Backgrounds Online Blog

  • Illinois Employers May Not Ask About Salary Histor​y

    September 17, 2019
    The Governor of IL signed a bill that updated the Equal Act Pay of 2003 and prohibits employers from paying employees different wages due to their gender or race.
    Backgrounds Online | September 17, 2019


    The Governor of IL signed a bill that updated the Equal Act Pay of 2003 and prohibits employers from paying employees different wages due to their gender or race.

    About The Bill

    In 2003, Illinois implemented an Equal Pay Act to prevent wage discrimination. It stated that employers may not “discriminate between employees on the basis of sex by paying wages to an employee at a rate less than the rate at which the employer pays wages to another employee of the opposite sex for the same or substantially similar work on jobs the performance of which requires equal skill, effort, and responsibility, and which are performed under similar working conditions.”

    House Bill 834 (HB834) updates that law and prohibits employers from paying employees who do comparable work different salaries due to their gender, race or other protected factors. To help accomplish this, HB834 prohibits employers from asking applicants about their current or previous salary. This includes all wages and other forms of compensation. The bill states that employers may not require an applicant to currently earn a specific salary level to be eligible for a position.

    According to HB834, if a job seeker voluntarily discloses their current salary, the employer is still prohibited from using that information when determining what salary and other compensation to offer.

    HB834 also stipulates that employees are allowed to discuss their wages with co-workers. If an employee chooses to do this, the employer may not discharge or otherwise retaliate against that person in any way. It further specifies that an individual who has access to compensation amounts for all employees may not discuss such information unless they are granted permission from each person involved.

    Exceptions

    Employers may provide varying levels of compensation for employees who do comparable work under certain circumstances. They include:
    · A merit system.
    · A system that measures “earnings by quantity or quality of production.”
    · A seniority system.
    · To accommodate the cost of living based on geographical location.

    Violations

    Illinois employers who violate HB834 could be subjected to penalties:
    · An employee who earned less than others that do comparable work may be able to recover the amount they were underpaid.
    · Employers may be liable for additional compensatory damages if they are found to have acted with malice or reckless indifference.
    · Reasonable costs and attorney fees may also be passed on to an employer for confirmed violations.

    Read the bill.

    Salary Bans Are Becoming Common

    We’ve seen several states and cities pass laws that prohibit employers from asking candidates about their salary. The goal is always to prevent wage discrimination based on gender, ethnicity and other protected factors.

    If a person is already receiving a lower rate of pay due to a discriminatory factor, that situation is likely to continue if a prospective employer bases an offer on the individual’s current earnings. Best practice is for employers to not rely on an applicant’s salary history when determining compensation, even if no law requires them to do so.

    Keeping Up With Relevant State Laws

    Every employer must be aware of and compliant with laws that are active where they operate. We recommend documenting your hiring and background screening policies and keeping them updated. Consult with your legal counsel to determine which laws are applicable for you.

    Backgrounds Online endeavors to help educate our clients with information about new and upcoming laws. We also offer compliant forms and background check packages that can be customized based on your specific needs. When you’re ready to run background checks on applicants, contractors or volunteers, please contact us. Our highly trained staff is here to assist you Monday through Friday from 5am to 6pm PT.

  • 7-Eleven To Pay Nearly $2M For Alleged FCRA Violations​

    September 10, 2019
    A class action lawsuit against 7-11 claimed the convenience store chain did not properly disclose their intent to run background checks.
    Backgrounds Online | September 10, 2019


    A class-action lawsuit against 7-11 claimed the convenience store chain did not properly disclose their intent to run background checks.

    About The Lawsuit

    7-Eleven was hit with a class-action lawsuit that alleged the employer failed to follow FCRA regulations during their hiring process. Specifically, the suit claimed 7-Eleven neglected to provide job seekers with compliant disclosure documents. The Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) stipulates that a disclosure must be a clear, conspicuous and standalone document that informs the recipient an employer wishes to run a background check on them. It cannot contain confusing language or any additional content.

    According to the suit, the disclosure 7-Eleven provided included information about state laws, details about the Consumer Reporting Agency that would perform a background investigation and a “blanket authorization allowing the disclosure of information directly to 7-Eleven.” This goes against the FCRA mandate for disclosures.

    7-Eleven Agrees To A Settlement

    As the case proceeded, 7-Eleven agreed to a settlement. They will pay $1,972,500 to the participants, of which there are approximately 50,000. This settlement was thought to be the best option for the company as the case appeared to show the employer was “willfully” violating the FCRA.

    The Importance Of A Proper Disclosure

    Every employer must follow federal laws, such as the FCRA, and applicable state laws. Not doing so can lead to lawsuits like the one against 7-Eleven. Employers who settle or are found to violate these laws may be required to pay large fines.

    In recent history, we’ve seen numerous lawsuits against employers for similar violations. This can be a massive issue for large organizations. Employers are likely to follow the same procedures for hundreds or thousands of applicants. This can result in class-action lawsuits with hundreds or thousands of plaintiffs. Luckily, it’s easy for employers to remain compliant with FCRA laws.

    Takeaway For Employers

    Before running a background check, every employer must provide the applicants with a standalone disclosure and authorization document. Both must be concise and devoid of any additional content. Backgrounds Online provides sample forms that our clients can use and customize as needed. Learn more about disclosures.

    We do not offer legal advice, but we do provide educational resources that can help during your hiring process. Visit our Education Center for more information. We also commonly recommend that every employer document their hiring and screening policies. They should be reviewed and approved by legal counsel to ensure they cover all relevant laws where you operate. Each person who is involved in hiring should have access to the final document.

    When you’re ready to run background checks, the team at Backgrounds Online can help make the process smooth, transparent and fair. Our system makes it easy to fully customize screening packages for any type of position and we provide sample forms for compliance purposes. If you have questions or need assistance, please contact us. We’re available via phone, email or chat Monday through Friday from 5am to 6pm PT.

  • Madison Square Garden’s $1.3M Background Screening Settlement​

    September 03, 2019
    The employer agreed to pay $1.3 million to settle a class action lawsuit regarding its background screening practices.
    Backgrounds Online | September 03, 2019


    The employer agreed to pay $1.3 million to settle a class-action lawsuit regarding its background screening practices.

    About The Lawsuit

    A class-action lawsuit filed by Clint Millien and Felipe Kelly claimed that Madison Square Garden was utilizing discriminatory hiring practices. The case made two claims against the employer:

    The first alleged that Madison Square Garden denied employment to candidates without providing a copy of their background check. The Fair Credit Reporting Act, a federal law that protects consumers, stipulates that if an employer wishes to take an adverse action based on the results of a background report, the subject must first receive a copy and be given time to file a dispute if necessary. This is done to help ensure that the employer is only considering accurate, current information that can legally

    A second claim alleged that Madison Square Garden had a policy of revoking conditional job offers for applicants who did not disclose a criminal history. This was said to have a “disparate impact on minority applicants.”

    Upon reviewing the claims, Madison Square Garden agreed to settle the case for $1.3 million.

    $1.3 Million Settlement

    The settlement money will be disbursed in the following manner:
    · Each person who was not employed by Madison Square Garden due to a record on their background check will receive $200.
    · People who are able to show they were eligible for hire and would likely have been selected if they had disclosed a criminal record initially will be awarded $1,700 each.
    · $519,800 will be paid as relief to putative members of the class-action lawsuit.
    · An additional $750,000 will be allotted to cover attorney’s fees.

    Madison Square Garden Makes Other Concessions

    In addition to the payout, Madison Square Garden agreed to make changes to their hiring policies. The employer will:
    · Only require candidates to disclose convictions that happened within the last five years.
    · Not revoke conditional job offers because a candidate did not disclose a warrant.
    · Not require candidates to disclose marijuana convictions, unless it was for an intention to sell.
    · Give each applicant a copy of their background check report before denying employment. Job seekers will then have an opportunity to dispute the results of their report if they believe something is inaccurate.
    · Reduce the amount of time that people are required to wait to apply for positions after previously applying.

    Takeaway For Employers

    Employers throughout the United States should be aware of ongoing efforts to help individuals with minor or outdated criminal convictions find employment today. This is part of a Second Chance Movement that includes laws that prohibit employers from asking about convictions on job applications, create easier methods to have old criminal records expunged and more. The primary goals are to help people who are looking for a fresh start after serving their time, reduce the rate of recidivism and give employers more options to find qualified workers.

    Every employer is still encouraged to run comprehensive criminal background checks on all candidates before making any hiring decision. While millions of Americans have minor records that would not make them ineligible for most positions, violent, sexual or other serious convictions do disqualify a person. Employers must be able to show they are performing due diligence to only hire safe, trustworthy individuals who do not pose a risk to other employees, customers or the public.

    When you’re hiring, a background check will give you the facts you need to make informed decisions and create a safe workplace. The team at Backgrounds Online can help you customize background screening packages that are perfectly tailored for any position. Contact us for expert assistance Monday through Friday from 5am to 6pm PT.

  • Rhode Island Passed An Equal Pay Law​

    August 27, 2019
    RI state legislators approved a bill that enhances existing “Fair Pay” laws by prohibiting employers from asking applicants about their salary history.
    Backgrounds Online | August 27, 2019


    RI state legislators approved a bill that enhances existing “Fair Pay” laws by prohibiting employers from asking applicants about their salary history.

    About The Bill

    The bill states that RI employers may not “pay any of its employees at a wage rate less than the rate paid to employees of another race, color, or gender for equal work.” It specifies that employers cannot rely on an applicant’s wage history or require a job seeker to divulge compensation information. If an applicant volunteers their current salary, the employer may use that information if they wish to increase the level of compensation they previously offered.

    There are exceptions to this law. Employers may adjust wages based on:
    · A seniority system.
    · A merit system.
    · A system that measures earnings by quantity or quality of production.
    · An individual’s level of experience, education or training.
    · Geographical location (to adjust for the cost of living).
    · Other business-related factors.

    Support For The Bill

    Senator Gayle Goldin sponsored the bill and believes it will strengthen existing laws that intend to eliminate wage discrimination in Rhode Island. Goldin said: “Passing this bill is not going to resolve the wage gap on its own, rather, this bill in combination with so many things we have worked on... is the way we will address the gender wage gap.”

    A vote occurred at the Senate and the bill passed with 32 in favor and 4 against. It goes into effect on July 1, 2020. Read the full text.

    Penalties For Violations

    The bill establishes civil penalties for violations. Employers may be liable to pay up to $100 per violation to an aggrieved party.

    When investigating a complaint, the director of the court will: “consider the size of the employer's business, the good faith of the employer, the gravity of the violation, the history of previous violations, and whether or not the violation was an innocent mistake or willful.”

    Fighting Wage Discrimination

    Numerous states have passed laws to help eliminate wage gaps based on gender and other protected factors. A big part of this typically involves prohibiting employers from asking applicants about their previous salary. Millions of Americans currently earn less than others who do comparable work under comparable circumstances. When employers rely on salary history to determine what compensation to offer, this issue continues to persist.

    Best practice is to offer equal pay to employees who do equal work (with some exceptions as mentioned above). Employers should also be aware of any specific wage-related laws where they operate. Contact legal counsel to help ensure your practices are fair and in accordance with relevant laws.

    Stay Compliant During Your Hiring Process

    The team at Backgrounds Online makes efforts to keep up with new and upcoming laws. We publish blog entries, write Newsletters and provide other educational resources to help your compliance efforts. Please note that we do not and cannot provide legal counsel or advice.

    When you’re ready to run background checks that help you make informed hiring decisions and create a safe workplace, please contact us. Our team is here to assist you Monday through Friday from 5am to 6pm PT.

  • Colorado Passed A Salary History Ban​

    August 20, 2019
    In an attempt to fight wage discrimination, CO passed a bill that prohibits employers from asking applicants about their salary history.
    Backgrounds Online | August 20, 2019


    In an attempt to fight wage discrimination, CO passed a bill that prohibits employers from asking applicants about their salary history.

    About The Bill

    Colorado Senate Bill 85 (SB85) is known as the Equal Work Act. It prohibits employers from discriminating against applicants and employees because of their gender.

    Women are commonly paid less than their male counterparts even when they do comparable work under comparable circumstances. When employers rely on a person’s previous salary to determine what level of compensation to offer, this issue tends to continue. An individual who is currently making less than others due to their gender or another protected factor is therefore unlikely to receive the compensation amount they deserve.

    To help remedy this, SB85 states that Colorado employers:
    · Are prohibited from discriminating against any employee or job seeker due to their gender.
    · May not pay one employee less than another if they do substantially similar work under similar circumstances.
    · May not ask applicants about their current or previous salary.
    - If they are aware of a person’s salary, then they may not use that information to help determine what level of compensation to offer.
    · Are prohibited from discriminating or retaliating against candidates for not divulging their salary history.

    Read the full bill.

    Exceptions

    SB85 does provide some exceptions to these laws. Employers may adjust compensation amounts based on bona fide business factors including:
    · Seniority.
    · A merit system.
    · The cost of living based on geographic location.
    · Applicants having varying levels of experience and education.
    · An internal system that measures earnings by quantity or quality of production.
    · Whether or not travel is required for the position.

    What Colorado Employers Should Know

    Governor Jared Polis signed Senate Bill 85 in May, 2019. It goes into effect on January 1, 2021. Employers in the Centennial State should be aware of this law and prepared for compliance.

    Backgrounds Online recommends that every employer maintain written hiring and background screening policies. Organizations in Colorado may wish to update their internal documentation to show they are planning for compliance with SB85. Every employer is further encouraged to seek advice from legal counsel when creating and documenting these policies to ensure they comply with relevant federal, state and local laws.

    Anti Wage Discrimination Laws Are Spreading

    Employers throughout the nation should be aware that laws which prohibit asking applicants about their salary history are becoming more common. We’ve seen them implemented in multiple areas and more are expected to be passed. Best practice is to get ahead of these laws by not asking job seekers about their current compensation and taking steps to ensure every part of your hiring process is fair and transparent.

    We are dedicated to providing compliant background screening forms, useful resources and background check packages that can be customized for any position. When you are ready to run background checks for applicants, contractors, volunteers or employees, please contact us. Our expert team is available to assist you Monday through Friday from 5am to 6pm PT.

  • An Alleged War Criminal Drove For Uber​

    August 13, 2019
    A man who has been accused of committing torture and mass executions was allowed to drive for both Uber and Lyft.
    Backgrounds Online | August 13, 2019


    A man who has been accused of committing torture and mass executions was allowed to drive for both Uber and Lyft.

    The Alleged War Criminal

    Yusuf Abdi Ali was a military commander in Somali many years ago. He stands accused of heinous war crimes including torture and mass murder. Some time back, he left Somali and relocated to Virginia. Reporters from CNN discovered he was working there as an Uber driver. He’d also done some driving for Lyft.

    While Ali has not been convicted of any crimes, there are numerous allegations about him from a time when he served under Siad Barre. CNN conducted an investigation and reported that despite the many accusations against him, Ali was allowed to drive passengers for two well-known transportation companies.

    Since CNN’s report was released, both Uber and Lyft have publicly announced that they were implementing stronger background screening policies. This includes running comprehensive criminal records searches and annual screenings that show if a current driver incurs a new record. Uber also released a statement to say they are establishing a policy that prohibits the hiring of drivers who have been charged with serious offenses.

    CNN Spoke With Ali

    Ali told a CNN representative that it was easy to get a job with Uber. He was asked to authorize a background check, but within a couple days was cleared for duty. After working for about 18 months, Ali earned a 4.80 rating and was listed as a “Pro Diamond Driver.”

    CNN also discovered that Ali is fighting a civil suit from a man who claims to have been one of his victims. Farhan Mohamoud Tani Warfaa alleges that Ali tortured and shot him. He claims that his family bribed other soldiers to spare his life. This case has been filed in a Virginia federal court. The suit alleges that Ali created a "brutal counterinsurgency campaign that refused to distinguish between civilians and combatants."

    Uber And Lyft Respond

    After CNN released their story, Uber suspended Ali’s access to the Driver’s app. Though he had not driven for them in quite some time, Lyft permanently banned Ali from their platform.

    A spokesperson from Lyft commented on this story: "The safety of our community is our top priority and we are horrified by the allegations described. Before giving a ride on the Lyft platform, all driver-applicants are screened for criminal offenses and driving incidents in the United States."

    The Urgency Of Comprehensive Background Checks

    Uber has implemented stronger background screening policies in recent times. Stories like the one from CNN cause people to wonder if their practices are strict enough. A representative who is involved in Uber’s background screening process commented that their reports only include “criminal records that have been adjudicated in a court of law” and would not contain “pending civil litigation due to its subjective nature."

    Hiring someone who has a serious criminal history could result in a loss of trust for any brand. It is essential to be able to show that your business performed due diligence by running comprehensive background checks. These reports help employers determine a candidate’s eligibility and qualifications. They also inform the employer if an applicant has violent or otherwise serious criminal convictions.

    If you need to run background checks to protect your organization, please contact us. Our experienced team can help you build custom screening packages that help you make informed decisions and create a safe work environment. We are available Monday through Friday from 5am to 6pm PT.

  • Are You Following Second Chance Laws?​

    August 6, 2019
    Multiple states are cracking down on employers who violate Ban the Box and related laws.
    Backgrounds Online | August 06, 2019


    Multiple states are cracking down on employers who violate Ban the Box and related laws.

    About Second Chance Laws

    Millions of Americans have criminal records. While some are serious enough to make a person ineligible for many jobs, most convictions are minor. They are not cause to deny employment. However, until recently, people who had any type of criminal record often experienced great difficulty while attempting to re-enter the workforce.

    Second Chance Laws are created to help people with minor or outdated criminal records. Most prohibit employers from asking questions about arrests and convictions on job applications. People who are required to indicate they have a record at the beginning of a hiring process are unlikely to receive consideration, regardless of whether the conviction has any relevancy to the position.

    Every employer is still encouraged to run comprehensive background checks when hiring or making related business decisions. These reports show if a candidate has the necessary employment history, education and any mandatory licenses or credentials. They also show if the person has a serious conviction that indicates they may pose a risk to a business, customers or the public.

    Numerous states, cities and counties have implemented Ban the Box and other Second Chance laws. Employers are expected to follow them … but what happens if they do not? More locations are cracking down on organizations that violate these laws. New York and Massachusetts provide strong examples of this.

    Employers In New York

    New York has a law called The Fair Chance Act. It is a Ban the Box style law that prohibits employers from inquiring about an applicant’s criminal history until after a conditional offer is extended. NY employers are required to consider each conviction individually to assess whether or not it makes the applicant ineligible for hire.

    If an employer determines that a job seeker’s criminal history warrants revoking of a conditional offer, they must document why. The Empire State has some of the strictest Second Chance laws on the books. Employers who are found to violate those laws may be subjected to hefty penalties.

    In one notable case, a New York employer refused to re-hire a vocational counselor due to a felony from the 1990’s. The former employee sued and was granted $196,624. While this is the largest amount levied against an employer in New York, many others have faced similar situations and been fined for violating state law.

    Employers In Massachusetts

    Massachusetts implemented a Ban the Box bill known as An Act Relative to Criminal Justice Reform in 2010. It creates limits regarding when employers may ask about criminal records and what type of records they may consider. In 2019, the state government is actively pursuing organizations that are found to violate this law.

    The state’s Attorney General (AG) is said to have sent warning letters to various companies about potential violations. At least two employers have been required to pay $5,000 in fines for failure to adhere to Massachusetts’ Second Chance laws. The AG commented on these efforts: “Too many people who have paid their debt to society still face barriers to even landing an interview. These actions are an effort to give all job applicants a fair chance.”

    Prepare For Compliance

    Are Second Chance Laws active where you operate? If so, do you have policies in place to ensure compliance? Every employer should have written hiring and background screening policies. When applicable, they should include Second Chance laws. National employers may have various laws to contend with based on the locations where they operate.

    Best practice is to prepare for compliance by removing questions about criminal histories from all job applications and to consider relevant factors about convictions found in background checks. This includes how long ago an offense occurred, if it impacts the person’s ability to handle a position and whether or not the individual poses a threat to the company or public. While not every criminal record is enough to warrant denial of employment, employers must perform due diligence and avoid hiring individuals who are a known risk.

    If you’re ready to run background checks that help you make informed decisions and create a safe workplace, please contact us. Our experienced team makes efforts to keep up with relevant laws throughout the country and can help you build background screening packages that are ideal for any position. We are available to assist you Monday through Friday from 5am to 6pm PT.

  • Delta To Pay $2.3Million For An FCRA Lawsuit​

    July 30, 2019
    The airline was hit with a class action suit that consisted of around 44,100 members.
    Backgrounds Online | July 30, 2019


    The airline was hit with a class-action suit that consisted of around 44,100 members.

    About The Lawsuit

    A class-action lawsuit against Delta Air Lines alleged the employer did not provide compliant disclosure and authorization documents to job seekers. These documents inform the recipient that an employer wishes to run a background check on them and request written authorization. They are mandated by a federal law called the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA).

    This case is known as Schofield v. Delta Air Lines, Inc. According to the lawsuit, the forms provided by Delta were unclear and contained unnecessary information. These accusations represent alleged violations of FCRA laws.

    FCRA Compliant Disclosures

    The FCRA stipulates that disclosure and authorization documents must be clear and unambiguous. They may not contain any additional content or confusing language. These documents must be provided to and be signed by job seekers or employees before a background check can be run.

    Many employers add liability waivers, job requirements and other information on these forms. Having any unclear or additional text could lead to a class action suit like the one filed against Delta. We see numerous lawsuits because of this each year.

    If a background check will include information about the subject’s reputation, characteristics or related factors, then an investigative consumer report is required. In this case, a different type of disclosure is used. That form explains what type of information may be included in the background check report. It’s also important to note that California has specific requirements for disclosures.

    Delta Files For A Summary Judgment

    The case against Delta was heard at the San Francisco Superior Court. Afterwards, the employer requested a summary judgment on their behalf. Their reasoning was the allegations against them should be cleared due to a statute of limitations. This case began more than two years after the background screening of these plaintiffs occurred.

    Delta’s motion was not opposed and the airline reached a settlement. The total amount the airline will pay is $2.3 million. About 25 - 33% will go to the plaintiff’s counsel and the rest will be divided between the 44,100 or so class action members.

    What Employers Should Know

    Every employer should be aware of federal regulations regarding the background screening process. Before running a background check, an employer must provide the applicant, employee, volunteer or contractor with standalone disclosure and authorization documents. As many employers have learned the hard way, these documents must be clear and not contain any content other than what is needed to disclose the intent to run a background check and request consent.

    Backgrounds Online provides sample disclosure and authorization documents for our clients. They are concise and do not include any unnecessary language. Login to your account to download them and customize as needed.

    When you are ready to run compliant background checks for your organization, please contact us. We are available Monday through Friday from 5am to 6pm PT.

  • NY Wants Stri​cter Background Checks For All School Employees

    July 23, 2019
    To help protect students, New York introduced a bill that requires fingerprinting and background checks for every school employee.
    Backgrounds Online | July 23, 2019


    To help protect students, New York introduced a bill that requires fingerprinting and background checks for every school employee.

    About The Bill

    The New York Senate approved Bill 3335 (SB3335). It stipulates that all non-public and private elementary and secondary schools must require job seekers to authorize/pass a fingerprinting and criminal background check before they can be hired.

    The State Commissioner is creating a form for educational facilities to use during the hiring process. It asks the candidate to provide consent for a background screening and explains how any information returned could be used. If this bill is signed by the Governor, it would update hiring policies for every potential school employee in New York.

    According to the bill, an employee is defined as: “any prospective employee of a nonpublic or private elementary or secondary school or employee of a contracted service provider or worker placed within such school under a public assistance employment program for the provision of services to such school, its students or employees, directly or through contract, whereby such services performed by such person involve direct student contact.”

    The goal of this bill is to create stronger protections for students. One news source reported that the idea for the bill came from a terrifying situation in New Orleans. Allegedly, a teacher with two indecent exposure convictions was hired to work with children. No background check was run on him, so the school remained unaware of the individual’s criminal history and status as a registered sexual offender.

    SB3335 seeks to ensure that nothing like this can occur in New York. Read the text of this bill.

    Background Checks Are A Security Tool

    Employers run background checks for many reasons. One of the most important is to watch for serious criminal records. Hiring someone who has violent or sexual convictions cwould unnecessarily put your customers, employees and the public at risk.

    If your organization hired someone who had a serious conviction, like the teacher in New Orleans, it would lead to questions about your safety protocols. Running background checks shows you are performing due diligence and taking steps to avoid hiring risky candidates.

    Every background check can be customized to better suit the position for which you are hiring. For example: if a potential employee would work with children or another vulnerable population, then it is essential to run a comprehensive suite of criminal checks. This includes county, state and national searches as well as searches on sex offender registries.

    When You Are Hiring

    Before you bring on a new employee, contractor or volunteer, have them authorize a background screening. This protects you, your brand, your employees and the people you serve. Hiring someone with a serious criminal history could lead to a loss of trust in your organization as well as potential legal repercussions.

    When you ready to hire, please contact us. Our team is well-trained at creating background check packages for every type of position. We are available to assist you Monday through Friday from 5am to 6pm PT.

  • Alabama Passed A Bill To Prevent Wage Discrimination​

    July 16, 2019
    The state joins many others that are creating laws to help eliminate wage gaps based on gender, race and other protected factors.
    Backgrounds Online | July 16, 2019


    The state joins many others that are creating laws to help eliminate wage gaps based on gender, race and other protected factors.

    About The Bill

    Representative Adline Clarke sponsored Alabama House Bill 225 (HB225). She was inspired to do this after reading a book titled “Grace and Grit: My Fight for Equal Pay and Fairness at Goodyear and Beyond.”

    The bill prohibits employers from “paying any of its employees at wage rates less than those paid to employees of another sex or race for substantially similar work when viewed as a composite of skill, effort, and responsibility, as specified.”

    Governor Kay Ivey signed HB225 on June 11, 2019. It goes into effect August 1, 2019. Read the bill.

    Exceptions

    Employers have the right to offer varying wages for similar work if they can demonstrate the difference is based on any of these factors:
    • A seniority system.
    • A valid merit system.
    • A system that measures earnings by quantity or quality of production.
    • A bona fide factor other than sex or race, such as education, training or experience.

    These exceptions will not be applicable if an employee can demonstrate that an alternative business practice exists which would serve the same purpose without producing the wage differential.

    Employer Requirements

    HB225 requires Alabama employers to:
    • Pay comparable rates for comparable work.
    • Maintain records that include wages, job classifications and other terms of employment for at least three years.
    • Refrain from terminating or otherwise retaliating against an employee who files charges on the employer based on alleged wage discrimination.
    • Allow employees to discuss their compensation with co-workers and encourage others to exercise their rights under HB225.

    Violations

    If an employer violates any of the laws established by HB225, the person who was discriminated against may file a civil action. This could include asking the employer for “reinstatement and reimbursement for lost wages and work benefits caused by the acts of the employer, including interest thereon, as well as appropriate equitable relief.”

    Any employer that is found guilty of a violation is liable to the employee in the amount of the “wages, and interest thereon, of which the employee is deprived by reason of the violation, and an additional equal amount as liquidated damages.”

    Takeaway For Employers

    Anti-wage discrimination bills are becoming increasingly common in the United States. Employers in Alabama should be aware of HB225 and prepared for compliance before it goes into effect. Every employer should be aware that even if a similar bill does not currently exist where they operate, one could be introduced soon.

    Best practice is to not ask applicants about their salary history and to pay comparable wages for comparable work (unless a valid exemption exists, such as the ones listed above).

    When you’re ready to run background checks on applicants, volunteers, employees or contractors, please contact us. Our team is highly experienced at building compliant background screening packages for every industry. We are available to assist you Monday through Friday from 5am to 6pm PT.

  • Missouri Seeks Stronger Background Check Laws For Schools​

    July 09, 2019
    State lawmakers want tougher background screening policies to prevent predators from obtaining employment at MO schools.
    Backgrounds Online | July 09, 2019


    State lawmakers want tougher background screening policies to prevent predators from obtaining employment at MO schools.

    The School Turnaround Act

    Missouri introduced House Bill 604 (HB604), which is dedicated to protecting students from predators. This came shortly after several horrifying instances of sexual abuse at schools within the state. Sadly, this also coincides with statistics that have been collected throughout the country.

    A national organization called Stop Educator Sexual Abuse Misconduct & Exploitation (SESAME) is dedicated to preventing abuse by educators and other school employees. They conducted research and determined that 7% of children in grades Eight through Eleven have reported some form of sexual contact with an adult who works at a school. SESAME further learned that when additional crimes are included, such as showing pornography to children, that figure jumps to 10%.

    HB604 is known as the School Turnaround Act. It includes a few key changes to help protect students in the Show-Me State.

    Thorough Screening For Employees From Other MO Schools

    In the past, workers in Missouri could easily move from one school to the next. When someone went to a new location, that school was not required to thoroughly research the candidate’s history. To some, this process was referred to as “passing the trash.”

    Allegedly, this system allowed school employees who had charges of sexual misconduct to get a fresh start at new facilities. Thanks to HB604, any substantiated allegation will be readily available to every school in the state. This will help schools weed out people who may exhibit predatory or abusive behavior towards students.

    All Volunteers Must Be Screened

    Another key component of HB604 is to require background checks for all volunteers. Anyone who wants to volunteer at a MO school will first be required to authorize and pass a background check. The bill provides a list of potential volunteer positions, including but not limited to persons who would:
    · Regularly assist in the office or library.
    · Mentor or tutor students.
    · Coach or supervise a school-sponsored activity.
    · Chaperone students on an overnight trip.

    Sexual Abuse Training

    An equally important part of the School Turnaround Act is to educate school board members on how to spot signs of sexual abuse. This requires training that involves:
    · Noting signs of potentially abusive child/adult relationships.
    · Establishing trust so young people feel comfortable reporting abuse.
    · Going through annual refresher courses.

    HB604 was presented to the Governor and awaits his signature.Read the full text.

    In the 2020/21 school year, every Missouri district will also be required to offer "Trauma-informed, developmentally-appropriate sexual abuse training to students in all grades not lower than sixth grade." This includes giving students the tools and knowledge they need to recognize abuse, information on how to report abusive actions and resources for students who have been abused.

    The Importance Of Screening

    Every organization that has employees, volunteers or contractors should always run criminal background checks before allowing anyone to represent them. This is especially true for people who will work with vulnerable populations such as young people. Background checks can reveal if a candidate has violent, sexual or other serious offenses.

    When you’re ready to run background checks, please contact us. Our team is highly experienced at producing tailored background screening packages for any position. We are available to assist you Monday through Friday from 5am to 6pm PT.

  • The Cost Of Breaking Ban The Box Laws

    July 02, 2019
    Are you complying with Second Chance laws where you operate? If not, your organization could be subjected to fines.
    Backgrounds Online | July 02, 2019


    Are you complying with Second Chance laws where you operate? If not, your organization could be subjected to fines.

    Ban The Box Laws In The U.S.

    The Second Chance Movement has led to a significant number of Ban the Box laws being implemented throughout the United States. While these laws are not consistent, the purpose is always to help Americans who have old or minor criminal records find employment. That basic necessity was not always easy.

    In the past, many employers asked applicants to check a box if they’d ever been arrested or convicted of a crime. Most employers would immediately discard applications if that box was checked. They did not learn what the conviction was for, how long ago it occurred or other relevant factors.

    To help Americans who are not security risks and are in need of employment opportunities, the Ban the Box movement calls for the removal of questions about arrests and convictions from job applications. Numerous states, cities, counties and employers have adopted this policy. Employers that operate in locations where a Ban the Box law is active are asked to hold off on inquiring about criminal records until after they conduct an interview or extend a conditional offer.

    Doing this gives job seekers an opportunity to show their qualifications and eligibility. It also gives employers a larger pool of candidates and helps reduce the rate of recidivism. People who are unable to obtain employment due to something that happened long ago may become desperate and feel they have no choice but to commit crimes just to get by.

    D.C. Employers Fined For Ban The Box Violations

    Washington D.C. passed a Ban the Box law in 2014. Since then, more than 1,800 charges have been filed against employers for alleged violations. During that time, employers have been fined nearly $500,000.

    Most of the charges were claims that employers continued to ask questions about criminal records on their job applications. Some alleged that employers asked about convictions during an interview.

    Every claim was investigated. A report was compiled about these complaints and their outcomes. While specifics are confidential, it showed that charges were made against everything from small businesses to multinational organizations. If a Ban the Box charge is not settled, a DC employer can be fined up to $5,000.

    Mónica Palacio, the Director for the Office of Human Rights spoke about why this report was made. She said: “We wanted to show that the law had been quite effective in getting hundreds of employers who were out of compliance into compliance. We wanted to set the record straight.”

    What Employers Should Know

    Ban the Box and other Second Chance bills have been passed all over the U.S. Violating these laws could result in complaints and fines. Every employer should maintain written hiring and background screening policies that include details about complying with relevant laws. Employers that operate in multiple locations should be aware that they may be regulated by more than one Ban the Box law. Consult your legal counsel for advice.

    Backgrounds Online provides a variety of educational resources to help keep you aware of background screening laws and best practices. When you’re ready to run background checks, we can help you create a fair and transparent process for everyone. Contact us for expert assistance. We are available Monday through Friday from 5am to 6pm PT.