Backgrounds Online Blog

  • 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.

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

    Last Updated: June 01, 2020
    We’re doing everything possible to provide essential screening services while keeping our team safe during this difficult time.
    Backgrounds Online | Last Updated: June 01, 2020

    Last Updated: June 01, 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
    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
    Orange - Delayed CA 03/17/2020 Unknown
    San Benito - Delayed CA 04/20/2020 Unknown
    San Diego - Delayed CA 03/17/2020 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
    Tulare CA 03/17/2020 Unknown
    All Counties - Delayed CT 03/26/2020 Unknown
    District of Columbia DC 03/23/2020 Unknown
    Atkinson GA 04/03/2020 Unknown
    Berrien GA 04/03/2020 Unknown
    Charlton GA 04/03/2020 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
    De Kalb GA 03/30/2020 Unknown
    Fayette - Delayed GA 04/01/2020 Unknown
    Gilmer GA 04/27/2020 Unknown
    Greene GA 03/25/2020 Unknown
    Gwinnett - Delayed GA 03/19/2020 Unknown
    Hancock GA 03/25/2020 Unknown
    Henry GA 03/16/2020 Unknown
    Johnson GA 03/25/2020 Unknown
    Jones GA 03/31/2020 Unknown
    Lanier GA 04/03/2020 Unknown
    Lee - Delayed GA 03/19/2020 Unknown
    McIntosh GA 03/16/2020 30 Days
    Newton GA 03/19/2020 Unknown
    Pulaski GA 04/23/2020 Unknown
    Rabun GA 03/25/2020 Unknown
    Richmond GA 03/19/2020 Unknown
    Tattnall GA 04/03/2020 Unknown
    Treutlen GA 03/25/2020 Unknown
    Walton GA 04/02/2020 Unknown
    Washington GA 03/19/2020 Unknown
    Whitfield GA 03/30/2020 Unknown
    Champaign - Delayed IL 03/31/2020 Unknown
    Cook - Delayed IL 03/23/2020 Through 05/01
    All Courts KY 04/10/2020 Unknown
    Allen LA 03/18/2020 Unknown
    Cameron LA 03/18/2020 Unknown
    East Baton Rouge - Delayed LA 03/30/2020 Unknown
    Jefferson Davis LA 03/20/2020 Unknown
    Orleans - Delayed LA 03/30/2020 Delayed
    St. John the Baptist LA 03/23/2020 Unknown
    St. Mary - Delayed LA 03/24/2020 Unknown
    Vermillion LA 03/24/2020 Unknown
    Winn LA 04/02/2020 Unknown
    All Courts MA 03/16/2020 Unknown
    All Courts MD 03/16/2020 Unknown
    Alger MI 03/30/2020 Through 05/15
    Bay MI 03/30/2020 Through 05/15
    Berrien - Delayed MI 04/20/2020 Unknown
    Clare MI 03/30/2020 Through 05/15
    Delta MI 03/23/2020 Unknown
    Eaton MI 03/17/2020 Unknown
    Gladwin MI 03/30/2020 Through 05/15
    Gogebic MI 03/30/2020 Through 05/15
    Gratiot - Delayed MI 03/30/2020 Through 05/15
    Hillsdale MI 03/23/2020 Unknown
    Isabella MI 03/30/2020 Through 05/15
    Kalamazoo MI 03/17/2020 Unknown
    Lapeer MI 03/30/2020 Through 05/15
    Livingston MI 03/30/2020 Unknown
    Luce MI 03/30/2020 Through 05/15
    Macomb MI 03/19/2020 Unknown
    Manistee MI 03/30/2020 Through 05/15
    Mecosta MI 03/30/2020 Through 05/15
    Missaukee MI 03/30/2020 Through 05/15
    Monroe MI 03/30/2020 Unknown
    Montmorency MI 03/30/2020 Through 05/15
    Muskegon MI 03/17/2020 Unknown
    Oakland MI 03/19/2020 Unknown
    Ogemaw MI 03/30/2020 Through 05/15
    Ontonagon MI 03/30/2020 Through 05/15
    Osceola MI 03/30/2020 Through 05/15
    Roscommon MI 03/24/2020 Unknown
    Saginaw MI 03/30/2020 Through 05/15
    Sanilac MI 03/25/2020 Unknown
    Schoolcraft MI 03/30/2020 Through 05/15
    St. Joseph MI 03/30/2020 Unknown
    Tuscola MI 03/25/2020 Unknown
    Van Buren MI 03/20/2020 Through 05/15
    All Counties MN 03/30/2020 30 Days
    Hinds - Delayed MS 03/17/2020 Unknown
    Itawamba MS 03/18/2020 Unknown
    Leake - Delayed MS 03/17/2020 Unknown
    Panola MS 03/27/2020 Unknown
    Prentiss MS 03/27/2020 Unknown
    Union MS 03/27/2020 Unknown
    Warren - Delayed MS 03/27/2020 Unknown
    Lake MT 04/03/2020 Unknown
    Lewis and Clark MT 04/07/2020 Unknown
    Yellowstone MT 03/25/2020 Unknown
    All Courts NC 03/16/2020 30 days
    All Courts NJ 03/17/2020 Unknown
    Albany NY 03/18/2020 Unknown
    Chemung NY 04/07/2020 Unknown
    Chenango NY 04/07/2020 Unknown
    Franklin NY 03/17/2020 Unknown
    Jefferson NY 04/07/2020 Unknown
    Livingston NY 04/07/2020 Unknown
    NY OCA - Delayed NY 03/17/2020 Unknown
    Schenectady NY 03/17/2020 Unknown
    Washington NY 03/19/2020 Unknown
    Wayne - Delays NY 03/26/2020 Unknown
    Yates NY 03/20/2020 Unknown
    All Courts PA 03/26/2020 Unknown
    Carroll - Delayed TN 04/24/2020 Unknown
    Cannon - Delayed TN 04/13/2020 Unknown
    Cannon - Delayed TN 04/13/2020 Unknown
    Clay TN 04/03/2020 Unknown
    Dyer TN 04/24/2020 Unknown
    Gibson TN 04/03/2020 Unknown
    Hardeman TN 03/23/2020 Unknown
    Henderson TN 03/16/2020 Unknown
    Lake TN 03/19/2020 Unknown
    Lauderdale TN 04/03/2020 Unknown
    Lawrence - Delayed TN 04/06/2020 Unknown
    Loudon TN 03/16/2020 Unknown
    Obion TN 04/03/2020 Unknown
    Sequatchie - Delayed TN 03/16/2020 Unknown
    Shelby - Delayed TN 03/27/2020 Unknown
    Tipton - Delayed TN 04/22/2020 Unknown
    Weakley TN 04/03/2020 Unknown
    Orange TX 04/30/2020 Unknown
    All Courts - Delayed VT 03/17/2020 Unknown
    Barbour WV 03/25/2020 Unknown
    Berkeley WV 03/25/2020 Through 06/01
    Boone WV 03/25/2020 Through 05/18
    Braxton - Delayed WV 03/25/2020 Unknown
    Brooke - Delayed WV 03/25/2020 Unknown
    Cabell - Delayed WV 03/25/2020 Unknown
    Clay - Delayed WV 03/25/2020 Unknown
    Greenbrier - Delayed WV 03/25/2020 Unknown
    Hampshire - Delayed WV 03/25/2020 Unknown
    Hardy WV 03/25/2020 Through 05/26
    Harrison WV 03/25/2020 Through 05/15
    Jackson - Delayed WV 03/25/2020 Unknown
    Jefferson WV 03/25/2020 Through 05/26
    Kanawha - Delayed WV 03/25/2020 Unknown
    Lewis - Delayed WV 03/25/2020 Unknown
    Logan - Delayed WV 03/25/2020 Unknown
    Marion WV 03/25/2020 Through 05/26
    Marshall - Delayed WY 03/25/2020 Unknown
    Mercer - Delayed WV 03/25/2020 Unknown
    Mingo - Delayed WV 03/25/2020 Unknown
    Monongalia WV 03/25/2020 Through 05/26
    Morgan WV 03/25/2020 Through 05/26
    Nicholas - Delayed WV 03/25/2020 Unknown
    Pendleton WV 03/25/2020 Through 05/18
    Preston - Delayed WV 03/25/2020 Unknown
    Putnam - Delayed WV 03/25/2020 Unknown
    Randolph - Delayed WV 03/25/2020 Unknown
    Roane - Delayed WV 03/25/2020 Unknown
    Summers - Delayed WV 03/25/2020 Unknown
    Upshur - Delayed WV 03/25/2020 Unknown
    Webster - Delayed WV 03/25/2020 Unknown
    Teton - Delayed WY 03/31/2020 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.

  • Santa Clara County Will Expunge Records During The Pandemic

    May 26, 2020
    Despite having limited resources due to the pandemic, the Santa Clara County court system will be expunging cannabis-related convictions.
    Backgrounds Online | May 26, 2020


    Despite having limited resources due to the pandemic, the Santa Clara County court system will be expunging cannabis-related convictions.

    About The Expungements

    An announcement from Santa Clara County, California stated the court system will expunge approximately 11,500 marijuana-related convictions. This involves sealing records for more than 9,000 residents. These individuals won’t need to make requests or have any involvement in the process. It will be handled exclusively by the county.

    This follows regulations mandated by the state of California such as the Control, Regulate and Tax Adult Use of Marijuana Act. This Act, also known as Proposition 64, decriminalized the personal possession of marijuana for recreational use. Its passage meant that certain types of convictions were for deeds that are no longer deemed criminal offenses. Lawmakers have been working on plans to expunge those records.

    What Employers Should Know

    When a criminal record is expunged, it ceases to be publicly available. Hiring managers may not consider sealed convictions while making any type of employment or business decision.

    Every employer is encouraged to run criminal background checks before bringing on employees, volunteers or contractors. Organizations in California should be aware that counties such as Santa Clara are actively working to expunge eligible convictions. Once this task is complete, those records cannot be included on any consumer report.

    Second Chance Efforts During The Pandemic

    The Second Chance Movement has been growing throughout America. Expunging outdated, minor and irrelevant convictions is an important aspect. This has become more difficult due to court closures and the need for sheltering in place.

    However, efforts to help people obtain second chances continue during the pandemic. For many, this is essential. Millions of Americans are currently unemployed and will be looking for new jobs when they are able to do so. By expunging criminal records, people gain opportunities to be interviewed and considered for positions as businesses throughout the country start to reopen.

    Going Virtual

    Several states have been working to educate former convicts on how to expunge criminal records. A few communities developed door-to-door campaigns to deliver their message. Since that is no longer possible, some organizations are taking advantage of the internet to maintain their momentum.

    Virtual clinics are being held on Zoom and other platforms. These tools are utilized to deliver explanations on how to file expungement requests, allow people to check-in with parole officers and even offer online courses that satisfy community service requirements.

    There could be limitations. Concerns have been expressed that poor communities may not have access to attend these virtual courses. Language barriers might cause additional complications. However, until other resources are available again, online options will be used to reach as many people as possible.

    Background Screening Remains Essential

    As more people return to the workforce, employers continue to rely on background checks to protect their customers, staff and best interests. It is equally essential for hiring managers to ensure they only review current and reportable records.

    When you’re ready to run background checks, please contact us. We’ll work with your staff to build custom screening solutions that help you make informed decisions and build strong teams. We are currently available to assist you Monday through Friday from 7am to 6pm PT.

  • New York City Bans Marijuana Testing

    May 19, 2020
    Employers in New York City are prohibited from testing applicants for marijuana usage as of May 10, 2020.
    Backgrounds Online | May 19, 2020


    Employers in New York City are prohibited from testing applicants for marijuana usage as of May 10, 2020.

    A Ban On Marijuana Testing

    Beginning on May 10, 2020, employers in New York City may not screen job applicants for marijuana or THC. Organizations may still conduct drug tests on prospective employees as long as long as they do not include those substances. This ban was passed in April 2019 but delayed due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

    Organizations that do not comply with this ban could face civil charges. Penalties can be as high as $25,000. When applicable, consequential and punitive damages, as well as attorney fees, can be added to that cost.

    Employers should also be aware of and compliant with any other relevant laws regarding marijuana usage and employee protections where they operate.

    Exceptions

    Certain positions are exempt from this ban. They include:
    • Police or Peace Officers.
    • Positions that require a commercial driver’s license or fall under Department of Transportation regulations.
    • Workers who will supervise children, medical patients or vulnerable populations.
    • Positions that require drug testing under federal or state regulations or grant conditions.
    • Positions that may affect the health and safety of other employees or the public.
    • Safety sensitive jobs, such as people who work at construction sites or operate heavy machinery.

    Jumaane Williams, a Public Advocate who sponsored the ban, opposes these exceptions. Williams said: “Creating more exemptions and loopholes to this law will unjustifiably deter qualified employees from obtaining gainful employment,” he wrote. “Maintaining the original intent of the legislation, the City should be pushing to reduce the stigma around marijuana and working to restore justice for the millions of black and brown communities who have been the victims of marijuana criminalization and discrimination.”

    Review Hiring Policies

    Employers in New York City may wish to update their hiring policies to ensure they are compliant with this ban. Before finalizing these updates, it may be worthwhile to have them reviewed and approved by legal counsel.

    Employment-related laws are passed frequently. Employers everywhere are encouraged to review their hiring and screening policies periodically to ensure they accommodate relevant laws. Backgrounds Online does not provide legal advice, but we do make efforts to keep up with bills that affect employers so we can provide educational resources like this blog.

    Screening Applicants And Employees

    When hiring new workers or reviewing the eligibility of existing employees, it is important for organizations to conduct all reasonable forms of due diligence. Running background checks is an important part of this process. These reports can include allowable drug tests, criminal records searches and position-focused components. They help employers make informed decisions and create safe workplaces while protecting employees, the public and their own best interests.

    If your organization is bringing on new staff members, contractors or volunteers, please contact us. Our experienced team can help you build compliant and effective background check packages for any position or industry. We are currently available to assist you Monday through Friday from 7am to 6pm PT.

  • Reopening And Rehiring: Considerations For Employers

    May 12, 2020
    A webinar hosted by members of the background screening industry focused on reopening American businesses and topics employers should consider.
    Backgrounds Online | May 12, 2020


    A webinar hosted by members of the background screening industry focused on reopening American businesses and topics employers should consider.

    Layoffs Vs Furloughs

    The webinar began by discussing the difference between layoffs and furloughs. It provided two simple definitions:
    • Layoffs are indefinite and often permanent breaks in employment.
    • Furloughs are temporary pauses in employment without pay, but with the expectation that employment will resume.

    Presenters noted that at this point in the pandemic, 26 million Americans are unemployed and another 18 million are furloughed.

    Phased Approach To Reopening

    Most states have implemented social distancing and “Shelter in Place” laws. As a result, many businesses were required to temporarily shut down or adjust the way they provide goods and services. Some states are relaxing those laws and permitting more organizations to resume operations. People throughout the country are preparing to return to work in the coming weeks.

    Each state has unique regulations for reopening. In most cases, there are defined phases for this process. Webinar presenters stressed that every employer must be well-prepared to handle their transition and help ensure it is fair, consistent and as safe as possible for everyone.

    Before Rehiring

    The webinar hosts discussed subjects employers should examine before rehiring furloughed employees. A few included:

    Crime. While some locations have reported a decrease in criminal activities, perhaps due to people staying at home, other areas have seen spikes in violent and other serious crimes. Employers may wish to run comprehensive criminal background checks before bringing furloughed individuals back to the workplace. This can include county, state, national and federal criminal searches that cover the time an employee was out of work.

    State Laws. Several states have passed legislation related to the pandemic. Employers were urged to consult legal counsel to determine if any such laws affect them.

    Drug Usage. Some states have reported an increase in drug usage and related crimes. Employers may need to consult with counsel when developing plans for running drug tests on returning staff.

    Time. Employees may have been furloughed for a few days or several weeks. That amount of time could affect the scope of background checks conducted before people reenter the workplace. Employers should also be aware of and compliant with any industry regulations regarding background screening requirements.

    Screening For Current, Updated Duties

    Job descriptions will be changing for many people. As businesses reopen, employees might have an updated list of duties that include tasks such as loading goods into vehicles or visiting the homes of customers.

    The webinar suggested employers run background checks that meet due diligence requirements based on updated responsibilities for each position. This can involve comprehensive criminal checks to help determine if each person is deemed safe and reliable before they are allowed to have direct contact with consumers. If an employee is not properly screened and commits a crime while on-duty, their employer could face a negligent hiring lawsuit or other repercussions.

    Requesting Background Checks

    If your organization is reopening, then you likely have many new things to consider. This can be a good time to review your policies and amend them as necessary to accommodate changes we are all experiencing.

    When you’re ready to run background checks that help you make informed decisions and create safe workplaces, please contact us. Our team is available to assist you Monday through Friday from 7am to 6pm PT.

  • The EEOC Provided Guidance For Employers During The Pandemic​

    May 05, 2020
    To help employers as they navigate through the COVID-19 pandemic, the EEOC issued a “What You Should Know” guidance.
    Backgrounds Online | May 05, 2020


    To help employers as they navigate through the COVID-19 pandemic, the EEOC issued a “What You Should Know” guidance.

    Hiring

    The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) released a Question and Answer style guidance to help employers that are operating during the pandemic. Many organizations need additional people to help meet consumer demands. They are interviewing, running comprehensive background checks and onboarding qualified candidates.

    In the EEOC’s guidance, they covered topics related to hiring people who have symptoms of COVID-19. Employers were told that they could test applicants for the virus after extending a conditional job offer. It was also noted that this policy must be the same for all new hires to be fair and consistent.

    One topic covered whether or not an employer may delay the start date for an applicant who exhibits symptoms of COVID-19. The EEOC specified that any person who has symptoms should not be in the workplace. Start dates can be delayed as necessary. If a position must be filled immediately, organizations may withdraw an offer of employment.

    Accommodations

    Within the EEOC guidance, the need to accommodate individuals with hardships and disabilities was addressed. It said there may be “reasonable accommodations that could offer protection to an individual whose disability puts him at greater risk from COVID-19 and who therefore requests such actions to eliminate possible exposure.”

    A few of the questions they covered included:

    If all employees are telecommuting, should an employer postpone discussing requests to accommodate individuals with disabilities until they need to return to work? The answer was not necessarily. Employers were told they may give higher priority to requests for accommodations that are required for remote workers and that they should acquire all the information possible to help make hiring decisions.
    If an employee requests an accommodation for a medical condition, may the employer ask for additional details to determine if the condition is a disability? The answer was yes. The employer may request documentation or ask questions to help determine if the person has a disability as defined by the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).
    Do the ADA and the Rehabilitation Act apply to applicants or employees who are classified as "critical infrastructure workers" or "essential critical workers" by the CDC? The answer was yes, these Acts apply regardless of the worker’s designation.

    Returning To Work

    As states start to relax Shelter In Place orders, organizations will ask employees to return to their workplaces. The EEOC covered several topics regarding this process.

    First, they stated that employers may test employees for COVID-19, including asking health-related questions and taking temperatures. This must be done in accordance with CDC guidelines. It further mentioned that employers should treat all employees equally.

    Next they covered requests from employees regarding protective gear. Some employees may request accommodations due to disabilities or for religious reasons. The EEOC stated that employers should: “discuss the request and provide the modification or an alternative if feasible and not an undue hardship on the operation of the employer's business under the ADA or Title VII.”

    Learn More

    The EEOC guidance covered various other topics. Read the full document.

    Backgrounds Online Is Here For You

    Our team is working remotely and ready to provide background checks that help you make informed decisions and create safe workplaces. We're also keeping up with current best practices and providing educational resources each week. Follow this blog to get updates and stay connected.

    When you’re ready to screen potential employees, contractors or volunteers, please contact us. We are currently available Monday through Friday from 7am to 6pm PT.

  • Expedite Your Screening Process During The Pandemic​

    April 28, 2020
    Backgrounds Online can help your organization hire quickly and efficiently during the pandemic so you can continue to meet customer demands.
    Backgrounds Online | April 28, 2020


    Backgrounds Online can help your organization hire quickly and efficiently during the pandemic so you can continue to meet customer demands.

    Applicant Self-Submittal

    Before starting any background check, a Consumer Reporting Agency needs a full name, date of birth and other details that help identify the subject. Backgrounds Online empowers your organization to have the people you screen send their information directly to us. Our Applicant Self-Submittal tool saves time for your human resources department and helps prevent data entry errors that could cause unnecessary delays.

    If you’re screening multiple people, take advantage of our bulk invite feature. This proprietary technology can send hundreds of background check invitations in just a few minutes. Benefits of this service include:
    • The people you want to screen are notified instantly.
    • Every applicant sees and must sign federally mandated disclosure and authorization documents along with any required state notices.
    • All documents are signed and saved electronically.
    • Once we receive an applicant’s information, our team starts processing their background check right away.
    • If we need additional information, we have a direct line of communication with the applicant.

    Set Your Email Preferences

    When you create an account with us, you can visit your Profile page to manage email preferences. We offer useful notifications, including:

    Applicant Submission. When you use our self-submittal service, we notify you the moment an applicant completes the process so you know their background investigation is underway.

    Applicant Summary. This email shows you which applicants have not yet submitted their information to us. You can send a follow-up screening request to any candidate as a reminder.

    Order Submitted. If you provide an applicant’s information yourself, this email confirms we received your order.

    Report Completed. You will be notified when every background check is finished and ready to view.

    Review And Update Your Hiring Policies

    With social distancing and related laws in place to help slow the spread of COVID-19, now is a good time to review your hiring and screening policies. Your organization may need to make temporary addendums as you bring on people during the pandemic. You can cover questions such as:
    • If a background check component will be delayed, will you make hiring decisions based on the information that is available?
    • If you hire someone after reviewing a partial background check and later learn the candidate has a conviction, how will you handle the re-assessment process?
    • If a conviction is potentially disqualifying, are you prepared to initiate the federally mandated adverse action process before terminating employment?

    Consult with legal counsel regarding policy updates related to the pandemic. While some regulations for employers have been modified to help businesses function, every organization must still comply with federal, state and local laws.

    Keep In Touch

    Backgrounds Online partners with our clients throughout the hiring process. We are working remotely and available via phone, email or live chat Monday through Friday from 7am to 5pm PT. Our team is also developing educational resources to help employers navigate through these difficult times:
    Get information about court closures.
    Learn about hiring remote workers.
    Read recommendations gleaned from PBSA (Professional Background Screening Association) webinars: See part 1 / See part 2.
    Connect with us on LinkedIn.

    Running Background Checks

    Background screening remains essential for every organization that brings on employees, contractors or volunteers. Our team can help you customize background check packages, find educational resources and accelerate your process during the pandemic and beyond. When you are ready to begin, please contact us for expert assistance.

  • Courthouse Closures During The Pandemic​

    April 21, 2020
    Backgrounds Online is leveraging every tool at our disposal to provide current, accurate reports despite challenges such as temporary court closures.
    Backgrounds Online | April 21, 2020


    Backgrounds Online is leveraging every tool at our disposal to provide current, accurate reports despite challenges such as temporary court closures.

    Temporary Courthouse Closures

    Organizations and individuals throughout the country are doing their part to slow the spread of COVID-19. Many businesses, schools and government agencies are temporarily closed to protect employees and the public. This includes multiple courthouses, particularly those in urban areas.

    During this difficult time, many businesses must continue to operate. Numerous organizations are hiring rapidly to meet the needs of consumers. An essential part of this process is running comprehensive criminal background checks.

    Background reports show hiring managers if a candidate has violent or other serious convictions that could make them ineligible for employment. They help accelerate the decision-making process. So how can employers proceed if a county court from which they need records is currently closed?

    Accessing Criminal Records

    Backgrounds Online is here to provide assistance and help our client’s navigate through unexpected obstacles that arise during the pandemic. If a county court closure is likely affect the turnaround time for a background check, our team will:
    • Inform clients of a potential delay.
    • Check for current, accurate records via a court-operated portal or other means.
    • Consider alternative data sources such as statewide or nationwide criminal searches.

    When Records Aren’t Available

    The length of most court closures is unknown. Each county has their own timeline regarding when they will re-open. We anticipate courts in rural areas opening first but safety will remain a top priority in determining when that will begin.

    If a background check cannot be completed due to a courthouse closure, employers can hire candidates based on results that are available now. Hiring managers should inform their new employees that a second screening will be requested when possible. It should also clear that the results may be used to help the employer decide if each person is eligible for ongoing employment.

    As Courts Re-Open

    Backgrounds Online is actively processing background checks. As courts re-open, we will work diligently to obtain records that were not previously accessible.

    Some businesses may keep their background checks open until a particular court re-opens. Others might close reports and request follow-up screenings in the future. Backgrounds Online is staying up-to-date with court closures and providing updates in another blog entry. We are also watching for news about courts re-opening and will share this information as they do. This empowers employers to know when background checks can be completed or new reports can be run.

    Running Background Checks During The Pandemic

    Organizations that are bringing on new employees still rely on background checks to get data that helps them make informed decisions and maintain safe work environments. Backgrounds Online continues to operate and partner with our clients throughout their hiring process.

    Our expert team is available Monday through Friday from 7am to 5pm PT. We can help your organization create custom screening packages for any position and make accommodations for courthouse and other closures. If you have questions about anything related to screening, please contact us.

    We hope you are safe and continuing to operate during this challenging time. Stay tuned to our blog for information about background screening during the pandemic.

  • The PBSA Continued A Discussion On Screening In The Pandemic

    April 14, 2020
    A panel of experts shared advice and opinions about running background checks and hiring employees during the pandemic.
    Backgrounds Online | April 14, 2020


    A panel of experts shared advice and opinions about running background checks and hiring employees during the pandemic.

    PBSA Webinar – Part 2

    The Professional Background Screening Association (PBSA – formerly the NAPBS) promotes a “high level of ethics and performance standards for the screening industry.” They establish best practices, create practical guidance materials and offer accreditation services for Consumer Reporting Agencies (CRAs).

    To help employers and CRAs update their hiring and screening processes during the pandemic, the PBSA assembled a group of experts to share advice in a 2-part webinar series. Here are some takeaways from the second webinar:

    Follow-Up Screenings

    Courts, businesses and educational facilities throughout the country are closing temporarily to comply with social distancing regulations. We do not know how long these entities will be unavailable. If any components in a background check are likely to take several weeks or longer to complete, employers may opt to close their order and run a follow-up screening when possible.

    In our blog entry about part 1 of the PBSA webinar, we noted that if a component cannot be closed due to the pandemic, we inform our clients so they may proceed accordingly. Some employers will make business decisions based on information that is currently available. Others might opt to make conditional offers contingent on the results of a follow-up screening.

    Transparency

    Employers that conduct follow-up screenings should be fully transparent. This includes:
    • Informing candidates that hiring or other business decisions are based on a partial background checks.
    • Explaining that follow-up screenings will be required.
    • Adding that final decisions will be based on forthcoming reports.

    Authorization For Follow-Up Screenings

    PBSA webinar presenters discussed the topic of consumer authorization for follow-up background checks. There is no precedent that specifies how employers should handle this scenario. Panelists suggested that best practice might be to provide each person who will be re-screened with new disclosure and authorization forms. This is the same process employers follow when running annual or ongoing background screenings for their employees.

    Panelists also discussed the possibility of finding adverse information in follow-up background checks. If a criminal search could not be completed initially, then employers may learn a person they hired on a contingent basis has a conviction which might warrant dismissal. Before taking action, it is essential for employers to follow the federally mandated adverse action process. This gives each candidate an opportunity to review their report and file a dispute if they feel something is incorrect.

    How Backgrounds Online Is Helping During The Pandemic

    Backgrounds Online attends PBSA conferences, participates in best practices meetings and keeps up with educational materials such as the webinar about background screening during the pandemic. We’re proud to be involved with and accredited by the PBSA. We are here for you to provide unsurpassable service, education, product standards and business practices. To help employers during the pandemic we are:
    • Maintaining a remote workforce to handle background check requests.
    • Informing clients if a criminal search or other component cannot be completed right away due to a pandemic-related closure.
    • Continuously monitoring laws and best practices for employment screening.
    • Updating a blog entry with information about court closures and other topics that affect employers.

    Hiring During The Pandemic

    Many industries are hiring to meet consumer demands during the pandemic. Background screening remains a critical part of this process. If your organization is bringing on employees, contractors or volunteers, please contact us.

    Our experienced team can help you customize background check packages based on your specific needs, keep you aware of court and other closures and act as an extension of your business as you continue to operate during this difficult time. We are available to assist you Monday through Friday from 7am to 5pm PT.

  • ​The PBSA Discussed Background Screening During The Pandemic

    April 07, 2020
    To help employers and Consumer Reporting Agencies, the PBSA is hosting a two-part webinar about screening during the COVID-19 pandemic.
    Backgrounds Online | April 07, 2020


    To help employers and Consumer Reporting Agencies, the PBSA is hosting a two-part webinar about screening during the COVID-19 pandemic.

    PBSA Webinar – Part 1

    The Professional Background Screening Association (PBSA – formerly the NAPBS) represents the “interest of companies offering employment and tenant background screening services” and promotes a “high level of ethics and performance standards for the screening industry.” On Friday, April 3, they presented the first of a two-part webinar featuring input from attorneys who specialize in background screening. They discussed important topics about using background checks for employment purposes during the COVID-19 pandemic.

    Key takeaways from Part 1 included:

    The FCRA Still Matters

    One of the presenters mentioned that a client suggested the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) is not relevant during the pandemic. The attorney stressed this is incorrect. Employer must still:
    • Have a permissible purpose to run background checks.
    • Give candidates clear, conspicuous, standalone disclosure and authorization documents.
    • Follow the adverse action process.
    • Comply with relevant federal, state and local laws.

    Consumer Reporting Agencies (CRAs) must still:
    • Take steps to provide accurate data.
    • Re-investigate background checks if a consumer dispute is filed.
    • Comply with relevant federal, state and local laws.

    Relying On Background Checks During The Pandemic

    Employers use background checks to help make informed employment decisions and create safe workplaces. Many organizations are bringing on numerous employees to assist with increased demand caused by the pandemic. They continue to rely on data from background reports to determine if a candidate is qualified, eligible and not a risk to the business, existing staff or public.

    Due to court and other closures, some components of a background check might take longer than usual to finish. CRAs may utilize various sources to complete reports and help clients as they strive to hire in a timely manner. The PBSA suggested CRAs could use alternative data sources and share partial reports if some components will be delayed.

    Consumer Disputes

    If something in a background check causes an employer to consider an adverse action, such as not hiring an applicant, they must first send a pre-adverse notice. A copy of the background report and other documents must be included. The recipient is allotted time to review and file a dispute if they believe something is incorrect.

    When a consumer disputes, the CRA that produced their background check re-investigates to confirm or disprove the validity of contested records. CRAs have 30 days to complete this task. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) stated that this time-frame will be extended to 45 days if “the consumer provides additional information that is relevant to the investigation during the 30-day period.”

    Employers should be aware that, in some cases, the consumer dispute process may take longer than usual.

    How Backgrounds Online Is Helping

    The team at Backgrounds Online is keeping up with changes caused by the pandemic. We’re working diligently to help our clients identify strong candidates during this difficult time.

    We are:
    • Providing access to partial background checks. If one or more components will be delayed due to the pandemic, we make the rest of the report available for review. This empowers employers to see most of the information they need during the hiring process. We also explain why a component is unavailable and send a follow-up notification once it’s complete.
    • Creating educational resources that show employers what to expect. For example, we regularly update a blog entry about court and other closures that could delay background check orders.
    • Tuning in to webinars like those presented by the PBSA that discuss current best practices for our industry.
    • Maintaining a remote workforce to offer background screening solutions at all times.

    Running Background Checks

    If your organization is bringing on employees, contractors or volunteers, then it remains crucial to run comprehensive background checks. These reports can be fully customized to accommodate specific requirements, court closures or other pandemic-related disruptions.

    When you’re ready to order background reports, please contact us. Our experienced and professional team is here to assist you and answer your screening questions. We’re available Monday through Friday from 7am to 5pm PT.

  • COVID-19 Resources From The EEOC, FTC And SHRM​​

    March 31, 2020
    To maintain operations and help prevent the spread of Coronavirus, many employers are building a remote workforce.
     
     
    Backgrounds Online | March 31, 2020
     

       
    The EEOC, FTC And SHRM are working hard to create resources for employers and consumers during the global COVID-19 pandemic.

    SHRM Resources

    The Society For Human Resource Management (SHRM) is the “foremost expert, convener and thought leader on issues impacting today’s evolving workplaces.” They have been actively developing educational materials to help employers as they face new challenges brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic.

    SHRM encourages employers to offer telecommuting opportunities as much as possible. Their website notes that: “Employers are responsible for the health and safety of their workers and customers, and part of that duty of care is to do your part to prevent and respond to infectious diseases in the community.”

    Human Resources professionals who have SHRM memberships can take advantage of their articles, How-To Guides, Q&As and more. They cover topics such as:

    - Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA) Model Poster/Notice
    - Communicating with Employees
    - How to Handle Communicable Diseases in the Workplace
    - Temporary Telecommuting Arrangements
    - Temporary Suspension of Nonessential Business Travel
    - Stop the Spread of Germs at Work

    Learn more and see additional resources by visiting their website.

    EEOC Resources

    The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) is a federal agency that enforces anti-discrimination laws. EEOC employees are currently telecommuting and available to assist consumers. They have also expanded their network to handle a heavy workload.

    Read a Press Release regarding their efforts to provide service without interruption.

    FTC Resources

    The Federal Trade Commission is an agency that protects consumers and enforces the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA). They are also heavily focused on identifying and shutting down scams related to the Coronavirus.

    Their entire staff is working remotely and available to review complaints about potential COVID-19 scams, alleged FCRA violations and related subjects. To learn more, visit the FTC site.

    How Backgrounds Online Is Helping

    Backgrounds Online is continuing to operate during the pandemic. Our team is working remotely to provide essential background screening solutions that help your organization make informed decisions and build strong teams.

    The entire background screening industry is affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. Courthouses throughout the country are temporarily closing to help reduce the spread of the Coronavirus. We created a list of these closures and are updating it daily. Keep up with this vital information via our blog entry: COVID-19: What To Expect From Backgrounds Online​.

    Many employers are asking employees to work remotely. This is done to help protect communities while continuing to provide essential services. Several industries are bringing on new people and adapting to handle their entire hiring and onboarding process online. Learn more via our blog entry Hiring Remote Workers During The COVID-19 Pandemic.

    The team at Backgrounds Online is here for you and continuing to offer unparalleled levels of service, product and trust. If you have questions or need assistance with background screening, please contact us. We are fully staffed and ready to serve you via email, live chat or at 800-838-4804 Monday through Friday from 7am to 5pm PT.

    Stay safe and feel free to reach out to us as we work through this difficult time together.

  • Hiring Remote Workers During The COVID-19 Pandemic​

    March 24, 2020
    To maintain operations and help prevent the spread of Coronavirus, many employers are building a remote workforce.
     
     
    Backgrounds Online | March 24, 2020
     

       
    To maintain operations and help prevent the spread of Coronavirus, many employers are building a remote workforce.

    A Telecommuting Staff

    As businesses around the globe develop plans on how to operate during the COVID-19 pandemic, many are opting to employ remote workers. This may become even more common as social distancing policies spread throughout the United States and abroad.

    Human Resources professionals can oversee their entire hiring and onboarding process online. They conduct video interviews, use training software and request background checks from accredited Consumer Reporting Agencies (CRAs).

    Today’s technology empowers employers to find and hire people from other states and countries. These tools also make it easy to manage an entire workforce without the need for in-person contact. Employers can use them to help prevent the spread of the Coronavirus.

    This might be a major change for many hiring managers. It is important to prepare for success.

    Interviewing Tips From Experts

    CNBC published an article about recruiting remote workers. They included some great interview tips from experts at Glassdoor and Modern Hire:

    Be Thorough. Review resumes and other relevant information in advance. Prepare questions for each candidate. Familiarize yourself with the program(s) you’ll use to conduct online interviews. Make sure the candidate’s resume (and any other documentation) is close by when you begin so you can reference it during your conversations.

    Avoid Distractions. All the participants in an interview will likely be at home. Before you begin, remove or shut down potential distractions such as cell phones, tablets and other electronic devices. Having a clear, quiet workspace will help ensure the proceedings are smooth and professional.

    Promote Your Brand. Give each candidate a consistent message about your brand, company mission and values. This will help them understand your operation and determine if they might be a good fit.

    Allow Time. It can be easy to miss pauses and other social cues when communicating online. Give people time to take in your questions or comments and respond.

    If conducting interviews online seems like a challenge, try a few practice runs with a colleague or friend first. With a little time and effort, this method of communication will become second nature.

    Background Screening Candidates

    During these difficult times, running background checks remains an essential part of the hiring process. Employers can request and review background reports:
    - Online
    - From their preferred Applicant Tracking System (ATS)
    - Via XML

    CRAs, such as Backgrounds Online, will continue to provide essential data that helps organizations build strong teams and maintain safe working conditions. It is important to note that some of the services CRAs utilize regularly are currently unavailable. To help you keep up with court closures and other circumstances that affect the entire background screening industry, please check our regularly updated blog entry: COVID-19: What To Expect From Backgrounds Online.

    We’re Here For You

    As we all attempt to navigate the many changes that are brought on by COVID-19, the team at Backgrounds Online remains dedicated to providing superior service and products. If you have questions about screening remote candidates or anything else related to background checks, please contact us for expert assistance.