Backgrounds Online Blog

  • Data Provider Sued For Allegedly Non-Compliant Practices​

    August 04, 2020
    An FTC investigation of a purported Consumer Reporting Agency serves as a reminder that honest, compliant practices are essential.
    Backgrounds Online | August 04, 2020


    An FTC investigation of a purported Consumer Reporting Agency serves as a reminder that honest, compliant practices are essential.

    The FTC Takes Note

    The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) is a government agency that protects consumers. Their mission is to prevent “anti-competitive, deceptive, and unfair business practices through law enforcement, advocacy, and education without unduly burdening legitimate business activity.” They filed a lawsuit against an online company that claims to help customers learn “the truth” about neighbors, friends, service providers and others.

    This website promotes a product they call Reputation Profiles - reports about consumers that they say are “better than background checks.” The site notes their profiles can contain criminal records, civil documents, lawsuits, social media content, employment and education details and more.

    This product and the company’s billing policies caught the FTC’s attention.

    A Lawsuit

    The FTC filed a lawsuit against this company. It alleged they use misleading billing and marketing practices. Two of their primary charges suggested the online data provider:

    Displays “teaser background reports” that insinuate they have criminal and sex offender records. When a visitor searches for a person, the site allegedly gives the impression that the subject is likely to have these items on their profile. This might be done to encourage consumers to order reports so they can view this potentially adverse data.

    Produces confusing content to get visitors to purchase auto-renewing memberships. The allegation suggests that visitors who only want a single report often inadvertently enter into an agreement in which they pay the company every month.

    CRAs Must Comply With The FCRA

    An important point in this case is that the defendant is said to be a Consumer Reporting Agency (CRA). A CRA is an organization that regularly compiles and provides consumer reports such as background checks.

    Every CRA must comply with a federal law called the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA). The FCRA requires CRAs to:
    • Confirm their customers have a permissible purpose for ordering reports.
    • Take steps to ensure maximum possible accuracy for the data they supply.
    • Allow consumers to dispute the information contained in a report about them.

    The FTC complaint suggests this business does not verify the accuracy of their information or offer an option for disputing content. It also asserts they do not require customers to have a permissible purpose.

    If the court agrees this company is a CRA, then the claims against them are likely to proceed.

    The Importance Of Fair, Compliant Screening

    Employers and other organizations review background checks when considering job seekers, potential renters and credit requests. It is essential for these reports to be up-to-date, accurate and compliant with applicable laws.

    When organizations need to order background checks, best practice is to work with a CRA that is accredited by the Professional Background Screening Association (PBSA – formerly the NAPBS). Accreditation is only granted to CRAs that continuously meet high standards of professionalism, ethics and accountability. Learn more about the PBSA.

    Running Background Checks

    When your organization is hiring, promoting or making other business decisions, you can use background checks to help make informed choices. It is imperative to have a permissible purpose and only consider current, reportable data. Employers should not rely on public records websites that do not comply with the FCRA.

    The team at Backgrounds Online produces compliant reports that can be used to make employment-related decisions. We are accredited and strive to keep up with laws that affect employers. Contact us when you’re ready to order background checks that help you build strong teams and maintain safe workplaces.

  • HR.com Talks About Returning To Work​

    July 28, 2020
    We tuned in to a webinar presented by HR.com. It covered topics employers should consider as they return from COVID-19 shutdowns.
    Backgrounds Online | July 28, 2020


    We tuned in to a webinar presented by HR.com. It covered topics employers should consider as they return from COVID-19 shutdowns.

    About The Webinar

    The webinar focused on California employers but was relevant to organizations throughout the United States. It broke down “Return To Work” plans into three phases:

    Phase 1: Continue to encourage remote work, minimize business travel and enforce strong social distancing programs at workplaces. They recommended implementing stronger policies for individuals who interact with vulnerable populations.
    Phase 2: Continue to enforce social distancing. Business travel can resume as long as participants follow all safety protocols.
    Phase 3: Return to normal business operations.

    Plan Ahead

    A webinar presenter talked about bringing people back into the workplace. He suggested taking several steps before this occurs. Highlights included:
    • Creating written documentation about health, safety and social distancing practices.
    • Establishing a COVID-19 response team.
    • Keeping up with state and local shutdown orders.
    • Ensuring you have ample supplies available (hand sanitizer, masks, gloves, etc).
    • Printing signs that relay new rules, such as no more than 4 people are allowed in any area at the same time.

    Cleaning and Disinfecting

    As people return to the workplace, maintaining a sanitary environment is more important than ever. During their webinar, presenters made several suggestions to help, including:
    • Clean common surfaces regularly. This includes workstations, phones, doorknobs, handrails and counters.
    • Encourage workers to not borrow or share pens and other supplies.
    • Place disposable wipes throughout the premises.
    • Purchase disinfectants that kill viruses.

    Employee Retention

    Another key topic was doing everything possible to keep your team together. They offered suggestions on how to achieve this critical goal:
    • Develop a program that builds trust and loyalty. This requires knowing your workforce and understanding what matters to them.
    • Provide childcare services if possible.
    • Work with employees to help solve problems and address concerns.
    • Maintain strong safety protocols.

    Backgrounds Online also recommends implementing annual background screenings for everyone on your staff. This demonstrates an ongoing commitment to their safety and well-being. Annual checks can show employers if someone incurs a new criminal record, no longer has a required license or if there are other changes of which they should be aware.

    If An Employee Tests Positive

    One of the later components of HR.com’s webinar covered what to do if an employee tests positive for COVID-19. They broke this into 3 steps:

    1. Talk to the person. Ask when their symptoms began, if they noticed them while at work and if any occurred within 48 hours of being at the workplace.
    2. Communicate with everyone who could be affected. If an employee had symptoms within 2 days of being on-site, inform your staff. Do not reveal the person’s identity unless they gave permission. If anyone had close contact with the infected individual, ask them to stay home for 14 days.
    3. Disinfect the workplace.

    Back To Business

    We hope your organization is operating again or will be able to resume soon. When you do, you may need to re-screen employees who are returning following a lengthy furlough or bring on new people to help keep your business moving forward. If so, please contact us for expert assistance.

    Our experienced team can help you build custom background screening packages for any position. We’re available Monday through Friday from 5am to 6pm PT.

  • COVID-19: What To Expect From Backgrounds Online​

    Last Updated: July 27, 2020
    We’re doing everything possible to provide essential screening services while keeping our team safe during this difficult time.
    Backgrounds Online | Last Updated: July 27, 2020

    Last Updated: July 27, 2020
    We’re doing everything possible to provide essential screening services while keeping our team safe during this difficult time.

    How Backgrounds Online Is Operating

    Like every business, we’re working hard to keep up with the rapid changes brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic. Though we will be impacted, our goal is to continue to provide superior service, limit personal risks for our team and adhere to federal, state and local guidelines. We are currently:

    • Allowing members of our team to telecommute.
    • Monitoring the status of courthouses and third-party data providers.
    • Following all best practices recommended by the CDC and other reputable organizations.
    • Updating this blog entry as needed to keep you informed.

    Pennsylvania Motor Vehicle Records Delayed

    Employees at the Pennsylvania Department of Motor Transportation (DMT) will work remotely until at least March 31, 2020. They will be unable to process motor vehicle record requests during that time.

    The DMT hopes to resumes standard processing of motor vehicle record requests on March 31.

    Current Court Closures

    New closures will be highlighted in yellow.

    County State Date of Closure Length of Closure
    Washington AR 06/09/2020 Unknown
    Contra Costa CA 07/08/2020 Unknown
    El Dorado - Delayed CA 03/17/2020 Unknown
    Humbolt CA 03/25/2020 Unknown
    Imperial - Delayed CA 04/20/2020 Unknown
    Kings CA 04/27/2020 Unknown
    Los Angeles - Delayed CA 03/17/2020 Unknown
    Marin - Delayed CA 03/17/2020 Unknown
    Mendocino CA 06/23/2020 Unknown
    San Francisco CA 03/17/2020 Unknown
    San Joaquin - Delayed CA 03/17/2020 Unknown
    San Luis Obispo - Delayed CA 03/20/2020 Unknown
    San Mateo - Delayed CA 05/21/2020 Through 05/21
    Santa Clara CA 03/17/2020 Unknown
    Shasta CA 07/08/2020 Unknown
    Solano CA 07/08/2020 Unknown
    Tulare CA 03/17/2020 Unknown
    All Counties - Delayed CT 03/26/2020 Unknown
    District of Columbia DC 03/23/2020 Unknown
    Bibb GA 07/08/2020 Unknown
    Berrien GA 04/03/2020 Unknown
    Bryan GA 07/08/2020 Unknown
    Clayton - Delayed GA 03/16/2020 Unknown
    Clinch GA 04/03/2020 Unknown
    Cobb - Delayed GA 03/19/2020 Unknown
    Coweta - Delayed GA 03/19/2020 Unknown
    Dougherty GA 07/08/2020 Unknown
    De Kalb GA 03/30/2020 Unknown
    Fayette - Delayed GA 04/01/2020 Unknown
    Fulton GA 03/10/2020 Unknown
    Gwinnett - Delayed GA 03/19/2020 Unknown
    Hall GA 06/25/2020 Unknown
    Hancock GA 03/25/2020 Unknown
    Henry GA 07/02/2020 Unknown
    Johnson GA 03/25/2020 Unknown
    Lanier GA 04/03/2020 Unknown
    Newton GA 03/19/2020 Unknown
    Richmond GA 03/19/2020 Unknown
    Walton GA 04/02/2020 Unknown
    Ware GA 07/06/2020 Unknown
    Cook - Delayed IL 03/23/2020 Through 05/01
    All Counties KY 03/17/2020 Unknown
    Orleans - Delayed LA 03/30/2020 Delayed
    St. John the Baptist LA 03/23/2020 Unknown
    All Courts MA 03/16/2020 Unknown
    All Courts MD 03/16/2020 Unknown
    Allegan MI 05/28/2020 Unknown
    Cass MI 05/28/2020 Unknown
    Crawford MI 05/28/2020 Unknown
    Eaton MI 03/17/2020 Unknown
    Gladwin MI 03/30/2020 Unknown
    Kalamazoo MI 03/17/2020 Unknown
    Macomb MI 03/19/2020 Unknown
    Mecosta MI 03/30/2020 Unknown
    Midland MI 05/28/2020 Unknown
    Missaukee MI 03/30/2020 Unknown
    Monroe MI 03/30/2020 Unknown
    Montcalm MI 05/28/2020 Unknown
    Muskegon MI 03/17/2020 Unknown
    Newaygo MI 05/28/2020 Unknown
    Oakland MI 03/19/2020 Unknown
    Ogemaw MI 03/30/2020 Unknown
    Osceola MI 03/30/2020 Unknown
    Otsego MI 07/08/2020 Unknown
    Saginaw MI 03/30/2020 Unknown
    Sanilac MI 03/25/2020 Unknown
    St. Joseph MI 03/30/2020 Unknown
    Van Buren MI 03/20/2020 Unknown
    Washtenaw MI 07/08/2020 Unknown
    Adams MS 07/16/2020 Unknown
    Bolivar MS 07/22/2020 Unknown
    Hancock MS 07/24/2020 Unknown
    Harrison MS 07/16/2020 Unknown
    Itawamba MS 07/09/2020 Unknown
    Jackson MS 07/16/2020 Unknown
    Leake MS 07/16/2020 Unknown
    Lee MS 07/16/2020 Unknown
    Prentiss MS 07/09/2020 Unknown
    Sunflower MS 07/16/2020 Unknown
    Tallahatchie MS 07/16/2020 Unknown
    Tate MS 07/16/2020 Unknown
    Lewis and Clark MT 04/07/2020 Unknown
    All Courts NC 03/16/2020 30 days
    All Courts NJ 03/17/2020 Unknown
    Albany NY 03/18/2020 Unknown
    Clinton NY 06/09/2020 Unknown
    All Courts PA 03/26/2020 Unknown
    All Courts PR 03/31/2020 Unknown
    Bradley TN 06/04/2020 Unknown
    Coffee TN 06/10/2020 Unknown
    Lake TN 06/30/2020 Unknown
    Wayne TN 07/09/2020 Unknown
    Dallas TX 06/24/2020 Unknown
    Braxton - Delayed WV 03/25/2020 Unknown
    Hampshire WV 03/25/2020 Unknown
    Harrison WV 03/25/2020 Through 05/15
    Lewis WV 03/25/2020 Unknown
    Roane - Delayed WV 03/25/2020 Unknown
    Upshur - Delayed WV 03/25/2020 Unknown

    Business Disruptions

    In addition to court closures, many businesses have temporarily shut down or decreased hours at this time. This can affect our ability to obtain verifications from employers and educational institutions.

    While it is not possible to create a list of businesses that are currently disrupted, if you submit a verification request that we are unable to complete, we will inform you as soon as possible.

    Screening Solutions

    When any service we utilize shuts down, we will notify all affected organizations and work with them to continue service with limited disruption. Our goal is to continue to provide comprehensive background screening services to you, our valued partners.

    Contacting Us

    Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, we will endeavor to provide our high level of fast, friendly and professional service. You may contact us from 5am to 6pm PT via email and live chat.

    We are also available at 800-838-4804 from 7am to 4pm PT.

    If we have any changes to our hours of operation, we will update them here immediately.

    Thank You

    Thank you for your patience during this unprecedented situation.

    Stay safe and thank you for visiting Backgrounds Online.

  • The 2020 Screening Survey From PBSA And HR.com ​

    July 21, 2020
    Hiring managers and human resources professionals provided feedback to a survey that asked about their background screening policies.
    Backgrounds Online | July 21, 2020


    Hiring managers and human resources professionals provided feedback to a survey that asked about their background screening policies.

    The Survey

    The Professional Background Screening Agency (PBSA – formerly the NAPBS) teamed up with HR.com to conduct their annual survey about background screening trends. Their team contacted organizations throughout the country to ask if they ran background checks, how often workers are screened and related questions.

    After reviewing responses, the two organizations published their findings. They concluded that most employers run background checks during the hiring process. The number one reason was to “help safeguard today’s increasingly globalized workforce.” Additionally, many employers have been expanding their screening programs.

    Results

    94% of the people who responded to this survey said they run background checks for employment purposes. They also noted that they’re screening various types of workers and doing so more frequently than ever. According to the survey:

    • 90% screen full-time employees.
    • 83% screen part-time employees.
    • 59% screen contractors.
    • 44% screen volunteers.
    • 85% said international screening is important.
    • 24% run criminal checks for candidates in and outside of the U.S.

    Why Employers Screen

    The survey dove into why employers run background checks. Their top three reasons were to:

    • Protect employees and customers.
    • Improve the quality of hires.
    • Comply with laws or industry regulations.

    Comprehensive Background Checks Are Key

    The survey noted that background check packages have become increasingly robust over the years. It revealed that almost every respondent utilizes national criminal searches and many also request state, county and other local searches. Results showed that background reports in 2020 typically include more components than in previous years.

    Common components include:

    • Social Security Number Traces (for identity verification).
    • Sex Offender Registry Searches.
    • Employment Verification.
    • Education Verification.
    • Drug Testing.
    • Motor Vehicle Record Searches.
    • License Verifications.

    When Do Organizations Screen?

    Most employer run background checks before bringing on new hires, but many are now running checks regularly to ensure their staff is deemed eligible for ongoing employment.

    The majority of background checks occur after an interview is completed and a conditional offer is extended. Out of the hiring professionals that took the survey:
    • 49% only screen during the hiring process.

    • 12% screen annually/regularly.
    • 10% screen for cause after hire.

    About the PBSA And HR.com

    The PBSA is a non-profit association that was established to represent the interest of companies offering employment and tenant background screening services. They offer accreditation for Consumer Reporting Agencies that adhere to a high level of compliance, service and business practices. Their mission is to advance excellence in the screening profession.

    HR.com is the world’s largest community of Human Resources professionals. They power the HR Research Institute, which is the part of their organization that works with the PBSA to conduct annual surveys about background screening.

    Running Background Checks

    As the survey noted, employers run background checks to create safe workplaces, make informed decisions and follow relevant laws and best practices. When you’re ready to run background checks on applicants, employees, contractors or volunteers, please contact us.

    Our experienced team can help you build fully customized background screening packages that are ideal for any position. We are working remotely and available to assist you Monday through Friday from 5am to 6pm PT.

  • Important Reminder: Employment Laws Still Apply

    July 14, 2020
    Businesses are adapting to massive changes ... but employers must continue to comply with laws that cover the hiring and background screening process.
    Backgrounds Online | July 14, 2020


    Businesses are adapting to massive changes ... but employers must continue to comply with laws that cover the hiring and background screening process.

    Don’t Get Lax With Laws

    We’ve heard from various colleagues and peers in the screening industry: many organizations think federal and state employment laws do not apply during the pandemic. That is incorrect. These laws are active, essential and they will be enforced.

    First, every business must have a permissible purpose to run background checks. Federal law stipulates they can be run for employment considerations such as making decisions regarding hiring or promotions.

    If your business has a permissible purpose and intends to run employment-related background checks, this might be a good time to read through in-house policies and ensure you’re compliant with applicable laws.

    The FCRA

    The Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) is a federal law that protects consumers. It established rules for organizations to follow when screening candidates or employees.

    Employers must:

    Provide a standalone disclosure. This document informs the recipient you wish to run a background investigation on them. It needs to be clear, concise and have no additional verbiage. Numerous businesses get into trouble over this simple law. Make sure the disclosure you provide is direct, easy to understand and devoid of unnecessary content.
    Obtain authorization. You may not run a background check until the candidate provides consent.
    Follow the adverse action process. If something on a background check causes you to contemplate an adverse action, you are required to follow some specific steps. Learn more.

    Second Chance Laws

    Multiple states have Ban the Box and related Second Chance Laws. Depending on where you operate, you may need to comply with one or more of them.

    Ban the Box laws typically include items such as:

    • Employers may not ask about arrests or criminal records on job applications.
    • Background checks should be run, but only after an applicant receives an interview or conditional job offer.
    • If a background report contains a criminal record, then an individual assessment should be conducted to determine if it warrants further action.

    Only Review Reportable Records

    It is imperative for employers to make decisions based on current, accurate information. They cannot consider outdated or sealed records. Several states are implementing laws which decriminalize certain offenses or allow residents to expunge low-level convictions. When a criminal record is sealed or expunged, it is no longer publicly available. Such records cannot be reviewed by employers.

    To help ensure you only see reportable records, work with a Consumer Reporting Agency (CRA) that is accredited by the PBSA (Professional Background Screening Association – formerly the NAPBS). CRAs, like Backgrounds Online, go to county courthouses and other sources directly to ensure the consumer reports they provide are up-to-date and can be used to make business-related decisions.

    Running Background Checks

    Safety is a foremost concern as we all resume business during the pandemic. A critical component is to run comprehensive background checks on applicants, volunteers and contractors. These reports help hiring managers determine if a person is qualified for a position or might present an undue risk.

    When you’re ready to run background checks that help you maintain safe workplaces and build strong teams; please contact us. We are working remotely and available to assist you Monday through Friday from 7am to 6pm PT.

  • Do Salary History Bans Work?

    July 07, 2020
    Recent studies have shown that prohibiting employers from asking applicants how much they earn helps establish equal wages for all workers.
    Backgrounds Online | July 07, 2020


    Recent studies have shown that prohibiting employers from asking applicants how much they earn helps establish equal wages for all workers.

    Closing The Wage Gap

    Salary history bans prohibit employers from asking applicants how much they earn. When employers have this information, they often use it to determine what compensation to offer new employees. However, millions of Americans, particularly women and people of certain ethnicities, are commonly paid less than people who do substantially similar work. If their salaries are based on what they earn now, they will continue to be paid unfairly.

    An article in Newsweek referenced a study conducted at the Boston University School of Law. It showed salary history bans “substantially close wage gaps, increasing pay for women by eight percent and black people by 13 percent.”

    Another article from bizjournals.com reported that states with anti-discrimination laws saw salaries improved by 5% on average. It also said the increases were up to 13% for black workers and 8% for women. These higher amounts help ensure employees are treated equally and employers don’t inadvertently discriminate against members of their team.

    An Increase In Anti Wage Discrimination Laws

    Massachusetts was the first to pass an anti-wage discrimination law. Since then, several states have implemented similar bills. While they differ by location, the basics are the same:

    • Employers may not ask about salary history.
    • Upon request, employers must provide the salary range for most positions.
    • People who do comparable work under comparable circumstances should receive comparable salaries.
    • Exceptions can be made to accommodate travel, cost of living, seniority and other factors.

    Asking About Salary Can Perpetuate Systemic Racism

    Numerous studies concluded that people of certain ethnic backgrounds have traditionally earned less than others in the U.S. If people who get new jobs are compensated based on their previous salary, then the racial bias and unfair pay is allowed to continue.

    According to the Newsweek article, when employers make decisions based on an applicant’s income, it: “perpetuates discrimination because low wages paid by a prejudiced or exploitative employer could be used to justify an offer of lower pay at the worker's next job. Salary histories provided a bargaining advantage to employers that would preserve past inequities.”

    A research paper from the Technology and Policy Research Initiative at Boston University School of Law titled "Perpetuating Inequality: What Salary History Bans Reveal About Wages" supports this point. The study found evidence that says disallowing employers from asking candidates about their salary gave job seekers more bargaining power and better wages. This was said to particularly apply to workers who have traditionally been paid less than their counterparts.

    Calls For Societal Change

    In the wake of racially charged protests throughout the world, millions of people are calling for societal changes in many areas of life. Among them is the need to pay all people equally based on their job duties.

    Numerous online publications have run articles about this topic recently. One in Forbes stated: “asking about a candidate’s previous compensation can perpetuate inequality, especially for black and female job seekers. Salary history bans appear to be an effective legislative tool to help eliminate this inequity.”

    While several states have salary history bans, more than 30 do not. Additional laws are expected to be introduced over the next few years. Backgrounds Online will continue to provide updates here and in our State Laws section.

    Best Practices

    Employers everywhere are encouraged to follow a few modern hiring best practices:

    • Don’t ask applicants how much they earn.
    • Remove questions about arrests and convictions from job applications.
    • Run comprehensive background checks after conducting an interview or making a conditional job offer.
    • Take steps to create a fair workplace.

    When your organization needs background checks for new and existing employees, please contact us. Our experienced team can answer your questions and help you create custom screening packages for any position. We are available to assist you Monday through Friday from 7am to 6pm PT.

  • Will Background Checks Show Records Incurred At Protests?​

    June 30, 2020
    Employers can plan ahead and determine how they will consider records that applicants incurred while attending protests.
    Backgrounds Online | June 30, 2020


    Employers can plan ahead and determine how they will consider records that applicants incurred while attending protests.

    Arrested While Protesting

    2020 is a year of massive civil unrest. Millions of people have taken to the streets following the death of George Floyd and others. Arrests occurred during situations that involved violence and looting ... and at peaceful protests people attended to add their voice to a growing movement.

    In many cases, individuals who were arrested during peaceful protests will likely have their charges dismissed. However, some may incur records that could be included on consumer reports. Employers will need to determine how to deal with this scenario.

    Non-Convictions Versus Pending Charges

    One thing for employers to consider is the difference between non-convictions and pending charges.

    A non-conviction occurs when a person is arrested and charged but their case is later dismissed or the individual is found not guilty. There could be various reasons for such an outcome, including a lack of sufficient evidence to warrant a conviction, the District Attorney concluding a case was not worth pursing or an agreement being reached by all parties.

    Pending records occur when a person is arrested and the outcome has yet to be finalized. Until these cases go through the court system, there is no way to know if a defendant will be convicted of any crime.

    The Backgrounds Online Approach

    At Backgrounds Online, we do not report non-convictions. They won’t be included on any background check we compile. However, these records could be available through other sources including public records websites.

    Pending charges are included in background reports that are produced by our team. When this happens, we make it clear that no outcome was reached as of the date the report was completed. Our clients can request updates as they become available. It is important to note, however, that due to pandemic-related court closures, it could take a while for rulings to be made on many arrest cases.

    Considerations For Employers

    Employers can assess all reportable records when reviewing potential employees, contractors or volunteers. In the near future, hiring managers may consider applicants who have criminal records that occurred following arrests at public protests.

    Now might be a good time for employers to discuss their hiring/screening policies and how they will handle protest-related convictions. Numerous second chance laws ask employers to conduct assessments of potentially adverse records found within consumer reports. This includes gauging whether an offense is relevant to the position and if the applicant creates an undue risk to the business, staff or public.

    When reviewing or updating your policies, it is recommended to consult with legal counsel. They can help ensure these policies are compliant with current federal, state and local laws where you operate.

    Running Background Checks

    Backgrounds Online provides background check reports that help employers build strong teams and demonstrate due diligence. When you’re ready to screen candidates or employees, please contact us. We’ll help you customize comprehensive screening packages based on your specific needs.

    Our experienced, knowledgeable team continues to work remotely. We’re available to answer questions and assist you Monday through Friday from 7am to 6pm PT.

  • Build Strong Teams By Focusing On The Candidate Experience​

    June 23, 2020
    As your business navigates through the pandemic, enhance your candidate experience to build teams that will help you succeed.
    Backgrounds Online | June 23, 2020


    As your business navigates through the pandemic, enhance your candidate experience to build teams that will help you succeed.

    Simplify Your Process

    COVID-19 changed everything. Most businesses are likely to feel the effects of this pandemic for years to come. It is essential to have people who will help your organization survive and thrive. Simplifying your hiring process is an effective way to encourage qualified candidates to choose you.

    Develop a method for conducting remote interviews and follow-ups. Train your hiring managers thoroughly so they understand how this will work and conduct test interviews if possible. This can help your staff prepare for potential issues such as delays or glitches, practice reading physical cues over a screen and determine what paperwork to have available before a video chat begins.

    Potential hires may not be able to sign documents in person. Make sure everything that requires their signature can be completed electronically.

    Create a solid onboarding process that can be completed online. It should be user-friendly and all-encompassing. New employees should fully understand their goals and expectations so they can become productive as quickly as possible.

    Take advantage of a group chat service. Fresh hires won’t be able to stop by a co-workers desk to ask questions. Give them an easy way to reach out and obtain information they cannot request in person.

    Show A Long Term Commitment

    Once you’ve determined a candidate has the necessary skills and qualifications, you can make a conditional offer. Then it’s time to run comprehensive background checks to verify they meet any employment and educational requirements and that they don’t have disqualifying criminal records. Next you can take a positive step forward by implementing ongoing backgrounds screenings.

    Scheduling recurring criminal background checks shows you have a commitment to your staff. This lets each employee know that you want them to be a part of your organization for the long-term. It also demonstrates your commitment to their safety and well-being. Screening each person annually or periodically indicates you are emphasizing safety and longevity for the individuals who represent your brand.

    Communicate

    As the world continues to change, we are all trying to find the best ways to operate cleanly and professionally. It is more important than ever to maintain an open line of communication throughout the hiring and onboarding process.

    The applicants you consider may have been laid off or working in other industries. If so, they might be attempting to refocus their careers. This can be a period of uncertainty and people are likely to have questions as they build up their transferrable skills.

    Creating a smooth hiring process, demonstrating an ongoing commitment and communicating effectively will encourage strong players to select you as they search for a stable job path.

    Running Background Checks

    When you are ready to run background checks, please contact us. Our team is highly trained and able to help you build background screening packages for any type of position. We’re here to answer questions and assist you Monday through Friday from 7am to 6pm PT.

  • North Carolina Is Considering An Expungement Bill​

    June 18, 2020
    A proposed N Carolina bill would allow the expungement of certain criminal records. It was approved by the House and will be considered by the Senate.
    Backgrounds Online | June 18, 2020


    A proposed N Carolina bill would allow the expungement of certain criminal records. It was approved by the House and will be considered by the Senate.

    The Second Chance Act

    Lawmakers in North Carolina are considering Senate Bill 562 (SB562), which is also known as the Second Chance Act. It would create expungement allowances for certain types of juvenile misdemeanor and felony convictions that occurred prior to December 1, 2019. SB562 would also empower adults to expunge applicable records.

    Provisions include:
    • A resident or District Attorney may request expunction for misdemeanor or Class H or I felony records if the offense was committed during the specified timeframe by an individual who was between 16 and 18 years old.
    • Requests cannot be made if the petitioner has an active sentence, is on probation or has not paid required restitution.
    • If a person was charged with a misdemeanor or felony, but the charges were later dismissed, then that person may petition the court to have those records expunged.
    • If a person was charged with multiple offenses that were dismissed, the person may petition to have each of those charges expunged.
    • Persons who were charged but not found guilty may ask for their arrest records to be expunged.

    The proposed bill offers other provisions for the potential expungement of criminal records. Read the complete Second Chance Act.

    Support For SB562

    SB562 received support on a bipartisan level. Representative Ted Davis Jr. said: "This is a jobs' bill because people have been previously completely excluded from jobs and other opportunities because of long-ago convictions and dismissed charges. So if this goes into effect, those individuals who can get their records expunged will have a chance to get gainfully employed."

    The bill was reviewed and approved by the North Carolina House of Representatives with a vote of 119-0. Next it will be heard in the Senate. Supporters estimate that SB562 could help around 800,000 residents who have criminal records.

    Why Records Are Expunged

    Millions of Americans are negatively affected by convictions from their past. These records are often for minor offenses that have since been de-criminalized. Having any criminal history can be a detriment to a person when they are looking for employment, housing or other necessities.

    By allowing Americans to expunge outdated or irrelevant convictions, people are given second chances to succeed and rejoin society. Once a record is expunged, it is no longer publicly available. It cannot be included in consumer reports, such as pre-employment background checks.

    Running Background Checks

    Employers rely on background checks to help them make informed decisions and create safe workplaces. A key component involves learning if otherwise qualified candidates have records of which they should be aware. Hiring someone with a serious criminal history could be a liability to any organization.

    Backgrounds Online provides comprehensive background reports that contain current, accurate data. When you’re ready to screen applicants, employees, contractors or volunteers, please contact us for expert assistance. We can answer questions and help you build custom screening packages Monday through Friday from 7am to 6pm PT.

  • ​New State Laws Go Into Effect On July First​

    June 16, 2020
    Employers should be aware that multiple states will be implementing new employment laws on July 1, 2020.
    Backgrounds Online | June 16, 2020


    Employers should be aware that multiple states will be implementing new employment laws on July 1, 2020.

    Upcoming Laws

    Many proposed bills were put on hold due to the COVID-19 pandemic. However, on July 1 2020, several states are putting new employment laws into effect. Numerous others will be added throughout the year.

    Key topics include:
    • Marijuana related laws.
    • Differentiating between employees and contractors.
    • Anti-discrimination laws.
    • Paid sick leave.
    • Wage transparency.

    Backgrounds Online does not provide legal advice but we keep up with bills that affect the hiring process. Here are a few state laws you may need to review prior to July 1, 2020.

    Iowa: Ban the Box

    Waterloo, Iowa is implementing a new Ban the Box law. To learn more and find a link for the complete text of this bill, see our previous blog entry.

    Nevada: Decriminalization of Marijuana

    Assembly Bill 533 (AB533) “generally decriminalizes the purchase, possession and use of marijuana and marijuana paraphernalia for persons who are 21 years of age or older.”

    This could affect organizations that have zero-tolerance drug policies. Because certain offenses are being decriminalized, older convictions may become eligible for expungement. If that happens, then those records would no longer be publicly available. Therefore, sealed or expunged convictions for older drug-related activities could not be considered by employers when making business-related decisions.

    Read AB533.

    Virginia: Decriminalization Of Marijuana

    Virginia is implementing several new laws that serve to decriminalize marijuana possession. Employers should know they cannot review older criminal records for offenses that are no longer deemed crimes.

    Virginia: Contractor Misclassification

    Virginia has specific classifications for employees and independent contractors. If a worker is intentionally misclassified as a contractor, then the updated Code of Virginia law empowers that person to attempt to collect damages, including salary and benefits, from their employer.

    Additional State Laws

    The laws referenced here are only a few of those that go into effect in 2020. Many begin on July 1, but new and updated bills will be implemented throughout the year. Employers are encouraged to consult with their legal counsel and review laws that will be enforced where they operate.

    After considering all relevant state, federal and local laws, organizations may need to update their hiring and screening policies. Revised policy documents should be shared with everyone who is involved in the hiring and onboarding process.

    Background Screening In 2020

    2020 is a year of great change throughout the United States. Businesses are finding new ways to operate as we go through a pandemic, social unrest and other serious issues. One thing that remains consistent is the need for comprehensive background screening services. Every employer relies on current, accurate background reports when making business decisions and striving to maintain safe workplaces.

    When you’re ready to run background checks for your organization, please contact us. Our team is highly experienced and can help you develop customized screening packages that are ideal for your industry and areas of operation. We continue to work remotely and are available to assist you Monday through Friday from 7am to 6pm PT.

  • Benefits Of Recurring Screenings In The Pandemic And Beyond

    June 09, 2020
    Employers can help maintain safe workplaces as they reopen and continue to do business by implementing recurring background screenings.
    Backgrounds Online | June 09, 2020


    Employers can help maintain safe workplaces as they reopen and continue to do business by implementing recurring background screenings.

    What Is A Recurring Screening?

    A recurring screening is a service that empowers organizations to run follow-up background checks on their enrolled employees. These reports can show an employer if someone on their staff incurs a new conviction of which they should be aware, is added to a sex offender registry or has other updates that might make them ineligible for employment.

    Employers can create custom background check packages for positions with differing responsibilities. For example, if an employee must have a particular license, their background screening package can include a license verification. To maintain fairness, human resources professionals are encouraged to run the same type of background check on everyone who has a similar job description.

    New background check investigations can occur annually or at any other preferred interval. Once they are scheduled, each employee will automatically be re-screened at the selected time. It’s also quick and easy to remove an individual who is no longer employed so they are not screened again.

    Benefit For Reopening Businesses

    As organizations reopen and bring back furloughed employees, they will likely run new background checks. Employers who have implemented recurring screenings can easily manage this process for their returning workers. By updating the “next screen date” for each person, a manager can help ensure background checks are completed before their staff comes back to work.

    When organizations utilize Criminal Monitoring Solutions, they can schedule screenings for everyone who has already undergone a pre-employment background check. All the information required to initiate a background screening, such as the employee’s name and date of birth, is available in advance. This save times and prevents the need for manual data entry, which allows employers to focus on reopening businesses that have been closed for weeks or months.

    A Perpetual Edge

    After a business is up-and-running again, re-screening employees regularly provides several advantages. By signing up for ongoing screenings, an organization:
    • Demonstrates continual due diligence.
    • Shows they have an abiding commitment to the safety of their customers and staff.
    • Can learn if a worker incurs something on their record that might warrant an adverse action, such as termination of employment.
    • Creates a fair and transparent workplace.
    • Gains a simple, expedient method for screening workers on pre-determined dates.

    Running Background Checks

    When you’re hiring new employees or bringing people back to work after a furlough, running comprehensive background checks is an essential part of the process. Recurring background checks are equally important. The team at Backgrounds Online can help you customize screening packages that are appropriate for any position in your industry. We can also help you setup and manage regular screenings for every member of your workforce.

    If you have questions or need assistance, please contact us. We are working remotely and available to help you via email, phone or live chat. We’re here to provide unparalleled service Monday through Friday from 7am to 6pm PT.

  • A Survey Shows Remote Employees Hope To Return To Work​

    June 02, 2020
    Glassdoor surveyed remote workers and people who have been furloughed. Their results showed nearly 75% of respondents are eager to return to the workplace.
    Backgrounds Online | June 02, 2020


    Glassdoor surveyed remote workers and people who have been furloughed. Their results showed nearly 75% of respondents are eager to return to the workplace.

    About The Survey

    Glassdoor is a recruiting company that provides job listings, company reviews, salary reports and related content. They recently partnered with The Harris Poll to survey workers from various industries who have been working remotely or temporarily furloughed. Survey-takers asked respondents if they are eager to return to the workplace.

    The survey was conducted between April 29 and May 1, 2020. More than 1,100 individuals were contacted. Many of the participants have been working from home for several weeks.

    Carina Cortez, the Chief People Officer at Glassdoor said: “There’s no one-size-fits-all model for employers preparing to re-open their offices. While workers are eager to return to the office, employers considering re-opening offices should clearly communicate that the workplace is going to look very different and keep employees informed on what that means for them. Now more than ever, employers must closely monitor local guidelines and listen to their employees to ensure they are meeting the needs of the people that fuel their business.”

    Key Results

    The survey found that around 72% of people who have been working remotely are eager to return to the workplace. Out of those surveyed:
    • 79% of male workers expressed an interest in returning.
    • 61% of female workers expressed an interest in returning.
    • About half of the people said they expect to return in some capacity during the summer of 2020.

    The survey also covered expectations regarding health and safety. Results showed:
    • 79% of the people expect employers to provide hand sanitizer.
    • 54% expect employers to require personnel to wear masks.
    • 45% expect work stations to be spaced out at least six feet apart.
    • 38% expect employers to check temperatures of each person who enters a workplace.

    Work In The Future

    During the survey, poll takers talked to people about the potential impact of COVID-19 in the future. Around 65% stated that they would be willing to work from home if that would be helpful.

    People were also asked about what they would look for in a new position. 60% said they would consider positions that offered remote work options.

    These results seem to indicate that while people are eager to return to their offices and a work-related sense of normalcy; many are also interested in the possibility of continuing to work from home to help slow the spread of the coronavirus.

    Backgrounds Online Remains Here For You

    The team at Backgrounds Online continues to work remotely and offer comprehensive background screening products and solutions. We also provide educational resources, such as this blog, to keep employers aware of background screening laws and best practices throughout the pandemic and beyond.

    If you need background checks for new or returning workers, please contact us. We’ll help you build custom packages for your specific needs and keep you aware of potential delays due to court and other closures. We’re available to assist you Monday through Friday from 7am to 6pm PT.