Featured

Compliance Clip March 2020

CREDIT CHECKS

House Passes Bill Restricting Employer Credit Checks

The House of Representatives passed the Comprehensive CREDIT Act of 2020, which would change federal laws pertaining to consumer reporting agencies and credit checks in a number of ways. Significantly for employers, the Act includes an amendment to the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA), which would restrict the use of credit information for most employment decisions. PLEASE NOTE: The Act now heads to the Senate where it is unlikely to pass in its current form . . . we’ll monitor and keep you updated.
READ MORE

SUBSTANCE ABUSE TESTING

NEW YORK City Employers Must Say Bye-Bye to Pre-Employment Marijuana Testing
A common onboarding practice is about to become illegal in New York City. Effective May 10, 2020, most New York City employers will be prohibited from requiring job applicants to undergo testing for marijuana. The new law makes mandatory marijuana testing of prospective employees equivalent to an unlawful discriminatory practice, such as denying a job applicant employment because of his or her race, gender, or any other protected characteristic.
READ MORE

Department of Transportation Cautions Employers About CBD Use by Regulated Workers
If a CBD product has a concentration of more than 0.3% of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), an amount generally viewed to be sufficient to produce a psychoactive effect, then it is an unlawful Schedule I controlled substance under federal law. Problems arise when employees test positive for THC but then claim to be using a “THC-free” or “pure CBD” product.
READ MORE

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 LAW

NEW ENGLAND Ban the Box Trend: Navigating Criminal History Checks in the Hiring Process
Many states and localities have been adopting Ban the Box, prohibiting employers (including private employers) from asking applicants to disclose information concerning their criminal histories prior to an initial interview or a conditional offer of employment. Currently, all New England states except Maine and New Hampshire have a Ban the Box law that is applicable to private employers.  Bills that would have applied Ban the Box to private employers in both Maine and New Hampshire died in last year’s legislative sessions, but there is a good chance that similar legislation will resurface.
READ MORE

DATA PRIVACY

WISCONSIN Proposes “Groundbreaking” Data Privacy Law Modeled After GDPR
A trio of consumer data privacy bills modeled after Europe’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) has been introduced in the Wisconsin State Assembly. The three bills, collectively dubbed the Wisconsin Data Privacy Act (WDPA), were sponsored by Republican State Representative Shannon Zimmerman, who is seeking to make Wisconsin “the most consumer-friendly state in our nation on data privacy.” If enacted, the WDPA would take effect July 31, 2022.
READ MORE

State Consumer Privacy Law Round-Up
As the likelihood of the federal government passing a timely, workable national consumer privacy law before the November election decreases, states from coast to coast have been busy. According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, over 150 new consumer privacy bills were introduced in 25 states and Puerto Rico in 2019. This link is a comprehensive summary of privacy bills introduced thus far in 2020:
READ MORE

SALARY HISTORY

Ninth Circuit Reaffirms Only Job-Related Factors Will Excuse Pay Disparity Under Federal EPA, Prior Salary Not Job-Related
On February 27, 2020, the Ninth Circuit issued a long-anticipated decision.  The appellate court affirmed its prior holding and concluded that: (1) only job-related factors may excuse wage disparities between comparable employees within the context of a federal Equal Pay Act (EPA) claim, and (2) prior salary, alone or in consideration with other factors, is not job-related, and therefore cannot serve as an affirmative defense to an EPA claim.
READ MORE

Questions? We’re here to help!

Featured

Compliance Clip February 2020

EMPLOYER COMPLIANCE

UPDATE: New Version of Form I-9 approved

On January 31, 2020, USCIS announced an update to the (paper version) of Employment Eligibility Verification Form I-9. This update was approved on October 21, 2019. Employers using the paper version should begin using the updated paper Form I-9 as of January 31, 2020, but have until April 30, 2020 to discontinue use of the previous paper version (Rev. 07/17/2017 N). The electronic version will be updated before this mandatory cutoff date of April 30, 2020, and we will keep you informed as we learn more.

USCIS made the following changes:
Form

Revised the Country of Issuance field in Section 1 and the Issuing Authority field (when completing the fillable form online).

Instructions
Clarified who can act as an authorized representative on behalf of an employer
Updated USCIS website addresses
Provided acceptable document clarifications
Updated the process for requesting the paper Form I-9
Updated the DHS Privacy Notice
READ MORE

 

SUBSTANCE ABUSE TESTING

PA MEDICAL MARIJUANA ACT: Court Finds Implied Wrongful Discharge Cause of Action
In a recent decision, a Pennsylvania county court ruled that the state’s Medical Marijuana Act creates a private cause of action for employees who have been terminated for their off-duty use of prescribed medical marijuana. The ruling is the first of its kind in Pennsylvania, but follows a line of cases from other jurisdictions that have similarly found that lawful medical marijuana users can sue their employers under similar circumstances. Pennsylvania employers should take note of this important decision, as we continue to monitor and report on this developing issue.
READ MORE

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 LAW

MARYLAND Bans the Box
Effective January 1, 2020, Maryland employers may not, at any time before the first in-person interview, require an applicant to disclose whether he or she has a “criminal record” or has been the subject of criminal accusations. An employer may require the applicant to disclose that information during the first in-person interview. An employer is prohibited from retaliating or discriminating against an applicant or employee who complains of a violation of the law.
READ MORE

LOUIS Enacts Ban the Box Ordinance Applicable to Private Employers
The ordinance prohibits employers located within the City of St. Louis with 10 or more employees from asking about criminal history on applications and hiring forms. Employers are also barred from posting job advertisements that exclude applicants with a criminal history and from using exclusionary language in applications or other hiring forms. Employers are further prohibited from asking about or investigating an applicant’s criminal background until after the applicant has been interviewed and deemed qualified for the position. Employers may not attempt to circumvent these restrictions by seeking publicly available information about an individual’s criminal history.
READ MORE

DATA PRIVACY

BREXIT UPDATE: What Does This Mean for Data Privacy?
In a statement on January 29, the Information Commissioner’s Office said the following: “The UK will leave the European Union on January 31 and enter a Brexit transition period. During this period, which runs until the end of December 2020, it will be business as usual for data protection. The GDPR will continue to apply.”
READ MORE

BRAZIL’S Data Protection Law
With less than a year remaining before Brazil’s General Data Protection Law (referred to as the LGPD) takes effect, HR professionals should start preparing.

The LGPD—which regulates how companies, including employers, must process personal data such as employees’ identification numbers—takes effect August 15, 2020.
READ MORE

SALARY HISTORY

NEW YORK Joins Other States in Banning Salary History Questions
As of January 6, 2020, New York employers are prohibited from inquiring about an applicant’s prior salary. The law applies to all public and private employers within New York State and covers applicants and employees who have taken an affirmative step to seek full-time, part-time, or temporary/seasonal employment with an employer. The law does not apply to independent contractors, freelance workers, or other contract workers unless they are to work through an employment agency.
READ MORE

Questions? We’re here to help!

EEOC Releases Important Guidance on the Use of Criminal Records for Employment Purposes

On April 25, 2012 The Equal Employment 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,with the purpose shoring up the EEOC’s efforts against discrimination in the workplace based on disparate impact against persons with criminal history records.

All employers who utilize criminal records information to make employment decisions are strongly urged to review the EEOC’s guidance document and accompanying analysis, which provide the details about specific requirements employers must follow.

The Guideline addresses the use of arrests in particular and pending case record information, and strongly discourages employers from asking on employment applications if an individual has ever been arrested and/or convicted of a crime; a legislative trend in labor law also known as the “Ban the Box” initiative.

The EEOC strongly rejected, on the basis of disparate impact on protected classes, employer policies that include blanket denial of employment for specific crimes, with some exceptions, including instances when the nature of the crime has a direct nexus to the position sought or when the licensing requirements for specific professions preclude certain types of crimes.

The Guideline further develops the existing Title VII provisions to be applied by employers when making a hiring decision on persons with existing criminal records –

  1. Nature and gravity of the offense. Further defined by indicating that employers must take into account the harm caused by the offense, the legal elements of the crime, and the offense classification (misdemeanor or felony).
  2. Time elapsed since the conviction and/or completion of the sentence. Further defined by indicating that employers must look at the facts and circumstances of the offense and evaluate possible recidivism.
  3. Nature of the job held or sought. Further defined by indicating that employers must go beyond looking at the job title and examine specific job duties, functions, and environment in which the individual will function.

The Guideline expands on the EEOC’s expectation of employer-driven individualized assessment of prospect employees with criminal records, which include eight (8) specific determining factors, and provides a “Best Practices” section for employers to follow in the hiring process of persons with criminal conviction records.

While this guidance places a significant burden on employers to objectively analyze and assess the risk of an individual with a criminal record, the silver lining is it provides employers and employee screening companies like A-Check a clearer path to follow in the acceptable use of criminal records for employment purposes while maintaining compliance with Title VII requirements.

Please note that while we are giving you a bird’s eye overview of the new Guidance, these and several other provisions reinforced and implemented through the April 25th EEOC release are complex in nature and should be looked at closely by employers; furthermore, we strongly encourage you to seek the advice of legal counsel.

Following are preliminary resources on the subject matter that will assist you in getting up to speed with the EEOC’s new Enforcement Guidance.

View the Complete Guidance Document:
Enforcement Guidance on Consideration of Arrest and Conviction Records in Employment Decisions Under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964

View an analysis by Labor Law Experts at Seyfarth Shaw LLP:
How Should Employers Use Criminal History in Employment Now That The EEOC Has Issued Enforcement Guidance?