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Social Media Checks: Quickly Identify Harmful Online Behavior

Why consider checking a job applicant’s social media channels?

Simply put, it can be an additional but important step in the recruiting workflow to help further protect your company brand and the safety of your workforce from toxic behavior. The actions of “One bad apple” have the potential to negatively impact not just the well-being of your employees, but also your company’s reputation. We all have horror stories of off-color conversations and inappropriate harassment from problem employees that unchecked, would have likely risked the loss of top talent.

For better or worse, it stands to reason that an applicant’s digital presence can often provide a pretty complete picture of their character. Information found throughout social media (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc.) can also help you determine whether they would be a right fit for your company. This doesn’t mean that a Social Media Check eliminates all risk. But in general, and as part of an overall recruiting effort, a Social Media Check is a valuable—and compliant—tool to help you minimize the risk of a toxic workplace.

How does a Social Media Check work?

The Configuration
Social Media Checks are designed to save hours of manually scouring an applicant’s online presence by instead utilizing a proven AI system to return accurate information in a fraction of the time. During your specific account setup, we’ll work closely with you to implement flags for specific risk behaviors that are important for your company to identify:

  • Drug and Alcohol Use
  • Explicit Sexual Content
  • Violence and Bullying
  • Racism and Hate Speech
  • Profanity

The Request
Submitting applicants for a Social Media Check is as easy as providing A-Check with name, date of birth, and additional information securely within A-Check Direct or via an A-Check integration with your existing ATS.

The Search
Within 24-72 hours, AI software builds a comprehensive online profile of your applicant, while experienced investigators verify the applicant identity and review 100% of all flagged content returned during the automated search.

The Report
Your report is available for review within your applicant’s screening file in A-Check Direct. You’ll have an opportunity to review a listing of the social sites searched and examples of negative content.

But are Social Media Checks Legal? Yes, they are.

Yes, compliant Social Media Checks are legal. That said, employers should rely on a reputable third-party partner—like A-Check—for assistance. Our Social Media Checks are performed with a focus on compliance. Simply put, we work to redact protected class information you should not see when making hiring decisions: race, gender, age, religion, disabilities, etc. You’ll have the behavior-related information you need when considering applicants, while also being removed from protected information that would be impossible to “un-see.”

Have questions about A-Check’s Social Media Check? We’d love to help and welcome your call or email.

Featured

Compliance Clips for June 2022

CONSUMER REPORTING AND EMPLOYER COMPLIANCE INFORMATION

Washington
In employer compliance news: Washington has amended its Equal Pay and Opportunities Act (EPOA) to require employers to include wage and benefit information in their job postings, effective January 1, 2023. Washington is the third jurisdiction to do so, in an effort to address what is seen as a significant pay gap. This new regulation replaces a prior requirement that employers provide employee pay information to applicants “upon request” after receiving an employment offer, and applies to employers with 15 or more employees.
READ MORE

California
Compliance counts! An important reminder that FCRA compliance includes obtaining authorization from a candidate prior to a background check, and that these appropriate disclosures are presented as standalone documents. In a case detailed here, a plaintiff filed suit in the Superior Court of San Diego County alleging the defendant willfully violated the FCRA by providing job applicants with a disclosure form that included extraneous language unrelated to the topic of consumer reports (a background check in this case). The California Court of Appeals reversed a previous decision, noting that the defendant’s prolonged use of the disclosure form could suggest recklessness because the defendant lacked ongoing monitoring and legal guidance to guarantee FCRA compliance of documents.
READ MORE

An Important Compliance Reminder
Although in this case, a Federal Appeals Court sided with the employer, it’s a good opportunity to remember that without documented background screening processes, claims of FCRA violations can become costly class action lawsuits. According to a recent decision from a federal appeals court, the applicant didn’t claim criminal information found on the background report was wrong. Instead, the claim stated that time should have been allowed to explain the conviction before the offer was withdrawn. the 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled in favor of the employer. However, as noted, while the applicant did not receive a copy of the report prior to rescindment of an employment offer, the applicant did not claim the report was inaccurate.
READ MORE

Tips for Background Check Compliance
If you aren’t performing candidate background checks, or worse yet, doing them incorrectly, you could become the defendant in a lawsuit. Here are 6 great tips employers should keep in mind:
1) Checking initially for candidate application errors that can cause potential issues
2) Using an accredited background screening company—like A-Check Global
3) Simplifying your screening process and candidate communication
4) Focusing on FCRA compliance throughout the workflow
5) Reviewing requirements for Ban the Box and other state-by-state legislation
6) And, understanding limitations for credit history and/or salary inquiries
READ MORE

I-9 AND E-VERIFY

Document Review Extension

U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) announced a thirteenth extension, this time for a six-month period—until October 31, 2022—of I-9 compliance flexibility rules relating to Form I-9. This flexibility allows ongoing exemptions for “in-person” work authorization document review for companies still offering remote work schedules. That said, there is also discussion that the government is still considering a permanent virtual option for document review. We will continue to watch this issue and report further information.
READ MORE

REMINDER: Expired List B Document Requirements
Employers who have accepted expired List B documents should now update their I-9 forms in accordance with DHS instructions that took effect May 1, 2022. The DHS announced that starting May 1, 2022, employers must only accept unexpired List B documents when completing Form I-9. What’s more, employers should audit all Form I-9s completed between May 1, 2020 and April 30, 2022 to determine if any of them need to be updated with a current (unexpired) identity document.
READ MORE

SUBSTANCE ABUSE TESTING

Nationwide Legislation
As we all know, there are a growing number of states with varying degrees of legalized marijuana. For some, medical marijuana is legal, but not recreational. For others, marijuana is fully legalized. And in some states, including New Jersey and New York, even testing for marijuana is regulated by legislation. For employers operating in multiple states, marijuana testing obligations will be different from location to location. One option with growing popularity among employers is to have a comprehensive drug testing policy stating your company does not condone marijuana use, and the company will comply with applicable laws in states/jurisdictions where it does business. That of course means substance abuse policy will differ depending on where your employees work. It’s certainly one approach to drug testing among many, but always remember A-Check is here to help answer any questions you may have.
READ MORE

New Hampshire
A last attempt to pass marijuana legalization legislation this year in New Hampshire has failed, and it looks like no further marijuana proposals are expected this year for NH. Senate Bill 299 would have allowed adults to possess and grow small amounts of cannabis, and would have also removed the current $100 penalty for possessing less than three-quarters of an ounce of marijuana.
READ MORE

To date, thirty-seven states and Washington, D.C. have laws legalizing medical marijuana, with 19 states and D.C. legalizing marijuana for recreational purposes, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.

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

Tampa, Florida

Tampa, Florida is currently developing a plan to get employers and city contractors to stop asking job applicants about their criminal history prior to a conditional offer. This Ban the Box effort would also help to promote businesses hiring people with criminal records. Tampa sees this effort—to be potentially approved at a later meeting—as a move toward increased overall employment, and the reduction of repeat criminal offenders.
READ MORE

DATA PRIVACY

Connecticut
Connecticut is poised to become the fifth state to enact comprehensive privacy legislation, with most of the new law’s provisions taking effect July 1, 2023. Connecticut legislation is modeled after the Colorado Privacy Act (CPA) and the Virginia Consumer Data Protection Act (VCDPA), using many of the same definitions and provisions to align with the laws in these jurisdictions. This includes: the right to access personal data, the right to correct personal data, the right to delete personal data provided by or obtained about the consumer, the right to port the consumer’s data to another entity and, the right to opt out of the sale of personal data, targeted advertising, and profiling.
READ MORE

Worldwide Data Privacy
Data privacy laws in place—and others coming soon—will likely impact nearly every business in some way. Especially in a globalized economy where more and more companies have a worldwide footprint of business activity. Now, more than every before, it’s important for companies to grow data privacy teams, and have informed approaches to doing business while also complying with global privacy requirements. Financial penalties for non-compliance can be very steep and vary significantly depending on legislation. Here’s a good look at current regulations, as well as penalties for non-compliance.
READ MORE

Questions? We’re here to help!

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Compliance Clips for May 2022

GENERAL CONSUMER REPORTING INFORMATION

Illinois
In compliance news: A former employee in Illinois filed a class action case over a company’s use of voice recognition technology, alleging that the practice violated the state’s Biometric Information Privacy Act. Illinois’ BIPA restricts the use of biometric information and biometric “identifiers,” including retina, fingerprint, voiceprint, hand or face geometry scans. According to this specific lawsuit, it was alleged that voiceprints, archived along with the employee name and employee number, could be hacked, putting workers at greater risk for identity theft.
READ MORE

Wisconsin
A recent Wisconsin Supreme Court decision may provide some relief to employers by allowing them to consider an applicant’s conviction for crimes of domestic violence as potentially disqualifying for a job opening. Previously, it was argued that the nature of household-related crime is inherently missing from a workplace setting. With this new decision, Wisconsin employers can now more comprehensively assess the actual workplace risk of a job candidate repeating dangerous conduct, resulting in threatened safety of employees, customers, and the public.
READ MORE

Tips for Background Check Compliance
If you aren’t performing candidate background checks, or worse yet, doing them incorrectly, you could become the defendant in a lawsuit. Here are 6 great tips employers should keep in mind:
1) Checking initially for candidate application errors that can cause potential issues
2) Using an accredited background screening company—like A-Check Global
3) Simplifying your screening process and candidate communication
4) Focusing on FCRA compliance throughout the workflow
5) Reviewing requirements for Ban the Box and other state-by-state legislation
6) And, understanding limitations for credit history and/or salary inquiries
READ MORE

New York City
Effective May 15, 2022, the New York City Human Rights Law (NYCHRL) will require employers with four or more employees that advertise jobs in New York City to include a good faith salary range for every opportunity advertised. Any advertisement for a job, promotion, or transfer opportunity that can be performed in New York City, whether from the employer’s office or remotely, including from the employee’s home, is covered. Employers must now disclose an expected minimum and maximum salary that they believe at the time of the posting, they are willing to pay for the job, promotion, or transfer opportunity.
READ MORE

I-9 AND E-VERIFY

REMINDER: List B Document Requirements Beginning May 1, 2022
We mentioned this last month, but it’s worth a quick reminder. Those employers who have accepted expired List B documents should now update their I-9 forms in accordance with DHS instructions that took effect May 1, 2022. The DHS announced that starting May 1, 2022, employers must only accept unexpired List B documents when completing Form I-9. What’s more, employers should audit all Form I-9s completed between May 1, 2020 and April 30, 2022 to determine if any of them need to be updated with a current (unexpired) identity document.
READ MORE

SUBSTANCE ABUSE TESTING

Nationwide Legislation
In cannabis news we’re keeping an eye on, the House recently passed legislation—with a vote of 220-204—that would legalize marijuana nationwide, while also removing criminal penalties for anyone who manufactures, distributes or possesses the substance. In addition to decriminalizing marijuana at the federal level, the bill would 1) implement a process for expunging previous convictions, and 2) impose a tax, beginning at 5%, on the sale of cannabis products nationwide. The likelihood of passing such a bill in the Senate appears to be low at the moment, but work is being done to overcome hurdles.

To date, thirty-seven states and Washington, D.C. have laws legalizing medical marijuana, with 18 states and D.C. legalizing marijuana for recreational purposes, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.
READ MORE

2022 State-by-State Legislation
More than a half-dozen states are poised to enact legislation in 2022 to potentially legalize medical or recreational marijuana. Much of this activity is happening along the East Coast—here’s a quick look at 2022 efforts.
READ MORE

California
A bill introduced in the California Assembly proposes to prohibit discrimination against employees who use cannabis off the job, but would not permit employees to be impaired by, or to use cannabis on the job. This legislation would not permit an employee “to be impaired by, or to use cannabis on the job” or affect “the rights or obligations of an employer to maintain a drug and alcohol-free workplace, as specified in Section 11362.45 of the Health and Safety Code.”
READ MORE

Please keep in mind that A-Check Global is always here to help as you determine the course of your own employment drug testing.

DATA PRIVACY

Virginia
Virginia Governor Glenn Youngkin signed three Virginia Consumer Data Protection Act (VCDPA) amendment bills into law. The VCDPA’s text is now finalized in advance of its January 1, 2023 effective date. These bills, as further detailed in the following link, 1) add a new exemption to the VCDPA’s right to delete, 2) repeal the Consumer Privacy Fund provision and, instead, direct penalties, expenses and attorney fees recovered enforcing the VCDPA to a different fund; and 3) modify the VCDPA’s definition of nonprofit.
READ MORE

 Questions? We’re here to help!

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IMPORTANT UPDATE: Encouraging Progress in Michigan PII Access

A-Check Global remains focused on efforts being made to once again grant access to previously redacted identifier information within Michigan court records. The Professional Background Screening Association (PBSA)—a non-profit organization established to represent Consumer Reporting Agencies offering employment background screening services—continues to advocate for our industry, and has recently shared positive developments with its membership on this issue.

As a previously negotiated amendment to Michigan Court Rule 1.109, the Michigan State Court registration site went into effect on April 1, 2022. With this important action, court researches and additional, “authorized individuals” were provided opportunity to register with the Michigan State Court Administrative Office (SCAO) for continued access to PII within the Michigan court system.

PBSA has remained extremely active in monitoring this new access authority since April 1, and thankfully, the Michigan SCAO has been receptive to feedback about any workflow issues reported to PBSA. To date, there have been some ongoing instances of process delays. Some courts have restricted access, or limit the total number of verifications a researcher can perform per day.

On April 19, the Michigan SCAO released an FAQ document to provide further information on personal identifying information in court filings, including:

  • Authorized Individuals should be able to obtain court records by fax or email, and not be required to do so in person at Michigan courts.
  • Authorized individuals can use a redacted version of their own driver’s license as official identification.
  • Michigan courts cannot charge for a record check. Except where prohibited by law, they can however, charge a reproduction fee or copy fee.

It is noted by PBSA’s member advisory that local Michigan courts may continue to introduce process policies that could negatively impact turnaround time for court research. We at A-Check will continue to closely monitor this issue and keep our valued clients informed with any further progress.

We’re here to help answer any questions you may have, and we are honored to serve you.

Featured

Compliance Clips for April 2022

GENERAL CONSUMER REPORTING INFORMATION

Class Action Litigation
Class action suits over alleged, unlawful use of consumer reports are ongoing, and increasing. Let’s work together to focus on your employment program compliance. Unfortunately, FDCPA, FCRA, and TCPA lawsuit filings are higher in January 2022 than January 2021. What’s more, of the approximately 1,053 lawsuits litigants have filed this year, 524 seek a judgement based on FCRA guidelines—representing a nearly 14% increase compared to the same time period one year ago. A sign of things to come, and certainly a reminder to see that your employment recruiting program is compliant. Got questions about background screening? We invite you to ask A-Check! We’re here to help.
READ MORE

New York’s Fair Chance Act
New employment laws impacting New York employers, including a Fair Chance Act amendment now requiring that criminal conviction history inquiries happen after a conditional offer of employment. That is, after all non-criminal background checks have been completed, and a conditional offer of employment has been extended, a company can conduct a criminal record review regarding the candidate. With any criminal history information reported during this process, the company cannot then withdraw an employment offer unless it is determined that 1) there’s a direct relationship between the candidate’s conviction history or pending charges on the job position, or 2) the company can show that hiring this candidate would introduce unreasonable risk to the safety or welfare of the workforce or general public.
READ MORE

Wisconsin
A Wisconsin Supreme Court ruling will ease the burden on Wisconsin employers during the employment process, while assessing whether an employee’s or applicant’s crimes are substantially related to a job. The Wisconsin Fair Employment Act (WFEA) prohibits employers from discriminating against applicants and employees on the basis of their arrest and conviction records. In this ruling, while Wisconsin employers must still engage in assessment of an applicant’s or employee’s pending charges or convictions, they no longer need to consider treating domestic violence any differently than other types of charges or convictions.
READ MORE

I-9 AND E-VERIFY

List B Document Update
The DHS announced that because document-issuing authorities have reopened and/or have provided alternatives to in-person renewals, starting May 1, 2022, employers must only accept unexpired List B documents when completing Form I-9. What’s more, employers should audit all Form I-9s completed between May 1, 2020 and April 30, 2022 to determine if any of them need to be updated with a current (unexpired) identity document.
READ MORE

Form I-9 Document Inspection
ICE has extended its temporary policy allowing employers to inspect Form I-9 documents virtually through April 30, 2022. ICE is also planning a proposed regulation to be published by summer 2022 to set forth guidance for a permanent remote document inspection. This is welcome news as many trend toward permanent hybrid work solutions, and is encouraging that the government is closely following workplace trends and is willing to take a look at updating the Form I-9 process. We will keep a close eye on this developing story.
READ MORE

SUBSTANCE ABUSE TESTING

Nationwide Legislation
With increasing public and legislative support for marijuana acceptance, 2022 could easily be another busy year for legalization. In fact, more than a half-dozen states are poised to enact legislation in this year to potentially legalize medical or recreational marijuana: Rhode Island, South Carolina, Delaware, North Carolina, Kansas, Minnesota, New Hampshire, and Pennsylvania.

Please keep in mind that A-Check Global is always here to help as you determine the course of your own employment drug testing.
READ MORE

DATA PRIVACY

Utah
Utah legislature recently passed the Utah Consumer Privacy Act (UCPA). UCPA is a comprehensive privacy bill that shares similarities to the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA). If the Governor signs the bill into law, Utah will become the fourth state to pass consumer privacy legislation. This means that businesses with connections to Utah who qualify as an entity covered by the UCPA should prepare to be compliant with the law preferably before but no later than the legislation’s December 31, 2023 effective date.
READ MORE

Questions? We’re here to help!