Contents
 
Feature Article
 
Compliance News
 
Compliance News
 
Compliance News
 
Screening News
  
CS Integration News
  
CS Integration News
 
VerifyStudents Corner
 

Student Background Screening News

Students Question Why a Program Requires a Background Check

 

VerifyStudents News

Tracking Student Immunizations with ImmuniTrax™

 

Recent Client Alerts
 
Feature Article
Taking Adverse Action: What Employers Need to Know
 
Background screening is a highly regulated industry, and employers who use the results of a background investigation for their hiring, promoting, suspending or terminating decisions need to be aware of and understand Adverse Action procedures under the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA).
 

What is Adverse Action?

The FCRA definition of “Adverse Action” is a denial of employment or any other decision for employment purposes based in whole or in part on a consumer report that adversely affects any current or prospective employee. FCRA §603(k)(1)(B)(ii) and  FCRA §615.

 

Before rejecting a job applicant, denying a promotion, reassigning or terminating an employee based in whole or in part on information obtained in a consumer report, under the FCRA employers are obligated to follow a two-step adverse action process. This process provides the applicant or employee the opportunity to review and dispute information in the report, if they so choose. The two step process consists of pre-adverse action and adverse action. It’s important for employers to follow the process correctly in order to protect their organization, as well as the rights of the applicant or employee.

 

Before Any Adverse Action: Pre-Adverse Action

Once the applicant has undergone a background check, if the consumer report that you receive from a consumer reporting agency (CRA) (i.e. Corporate Screening) has information that you may use to make a negative hiring decision, the pre-adverse action process begins.

 

First, you must provide the consumer (i.e. the applicant or employee) with a “pre-adverse action” notice, which consists of a letter to the applicant indicating that adverse action may be taken as a result of the consumer report. The letter will include the name of the CRA and its contact information, informs the consumer that the CRA did not make the decision to take the adverse action, and informs them about their right to dispute the completeness/accuracy of the information. In addition, a copy of the consumer report, as well as a copy of “A Summary of Your Rights Under the FCRA” and any state-specific letters also need to be provided.

 

Following the initial notice, the FCRA requires that consumers be afforded a reasonable amount of time to respond to the pre-adverse action notice. Although the FCRA does not give a specific amount of time, typically a reasonable amount of time is 5-10 business days (please note that some local variances exist and spell out how long employers must wait before taking adverse action). During this time, the applicant or employee can contact the prospective employer or the CRA to dispute the results of the report.

 

Step Two: Adverse Action

After the applicant or employee has received adequate time to request a reinvestigation, employers are required to notify them again if they choose to proceed with an adverse action (i.e. denying the application, reassignment or termination).

 

The employer is required to send an adverse action letter that notifies the consumer that adverse action has been taken based on a consumer report. The letter will also include the name of the CRA and its contact information, informs the consumer that the CRA did not make the decision to take the adverse action, and informs them about their right to dispute the completeness/accuracy of the information. In addition, a copy of the consumer report, as well as a copy of “A Summary of Your Rights Under the FCRA” and any state-specific letters also need to be provided.

 

It’s very important the employers comply with these adverse action procedures because non-compliance may be penalized under the FCRA. And litigation is increasing – more plaintiffs are filing expensive class action lawsuits against employers they say are not complying with the FCRA’s adverse action procedures.

 

Corporate Screening offers services such as our Adverse Action Workflow Tool, and sample letters and documents that you can to stay in compliance. Our team is happy to provide guidance to assist your compliance efforts, and if necessary, we can help you establish a program for your organization.

 

If you have compliance questions and need assistance, Corporate Screening is here to help. Please contact us at 800-229-8606 or visit our website to request additional information.

New "Ban the Box" Laws Continue to Proliferate

As of February 2016, the National Employment Law Project (NELP) reported there are 21 states and over 100 cities and counties that have adopted “ban the box” regulations – and more than 185 million people (over half the U.S. population) lives in an area that has adopted fair-chance policies.
 

As mentioned in previous blogs and articles, the term “ban the box” refers to the box on a job application form that asks, “Have you ever been convicted of a crime?” Early legislation focused primarily on public sector employees, but increasingly states and other communities are passing legislation of this type that includes private employers.

 

Employers have also joined the movement. Target Corporation did so in 2013, and other companies that have voluntarily removed the question from their applications include Wal-Mart, Home Depot, Bed Bath & Beyond, as well as Koch Industries.

 

Over the past few months, several laws were signed and executive orders issued. These include:

 

Ohio: In December, Governor John Kasich signed into law HB56, which prohibits public employers (including cities and counties) from including questions about criminal records on initial applications for employment.

 

Oklahoma: In February, Oklahoma Governor Mary Fallon signed an executive order directing state agencies to eliminate questions about convictions from job applications. Although the directive only applies to state agencies, the governor encourages private employers to do the same.

 

Oregon: Oregon’s “ban the box” law became effective on January 1, 2016 (for details about this law, please refer to our Client Alert published in December).

 

Pending legislation

Other states are looking into enacting new “ban the box” legislation, or expanding current laws. For example, Colorado already prohibits asking about criminal past on many state jobs, but “ban the box” supporters are encouraging lawmakers in the state to extend the policy to private sector employers.

 

Other states where lawmakers are also considering enacting new legislation include Alabama, Colorado, Connecticut, Florida, Iowa, and Wisconsin.

 

Corporate Screening reminds employers to review their applications and hiring policies, as well as recommending that they stay abreast of their local and state laws to ensure that they are not in violation of any “ban the box” laws that may apply to their business.


More Stringent "Ban the Box" Rules Affect Philadelphia and New York City Employers
 
Employers should note that several  recent  “ban the box” laws in effect require much more than just eliminating the question about criminal history on the job application or prohibiting asking about it prior to an initial interview. Two such laws are Philadelphia’s Fair Criminal Screening standards Ordinance and the New York City Fair Chance Act.
 
Philadelphia
On March 14, 2015, new amendments to Philadelphia’s Fair Criminal Screening Standards Ordinance went into effect. The amendments were significant and affect all employers, private and public.
 

Important changes to the law include:

  • Who it applies to – it affects employers with at least one employee (previously it applied to those with 10 or more employees;

  • Adverse action notification response period – after an employer informs the candidate in writing that it is taking adverse action, candidates are permitted ten days to contest the accuracy of the report or provide an explanation.

  • When the criminal background check can be conducted – previously employers could conduct a background check after the first interview. The amended ordinance requires employers to hold off from background checks until after a conditional offer of employment has been made.

 

The new changes also include mandatory individualized assessments for each candidate and additional penalties if employers violate the law. For additional details about Philadelphia’s amendments, please visit Corporate Screening’s Client Alert published on February 26, 2016.

 

New York City

On October 27, 2015, New York City’s Fair Chance Act (FCA) went into effect. The law bans private employers from asking job applicants questions about criminal convictions on job applications, as well as in interviews. However, once a conditional job offer has been made, employers can ask about the applicant’s criminal history and conduct a background check.

 

The FCA also requires employers who withdraw the offer to explain their decision to the applicant in writing and hold the position open for three business days in order to allow the applicant to respond.

 

Again, Corporate Screening has additional details about the Fair Chance Act in our Client Alert published in June 2015, as well as blog entries published on October 1, 2015 and October 23, 2015.

 

NYC Commission on Human Rights Announces Large Increases In Fines & Penalties Collected in 2015
 
A press release issued by the NYC Commission on Human Rights (NYCCHR) in January 2016 indicated that the average amount of damages and civil penalties collected in cases more than doubled in 2015 from 2014. The Commission opened 755 investigations of discrimination in 2015 (20 percent higher than in 2014), and also opened six times as many investigations into criminal history discrimination in employment, opening 77 new cases (a 544 percent increase over the previous year).
 
Two new employment protections added in 2015 were primarily responsible for the criminal history discrimination investigations: the Fair Chance Act (FCA), which makes it illegal to ask about a job applicant’s criminal history until after a conditional offer of employment, and the Stop Credit Discrimination in Employment Act (SCDEA), which makes it illegal for employers to discriminate on current or prospective employers based on credit history. (For more information about the FCA and the SCDEA laws, please visit Corporate Screenings blog.)
 
So what does this mean to New York City employers? A JD Supra Business Advisor article by Nadia Banduka and Cameron Smith of Seyfarth Shaw, LLP states that NYC employers “are likely to face an increasingly active NYCCHR and increased enforcement activity,” making it “critical that employers stay abreast of recent amendments to the New York City Human Rights Law, with particular focus on the FCA and SCDEA.” And it is certain that changes will continue, as the NYCCHR recently published proposed amendments to the FCA and held a hearing on them recently.
 

We invite you to visit Corporate Screening's blog and read our client alerts regularly to find out important updates to these issues as we share the information we learn about them.


Making Good Hiring Decisions Requires Accurate Information
 
There are a number of considerations employers take into account when they select a background screening provider. Professional expertise, industry knowledge, confidentiality and personal protection, customer support, and pricing are some of the top considerations. Employers should also take into consideration the accuracy of the information reported back to them.
 
Databases contain a lot of information, including data that is incomplete and outdated. It is critical that Consumer Reporting Agencies (CRAs) check and verify the information that they collect, to ensure that what they will include in a background report is accurate and applies to that specific candidate. When CRAs provide background reports that contain inaccurate information, it affects both employers and applicants negatively. Employers rely on the information in the report and trust that it is accurate. And applicants may be denied employment opportunities as a result of erroneous information.
 

Accuracy - or rather, inaccuracy - in background screening has received much attention in the media. News outlets commonly report accounts of candidates whose background reports contained erroneous information and they were not hired. Often the stories report that these people have filed lawsuits against the companies that did the search, and employers. With a proliferation of lawsuits related to criminal background checks, it’s increasingly important that employers operate on accurate information and CRAs provide it.

 

Federal overseers agree, and they aren't just scrutinizing employers. Increasingly, CRAs are feeling the pressure to ensure that the information they report is correct. In a recent case from October 2015, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) ordered that two background screening organizations pay $10.5 million to harmed consumers, pay $2.5 million in fines, and correct their practices in order to assure that the information they report to employers about job candidates is accurate. The CFPB found that the companies violated the law in the following ways:

 

  • They failed to take basic steps to ensure accuracy, failing to match public records information to the correct consumer.

  • They included impermissible information in the consumer reports provided to prospective employers.

 

Corporate Screening’s professionals are trained to research all information to ensure that what is included in the background reports is accurate. And as an accredited background screening organization, Corporate Screening follows industry leading standards and best practices to ensure accurate background screening results. Our goal is to act as a trusted resource and partner to our valued clients, providing them with information that they can rely on.


Are You Taking Advantage of Electronic Form I-9 Integrated with EASE?
 
Corporate Screening has made electronic Form I-9 and E-Verify even more effortless – now the services are integrated with EASE! With one simple log-in, customers can manage their backgrounds, Form I-9s and E-Verify all within the same platform.
 

Whether you order your Form I-9 at the same time as your background, wait until the background is completed, or do so while the background is being completed, the integration makes it easy to order at the point that works best in your hiring process.

 

The integration contains all of the features and benefits of electronic Form I-9 and E-Verify that customers expect, including forms that detect and eliminate errors, organized electronic storage that is easily searchable, as well as alerts that inform you when documents will expire. And the single-platform process saves time and speeds up the process, since you are able to access backgrounds, Form I-9 and E-Verify all from within the same platform. You’ll also appreciate a dashboard you are familiar with that includes icons that indicate case status at a glance, as well as a status log that displays the progress of the case.

 

For more information about electronic Form I-9 and E-Verify services integrated with EASE, please contact Corporate Screening at 800-229-8606 or email Sales@CorporateScreening.com.


Seamlessly Interface Your Background Screening Program with Your ATS/HRIS System
 
Is your organization managing applicant data and status using an applicant tracking system (ATS) or Human Resources Information System (HRIS)? Corporate Screening can help you streamline your background screening program with our ATS integration solutions.

 

When you integrate background screening with your organization’s HRIS or ATS system, your entire team benefits. Recruiters and HR professionals benefit from end users to operate from a familiar environment, reduces duplicative data entry tasks, decreases errors and speeds the onboarding process.

 

Corporate Screening offers integrations with Oracle Taleo, iCIMS, Technomedia, Workday, HealthcareSource and more. For more information about our integration solutions, contact us at 800-229-8606 or Sales@CorporateScreening.com.


VerifyStudents Corner
Students Question Why A Program Requires A Background Check
 
Sometimes preparing for admission to a specific college program has requirements beyond just applying and/or maintaining a certain grade point average. At times, schools requires students to pass a background check to get into the program. Students may wonder why, and here are the reasons.

 

Site Requirements. In order to complete the degree, some programs require that students do an internship, clinical work, or volunteer work. If this is done at a site that requires criminal background checks by their employees, students have to go through the same background process as an employee or volunteer at the organization would have to undergo.

 

Licensure Requirements. Certain programs require a license to practice after graduation, and persons with certain convictions may not be able to obtain a license to practice. If you are a student with a criminal record, you may not be able to get a professional license after you complete your academic program. With the high cost of education, as well as the time students spend obtaining a degree, getting student background can save time and money by letting you know if you are able to work in the field after graduation or not.

 

Another reason students can appreciate a background check is if they have an old conviction eligible to be expunged still on the record. If this happens to be the case and you are unaware of it, a background check can bring this to light and you can request to have the conviction expunged.

Keep in mind that if you do have a criminal conviction, that does not automatically mean that you will be rejected from a program. The type of crime, how recently it was committed are just some of the factors taken into consideration. Being honest about your past doesn’t automatically ensure negative consequences.


Tracking Student Immunizations with ImmuniTrax™
 
If you track student immunizations, you are well aware that this can be an extremely time-consuming process. ImmuniTrax™ student immunization tracking system, offers a solution that saves both time and money. But there are other tracking solutions available, so why select ImmuniTrax™?

Communication Advantages

ImmuniTrax™’s offers users advanced communication features and its wide array of communications tools allow for more control by administrators. Want to see when or even if a student has read a message? You can do that, as well as view correspondence history. And messages are safe and secure using the HIPAA-compliant messaging center.

Expertise

Corporate Screening’s partner, Medicat, is a leading provider of healthcare information technology. Its professional team of clinicians and former college health professionals have years of experience, providing expert review of forms, ensuring validity and that they meet clinical site requirements.

 

Efficiency and Ease of Use

Last, but not least, efficiency and ease of use are two of the reasons why students and administrators like ImmuniTrax™. When you make a system easy to use, it reduces the number of errors people make. One example of simplifying the process is when students attach their immunization forms. Other tracking systems force them to attach their health forms to the correct requirement, which often results in student errors and creates in an inefficient process. Corporate Screening’s partner, Medicat, attaches each of the students’ forms to the correct requirement, which means fewer student errors and an easier user process.

 

If you have questions or want more information about our ImmuniTrax™ student immunization tracking solution, call 8-00-229-8606 or email us at Sales@CorporateScreening.com.