the employer’s logo, and a signature block. Moving forward, please consult with your legal resources to determine compliance of your Disclosure and Authorization forms.
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Compliance with Form I-9 and E-Verify Requirements in Light of COVID-19
While we shared this information previously, it bears repeating in light of ongoing COVID-19 efforts. The in-person requirement for the Form I-9 is temporarily suspended if your company is closed or taking other precautions due to COVID-19. The general rule is that an employer must undertake a physical inspection of the document(s) presented by the employee for section 2 purposes. However, the government is suspending the in-person and physical inspection of the document(s) presented by the employee when completing the Form I-9. During this time, an employer can view the document(s) presented by the employee via Zoom or Skype, for example.
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SUBSTANCE ABUSE TESTING

Florida Medical Marijuana Users may Soon Become Protected Class
Both chambers of the Florida Legislature are currently considering proposed bills aimed at extending certain protections to Florida employees who are legal medical marijuana users — H.B. 595 and S.B. 962, which are collectively entitled the Medical Marijuana Employee Protection Act. Both bills, if passed, would extend to both private- and public-sector employees (with the exception of safety sensitive positions) and employment applicants in Florida. If passed, one of the new rights these bills would provide to employees is the right to sue an employer if the employer takes an adverse employment action due to an employee’s status as a legal medical marijuana user.
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Utah State Legislature Clarifies: Private Employers Not Required to Accommodate Use of Medical Cannabis
The Utah State Legislature enacted Senate Bill 121, which amends and clarifies various provisions of Utah’s medical cannabis laws, including a pronouncement that private employers are not required to accommodate the use of medical cannabis. The key takeaway: private employers in Utah now definitively know that they are under no legal obligation to accommodate employee use of medical cannabis, either at the workplace or away from work. Employers that do not intend to accommodate the use of medical marijuana are advised to clearly communicate their policies so employees are aware that the use of marijuana, medical or otherwise, violates company policy.
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New Jersey: Failed Drug Test not Enough to Dismiss Claim of Disability Discrimination
In a recent employee-friendly trend, various courts have found that employers discriminate against certified medical marijuana users when adverse employment actions are taken against them solely because of failed drug tests. This certainly means employers should consider assessing their current policies and procedures.
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AS A REMINDER: At A-Check, we’re happy to help implement a drug screening program that meets your evolving needs—or make adjustments to the program you’re already running with us. Just give us a call at 877-345-2021 and ask to speak with someone on your Client Relations team.

BAN THE BOX

Lawsuit against Waterloo’s ‘Ban the Box’ is dismissed
The City of Waterloo, Iowa announced that the lawsuit filed against the Fair Chance Initiative (Ban the Box) has been dismissed. Under the city ordinance, scheduled to take effect on July 1, 2020, employers will no longer be allowed to have a criminal history box on applications, and cannot ask about criminal history during the hiring process. However, employers can still do background checks on applicants.
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SALARY HISTORY

States and localities that have outlawed pay history questions
State and local governments are increasingly adopting laws and regulations that prohibit employers from requesting salary history information from job applicants. In fact, there currently are 18 state-wide salary bans in place, and another 21 cities/jurisdictions who have salary history ban legislation. As a reminder, we’re reposting a great site that lists them all, including recent additions and upcoming bans:
Colorado: January 1, 2021
St. Louis, Missouri: March, 2020
Cincinnati, Ohio: March, 2020 (estimated)
Toledo, Ohio: June, 2020
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Questions? We’re here to help!

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The New Normal: Hiring and Onboarding Employees Remotely During COVID-19

For organizations worldwide, the response to the COVID-19 pandemic has been a swift shift to a new normal. In part, that likely means keeping business as usual by transitioning to hiring and onboarding employees remotely. The fundamentals of hiring remain the same, and the goal is always to make great hires. That said, there’s never been a better time to take a look at your procedures and ensure you’re discovering good people, making them feel like they’re a part of your company’s big picture, and giving them the tools to succeed—regardless of whether they ultimately work inside or outside of your office.

Be creative in discovering your next great candidate

As a result of COVID-19, there are a LOT of candidates looking for their next opportunity to contribute. Your job is to find an efficient way to sort through a growing stack of applications and find the ones you’ll likely interview.

First step? Consider finding a free moment to take a look at your application. Are you simply asking “yes/no” questions, or are you also asking deeper, open-ended questions—questions that allow your potential candidates to really paint a complete picture of who they are, where they’ve been, and most importantly, what they’re capable of achieving at your company? Perhaps go one step further and ask what interests them about your company, the open position, and more specifically, what they might accomplish once hired. Additional information can help considerably as you decide who to move forward in your process.

Be transparent during trying times

Once it’s time to reach out for introductions, remember that these are strange days. Chances are really good that you’re speaking with candidates who are feeling uncertain about their professional future. You may speak to a recent graduate who is unsure how to land a first opportunity during COVID-19, or you may be connecting with candidates who have lost long-standing jobs.

Now is the time to be transparent. Be very honest and open with your candidates about your company’s efforts to protect both the business and the safety of the employees. Share with them the realistic timeline for remotely hiring and onboarding new employees. Clear and authentic communication can put candidates at ease during this time, and even give them greater confidence in your company.

Take advantage of tech

It’s no secret that the video format is taking over. From virtual proms, to family gatherings and holidays, we are growing more comfortable communicating “on-screen.” As you move forward with interviews, video chat apps are a good alternative to conducting phone interviews. Honestly, it’s not as easy to pick up on non-verbal cues when you’re not sitting in front of a candidate. But through video, you can get a general sense for how they present themselves, and how they show enthusiasm for you, your company, and the potential role.

Collaborate with IT for success

If you aren’t best friends with your IT team, there’s never been a better time to introduce yourself. Hiring remotely can present a long list of challenges . . . many of them technical. There’s nothing more off-putting than stalling an interview or training session because your microphone isn’t working.

Work closely with your IT team to evaluate the tools and resources you have in place, and where you can quickly and effectively improve things to benefit your candidate’s experience. And remember, the onboarding experience is more than the video interview. Be sure to collaborate with IT to ensure that your training program and other onboarding tasks can also successfully be administered remotely.

Get your candidate’s team involved

Whether your candidate will work remotely or in your offices, it’s important to immediately provide a sense of teamwork. Even when hiring remotely, there are opportunities to find candidates who will thrive when contributing to a team atmosphere.

Whenever possible, include your candidate’s future teammates in the interview process. With the success of video chat software, this is now more possible than ever before. It’s not much of an issue to set up conversations between people in multiple locations and across different time zones. No need to get everyone traveling to numerous office interviews. Even better, it allows candidates to quickly meet and get to know team members they will be working with before accepting an offer.

Introduce them to the big picture and make sure they’re interested

It probably goes without saying, but we’ll say it anyway. Since your candidates are getting introduced to you and your company without visiting your offices, it’s important to spend a little time with the big picture. Open a dialogue to find out just how truly interested in your company the candidate is, and if they seem driven to contribute to what your company is accomplishing. Let them know what success looks like for your open position, and what will be asked of them to achieve that success. With smart questions, you’ll be well on your way to finding the right person for the job.

Show flexibility when onboarding

As you’re making great hires during COVID-19, you’re probably noticing that the onboarding process requires a little flexibility. The first days and weeks are critical as you introduce your employees to their teams, company culture, product information, benefits, etc. During this time, video conferencing can play an immense role in the process. Now is also a good time to take a look at the effectiveness of welcome packages and other introductory communication you present.

During this time, you may not have opportunity to meet face to face with your new employees, so it’s critical that you go the extra mile to make sure your they feel as connected to their new company as possible.

Hurricane Dorian: Potential Background Screening Service Delays

09/04/2019 UPDATE: Schools, businesses, and courts within the coastal counties of Georgia and South Carolina are closing at this time ahead of Hurricane Dorian. Minor delays are anticipated. Further updates will be provided as more information becomes available.

09/03/2019: Just a quick note as we continue to monitor the path of Hurricane Dorian. At this time, the hurricane is expected to impact many southern and coastal areas, and we are anticipating delays throughout Florida and the following Georgia counties:

Brantley GA, Bryan GA, Camden GA, Charlton GA, Chatham GA, Effingham GA, Glynn GA, Liberty GA, Long GA, McIntosh GA, Pierce GA, and Wayne GA.

Further updates will be noted here as we begin to see the full impact.

 

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Three Recruitment Strategies to Connect with Applicants

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Connecting with—and hiring—top talent seems to get more challenging every day. As you’re looking for your next great hire, keep these recruiting strategies in mind.

Strategy 1: Mobile Friendly is a Must

It’s been estimated that by 2025, 72% will use only their mobile phone for internet access—making it imperative to do all you can to reach out through mobile channels: a mobile-responsive career-page, text messaging services, or an app allowing candidates to seamlessly apply for open positions via smartphone.

Strategy 2: Rebounds are for Basketball AND Former Employees

Rehiring former employees is now much more acceptable than it was in the past (perhaps an effect of the gig economy). Former employees can offer solid value from the offset since they are more affordable to onboard and train than new employees. They’re also easier to reach and establish contact with than strangers who might respond to your job ads. Plus, if your employee left on good terms for another opportunity, their return could boost company morale and loyalty. Take a good look at those exit interviews to find former employees who would potentially welcome a new offer.

Strategy 3: Keep an Eye on College Grads

While hiring new college graduates isn’t exactly an innovation, it’s still a solid employment strategy. The sheer volume of the talent pool available makes campus recruitment a must-have component in your hiring arsenal. Live where grads live—social media. Establishing Twitter feeds, blogs, Facebook and LinkedIn pages with current job openings and clear, concise job descriptions should be a core part of any good employment recruiting program. Promote job openings on Facebook. Send Twitter feeds to highlight entry–level jobs. These are sure-fire ways to promote your organization to a large pool of recent college graduates.

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Improving the Candidate Experience

We’ve all been there as job seekers. On the hunt for your first, or next, “dream” job, and hoping for a positive interviewing experience. If you’re on the other side of the table as an employer, it is mission critical to understand the experience you present makes all the difference to your next great hire.

This candidate experience—a term used to describe how candidates feel about your company as they progress through your hiring process—can be positive or negative, depending on how they perceive your company’s treatment of candidates. A bad experience can lead them to lose respect for your company. For example, a bad experience at a restaurant might prompt you to avoid a return visit and perhaps even warn others with tales of your experience. The same thing happens when a candidate has a negative experience with your company. A positive experience however, can encourage candidates to become enthusiastic ambassadors for your brand—even if they don’t ultimately land the job.

Your company’s ability to successfully attract and recruit top talent depends on how well you manage the hiring process. The process is certainly complicated, but try not to lose sight of opportunities to delight your candidates in these areas:

  • The Application: Is you application intuitive? Mobile friendly? Simple and straightforward? Is your application simply an algorithm for keywords, or are you building a process that allows for a candidate’s personality to shine through? Perhaps take a few minutes and apply for a position in your company to see how long the process takes, if all directions make sense, if the look and feel of the application is fresh and current, and if you are able to submit with an initial sense of what your company is all about.
  • Interviewing: Many companies have an involved interview process, with initial and second or third interviews. Take a look at your process. Are your candidates meeting with team panels? One-on-one interviews? Are they waiting to be seen, or is your process a well-oiled tour for candidates so they spend more time with your teams and less time in your lobby. For candidates, the most important thing to do is follow up after the interview to reiterate interest in the position. Likewise, communication along the way is an important step for employers looking to make the most of the candidate experience.
  • Assessment: If you’re assigning standardized tests to assess your candidate’s personality type, talent for the job, cognition, and/or emotional intelligence, are you doing so with full explanation and guidance? Once again, take the tests yourself to see what the process is like. Are these tests available online and are they mobile friendly?
  • Pre-Employment Screening: These days, it’s widely accepted that there will be some manner of background check prior to employment. Have you partnered with a background screening vendor—like A-Check Global—that helps make the process easy, intuitive, and a positive reflection of your company’s commitment to quality hiring?
  • Hiring: We like to refer to it as “Speed to Seat”—the length of time it typically takes for you to fill a position. It can vary of course based on the position, but are you doing all you can to setup interviews, present job offers, and welcome new employees efficiently to your team?

Providing meaningful touch points for every candidate doesn’t have to be difficult and in many cases, just a few adjustments can radically improve the candidate experience. It never hurts to review your hiring process. And if you know where the biggest pain points lie, making improvements in those areas can really make your candidates feel like they made the right decision to apply.