Backgrounds Online Blog

  • A CA Supreme Court Decision Regarding Background Checks

    September 18, 2018
    The Court reviewed two background screening laws to determine if one was vague and the two contradicted each other.
    Backgrounds Online | September 18, 2018

    The Court reviewed two background screening laws to determine if one was vague and the two contradicted each other.

    About The Case

    A group of current and former bus drivers who worked for First Student, Inc., and First Transit, Inc. (known collectively as “First”) filed a class action lawsuit against the employer. The suit, which was initiated by Eileen Connor, alleged that First ran background checks without proper authorization.

    According to the lawsuit, First provided drivers with a pre-hire package that contained an Investigative Consumer Report Disclosure and Release notice. The document reportedly included information about the recipient’s rights and a box people could check to indicate they wanted to receive a copy of their background report. It also reportedly included content that was meant to release First from all claims and damages related to a background investigation.

    Connor’s lawsuit claimed she did not authorize First to conduct a background screening. Before initiating a background check, employers must provide a written disclosure and get the person’s written authorization. This disclosure may not contain any additional content, such as text that says the employer cannot be held liable.

    When the case was initially reviewed in court, First requested and was granted a summary judgment. An appeals court overturned that and sided with the plaintiffs. A major factor in this case and their decision involved two existing laws about background screening in California.

    The Investigative Consumer Reporting Agencies Act and The Consumer Credit Reporting Agencies Act

    While considering this case, the CA Supreme Court reviewed The Investigative Consumer Reporting Agencies Act (ICRAA) and The Consumer Credit Reporting Agencies Act (CCRAA). After the lawsuit was filed, First claimed that this case should be dismissed because the CCRAA, which governs consumer credit issues, was constitutionally vague and the two laws contradicted each other.

    After consideration, the court determined that the CCRAA was not constitutionally vague and the laws were not contradictory. Associate Justice Ming W. Chin wrote that the court finds: “Potential employers can comply with both statutes without undermining the purpose of either. If an employer seeks a consumer’s credit records exclusively, then the employer need only comply with CCRAA. An employer seeking other information that is obtained by any means must comply with ICRAA.”

    In their ruling the court also stated that “It seems to us that such a duality does not make legal compliance particularly difficult, much less impossible.”

    What Employers Should Know

    Every employer should be aware that they must obtain authorization from a person before running a background check on them. California employers should further be aware of the ICRA and the CCRAA.

    The ICRAA is like the state version of the Fair Credit Reporting Act. It governs the use of consumer reports, such as background checks, about what can be included regarding a consumer’s character and reputation. The CCRAA covers consumer credit issues. While the two may have similarities and overlap a little, the conclusion of the CA Supreme Court is that both are valid, clear laws that stand alone and can both be followed.

    Employers must comply with laws that are in effect wherever they operate. The team at Backgrounds Online makes efforts to keep up with these laws and provide educational resources that can assist with your compliance efforts. If you have questions about how we can help with your background screening process, please contact us today.

  • Hiring The Wrong Person: What’s At Stake

    September 11, 2018
    The website B2C published an article about the true cost of not properly vetting and background screening job applicants.
    Backgrounds Online | September 11, 2018

    The website B2C published an article about the true cost of not properly vetting and background screening job applicants.

    About The Article

    A website called Business 2 Community did an investigation about what can go wrong when a business makes a bad hire. They came to some important conclusions.

    Bad hires were listed under two categories: people who have slightly misleading information on their resumes and those who lie to gain positions for which they are not qualified. According to the article, both types of bad hires can cause:

    High Turnover Rates

    If you hire someone who is not qualified for the position, they are far less likely to succeed. This can lead to several unfortunate outcomes. The new hire might have to be let go during their first few months. A new employee might decide they are in over their head and leave on their own. Existing employees may become frustrated while dealing with an unqualified person and decide to move on.

    Additional Expenses

    Bringing a new hire up to speed can be costly. It requires time, assistance from existing team members and other resources. If, after all that, you end up losing the new person or other employees, you’ll have to start the entire process again.

    Lower Productivity

    The article stated that a bad hire can be troublesome for morale, lead to a decrease in teamwork and, therefore, result in lower productivity for the entire team. It referenced a survey that showed 39% of businesses reported a direct link between bad hires and lowered productivity.

    Avoiding Bad Hires

    Business 2 Community concluded that the best way to avoid hiring people who are not qualified is to run comprehensive background checks on the candidates you are considering. A background check can provide the details you need to find people who are qualified to help your business succeed. Rely on them to:
    · Verify employment. Learn about the candidates work history, job title, responsibilities and more.
    · Verify education. Find out if a person completed their schooling, earned required degrees and has the training they need to handle a position.
    · Verify credentials. Some positions require a person to have a specific type of credential. Use a background check to find out whether or not they do.
    · Check references. A background check can include the results of a detailed interview with an applicant’s former managers and colleagues. This information helps show you their work ethic, communication skills and much more.

    Protect Your Business

    Businesses rely on background checks to help them make informed hiring decisions. These reports can also show you if a candidate has serious criminal convictions that could be a detriment to your company. Use that information to help protect your team, customers and the public. Running a background check is an essential part of your due diligence process that can save you time, money and stress.

    Have questions about how background checks can help your business? Contact the experts at Backgrounds Online. We are available Monday – Friday from 5am to 6pm to assist you..

  • Lyft Will Run Comprehensive Background Checks

    September 04, 2018
    The rideshare company, like many on-demand businesses, has established stronger background screening policies.
    Backgrounds Online | September 04, 2018

    The rideshare company, like many other on-demand businesses, has established authoritative background screening policies.

    What Led To This Decision

    The necessity for comprehensive and ongoing background checks has become a newsworthy topic. We’ve seen national stories about major companies like Home Advisor and Uber not having sufficient background screening policies. This can cause people to wonder if it is safe to utilize the services of such companies.

    Rideshare provider Lyft is in a similar spotlight.

    A Lyft driver name Vilchez Lazo was recently arrested in San Francisco. He is charged with raping four women whom he allegedly lured into his vehicle under the pretense that he’d been assigned to pick them up. Lazo was not on duty at the time so he was not supposed to drive any customers. Therefore, Lyft would have no record of him providing rides to these passengers.

    Following an investigation, it was revealed that Lazo has been living in the country illegally. He is currently in jail and could be sentenced to life in prison. If Lazo is released, then the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency hopes to deport him back to Peru.

    Lyfts “Enhanced Detection Process” For Background Screening

    According to a Lyft spokesperson, Lazo "fraudulently represented himself" when he applied for a driving position. Per company policy, Lazo authorized and passed a background screening. The background check package that was used for him and other drivers, however, is said to be a quick, minimal check of a few databases. It would not provide enough information to show that Lazo wasn’t eligible to be hired as a contractor.

    Lyft agreed to step up and run more comprehensive background checks on their applicants. They also agreed to run annual screenings on active contractors to see if anyone who works/contracts for them incurs a new conviction of which they should be aware.

    Kate Margolis, a Lyft spokesperson, offered the term Enhanced Detection Process when talking about the company’s new background screening policies. She did not provide additional information on what they would include.

    Background Checks For Every Industry

    Businesses that offer on-demand services have an obligation to their customers to thoroughly screen every employee and contractor. While this is the case for every industry, people who work for on-demand industries are likely to have direct and frequent access to the public. They may drive customers, enter their homes or have access to personal data.

    Every business should run background checks and consider annual screenings for all employees, volunteers and contractors. This helps the employer create and maintain a safe workplace, protect the public and show they are performing due diligence.

    What Are Your Screening Policies?

    If one of your employees committed a crime, would you be able to show you took reasonable precautions to ensure the person was safe and qualified before hiring them? Running background checks is an ideal way to demonstrate that you are taking steps to only hire people who are safe and eligible.

    If you need help creating background screening packages that are perfectly suited for every type of position in your business, then please contact us. Our team of experts is adept at learning about your hiring and screening needs and then putting together fully customized solutions for you.

  • Vermont Prohibits No Rehire Clauses For Discrimination Cases​

    August 28, 2018
    A state laws bans employers from including Not Eligible For Rehire statements into settlements and discrimination cases.
    Backgrounds Online | August 28, 2018

    A state law bans employers from including “not eligible for rehire” statements into settlements for discrimination cases.

    About The Law

    This is an amendment to existing anti-discrimination/harassment laws. It was inspired by the #MeToo movement and is the first of its kind. The updated law:
    • Bans employers from including “No Rehire” clauses in discrimination settlement agreements.
    • Prohibits nondisclosure agreements that say employees may not report instances of harassment.
    • Establishes an easier method for employees to report sexual harassment to the Vermont Human Rights Commission or Attorney General's Office.

    Why It Was Created

    The law is intended to help victims of sexual harassment and discrimination. Currently, employees who report these crimes may be required to sign a settlement agreement that say the person may not work for the employer, its parent company or any affiliates.

    Representative Sarah Copeland-Hanzas, primary author of the bill, felt this practice was unfair. She commented that the no rehire clauses can place a large burden on someone’s career and specified that if you are in “a specialty field in a small state; that might mean you can never work again."

    Corporations typically own numerous brands. One prime example of this in Vermont is Unilever, which owns more than 400, including Ben & Jerry’s ice cream. If a Vermont employee signed a no rehire clause with a company like that, it could drastically limit their future employment options.

    Opposition

    Not everyone agrees that this law should have been implemented. Those who oppose it say “separation agreements” are a common business practice. One reason for this is to help employers avoid the risk of lawsuits. If a person who was involved in a discrimination suit applies for a job with the same company but is unsuccessful, they may be able to file a case against the company and claim this was an act of retaliation if a no rehire clause is not in the settlement.

    If, however, the former employee signed an agreement that includes a no rehire clause, then that risk is alleviated. This clause is used to stipulate that the person agrees they will no longer be employed and won’t attempt to seek another position within the company.

    The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) chimed in on this topic. They suggested that the practice of asking people to sign no rehire clause could be construed as an act of retaliation against the person who filed a discrimination or harassment claim.

    What VT Employers Should Know

    Vermont employers should be aware of and compliant with this new law. Employees who settle discrimination or harassment claims cannot be forced to sign no rehire clauses.

    Laws that cover what employers can and cannot do vary by state. It can be difficult to keep up with all the laws that affect your business. At Backgrounds Online, we are dedicated to providing educational resources to help our clients with their compliance efforts.

    If you have questions about background screening where your business operates, please contact us. Our highly trained team is available Monday – Friday from 5am to 6pm PT.

  • Illinois Passed A New Law For Rideshare Drivers

    August 21, 2018
    The state is requiring applicants for rideshare jobs to provide more information during the background screening process.
    Backgrounds Online | August 21, 2018

    The state is requiring potential rideshare drivers to provide more information when going through the background screening process.

    About The Law

    Illinois House Bill 4416 (HB 4416) requires people who apply for rideshare driver jobs to provide specific data points to prospective employers. This includes their full legal name, Social Security Number and Date of Birth in addition to the information that was already required. Applicants must also list any commonly used nicknames or aliases.

    Previously, applicants only had to supply their:
    · Address
    · Age
    · Driver’s license number
    · Motor vehicle registration
    · Automobile insurance liability

    HB 4416 will make it easier for rideshare employers to run accurate and authoritative background checks on job seekers. It also stipulates that transportation network companies shall not hire any individual who has “been placed on court supervision, within the past 7 years, for driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol.”

    The law was put into effect on July 1, 2018.

    What Initiated This Change

    Businesses that offer rideshare services have been under intense scrutiny. A 2018 investigation by CNN discovered numerous counts of sexual abuse, assault and other criminal activities had been committed by Uber and Lyft drivers. This revelation resulted in stricter and more frequent background screenings for employees and contractors at these companies.

    Illinois is one of several states taking steps to create stronger regulations for background screening rideshare drivers. HB 4416 was introduced by Senator Daniel Biss who said “By requiring drivers to provide more than just basic information, ride-sharing companies are now held to the same standard that other licensed transportation services.”

    HB 4416 is intended to create safer circumstances for people who utilize the services of rideshare companies. Biss started working on the bill after a rideshare driver in his district was arrested for a DUI while on the job. The driver was already under court supervision for a previous DUI.

    Takeaway For Illinois Employers

    Businesses that hire rideshare drivers in Illinois should be aware of and compliant with HB 4416. As long as employers are taking steps to follow this law they should have no issues. The bill states that any “transportation network company that reasonably relies on the information provided by an individual shall not be liable for violation of the Section concerning driver requirements.” Failure to follow this law, however, will make the employer liable.

    Best practice for employers is to document their screening policies and expectations. If an issue does occur, then they can show they have guidelines in place that include the regulations established in HB 4416.

    It is essential for employers to be aware of and compliant with laws that are in effect where they operate. The team at Backgrounds Online strives to keep up with these laws and provide educational resources that can help with your compliance efforts.

    If you have questions about background screening or what we can do to help you with your hiring and compliance practices, please contact us today

  • NAPBS Sues An Arkansas Court For Impeding Background Checks

    August 14, 2018
    The District Court of Benton County stopped providing essential records.
    Backgrounds Online | August 14, 2018

    The District Court of Benton County stopped providing records that are necessary to complete background checks in that area.

    What’s Happening With The Court

    The District Court of Benton County has been denying requests from Consumer Reporting Agencies (CRAs) for records that are used to complete background check reports. According to the National Association of Professional Background Screeners (NAPBS), the court is doing this after misinterpreting the State Supreme Court's Administrative Order 19. NAPBS representatives believe the court’s current policy violates this order and existing state law.

    After Benton County stopped provided records to CRAs, additional Arkansas courts followed suit. In total, ten courts adopted the policy of refusing to supply documents that should be made available to CRAs. This has become an issue for employers that rely on the data contained in court records to help them make informed decisions.

    Background checks serve many essential purposes such as helping businesses create safe workplaces, confirm applicants are eligible for specific positions and learn if a candidate has a violent or otherwise serious criminal history that might make them ineligible for hire. Without these records, employers cannot review all the facts they need when hiring, considering a current employee for a promotion or handling other common duties.

    The NAPBS Reacts

    The NAPBS promotes ethics and performance standards for the background screening industry. Their core values include compliance, integrity and the advancement of knowledge. They have expressed a high level of concern over this ongoing issue in Arkansas and taken steps to remediate.

    Step one was to contact the Arkansas State Judiciary Committee on Automation and ask for CRAs to regain the right to receive records from local courthouses. They also contacted state officials, the Governor and members of the Arkansas Legislature to make the same request. No assistance was provided, however, as the court’s decision was considered to be "within the Clerk's purview" based on the content of Administrative Order 19.

    An NAPBS task force was created to “retain local legal counsel and guide outside counsel's decisions.” They acquired the services of a local law firm and sent letters to Arkansas courts asking them to start providing records to CRAs again. These letters advised that additional actions would be taken if the request was not met.

    Progress So Far

    After receiving these letters, seven courts started providing records again. The other three have continued to deny this service. To remedy this, the NAPBS and their legal counsel prepared litigation that asks for public records data services to be restored to all CRAs.

    An official complaint against the Bentonville County District Court was submitted to the Arkansas State Court on July 20, 2018. The NAPBS is happy with their progress and believes they have a strong case for requiring the remaining courts to restore access to records that are necessary for background screening.

    What This Means For Employers

    Employers that operate in Arkansas should be aware that CRAs are currently unable to obtain records from Bentonville, Craighead County-Lake City, and Craighead County-Jonesboro Division courts. While the NAPBS is actively working on this, background checks that require records from those courthouses will either be delayed or must be completed without that data.

    Backgrounds Online is proud to be an accredited member of the NAPBS. We strongly support their mission to uphold a high level of ethics, protect consumers and ensure the advancement of knowledge. Our team is committed to helping clients get the facts they need to create safe workplaces, protect their brands and make educated business decisions.

    If you have questions about what we can do to enhance your hiring, background screening and onboarding efforts, please contact us today.

  • Hawaii Prohibits Employers From Asking About Salary

    August 07, 2018
    The Aloha state passed a bill to help eliminate gender-based pay disparity.
    Backgrounds Online | August 07, 2018

    The Aloha state passed a new bill to help eliminate gender-based pay disparity among individuals who do equal work under equal circumstances.

    Pay Disparity In Hawaii

    The legislature of Hawaii confirmed that the state still has a large pay disparity between workers of different genders who have the same level and type of responsibilities. This has been known for years and attempts have been made to correct the problem. However, the legislature determined that at the current rate of progress, pay parity will not be reached until 2058.

    This disparity exists despite the fact that Hawaiian law prohibits employers from paying one person less than another due to their gender. As of 2015, the gender-based wage gap was at sixteen cents on the dollar. According to an announcement from the legislature, the gap is “far worse for women of color: for every dollar a white male made, African-American and Asian-American women made only seventy-three cents and Latina women made only sixty-seven cents.”

    One reason for this, the legislature believes, is that employers often consider an applicant’s salary history when making decisions about hiring and compensation. Therefore, people with lower salaries may have a difficult time finding a position in which they could get paid the amount they deserve. This led to the creation of Senate Bill 2351 (SB 2351).

    About The Bill

    SB 2351 prohibits employers from asking job seekers about their salary history. If an applicant voluntarily provides this information, then the employer may verify and consider it, but otherwise employers, employment agencies or their agents may not:

    · Ask an applicant to reveal their salary history.
    · Use an applicant’s previous wages to determine what salary, benefits or other compensation to offer if the employer inadvertently obtains this information.
    · Pay lower wages to an employee because of their gender when that person does an equal amount of work under equal circumstances as another employee of a differing gender.
    Differentials in pay are allowed if they are based on seniority, a merit system, an occupational qualification or another permissible factor.
    · Discriminate or retaliate against an employee who discusses their salary with co-workers or encourages other employees to exercise their right to discuss their own salary.

    There are exceptions to these rules. SB 2351 does not apply to:

    · Current employees who are being considered for promotions.
    · Public positions for which the salary and other forms of compensation are determined pursuant to collective bargaining.

    Takeaway For Employers

    Employers in Hawaii should be aware of SB 2351 and prepared for compliance when it goes into effect on January 1, 2019. While this bill only applies to businesses that operate in the Aloha State, every employer should be aware that pay disparity laws are being passed throughout the country.

    We’ve seen multiple bills that prohibit employers from asking applicants about their salary history. More are likely to be created. When such laws are implemented, employers must comply or they could face penalties, lawsuits or related issues.

    The team at Backgrounds Online is committed to providing educational resources that help employers with their compliance and best practice efforts. If you would like to learn more about how we can help your hiring, screening and onboarding process, please contact us.

  • Arizona And North Carolina Pass Ex-Offender Hiring Laws

    July 30, 2018
    Both states passed laws to help former convicts find employment and protect employers who hire them.
    Backgrounds Online | July 30, 2018

    Both states passed laws to help former convicts find employment and protect employers who hire people with a criminal history.

    Second Chance Laws

    Numerous states have implemented laws to help people with criminal histories find employment after serving their time. People with convictions often have difficulties getting hired and that lack of opportunity can lead to recidivism. Second chance laws are designed to help individuals and reduce crime rates.

    Examples of Second Chance laws include banning the box (not allowing employers to include questions about criminal records on job applications), expungement laws (creating opportunities for former offenders to have their convictions made unavailable to the public) and requiring individual assessments (asking employers to review each offense and determine whether or not it is relevant to a job opening).

    Some laws are designed to protect employers who hire individuals that have criminal records. Both Arizona and North Carolina passed bills that create new guidelines regarding the employment of people who have convictions.

    Arizona

    House Bill 2311 (HB 2311) was signed by Governor Doug Ducey and goes into effect on July 21, 2018. This law creates protections for employers that hire individuals who have minor or irrelevant criminal histories. If an employer is sued for negligent hiring, HB 2311 provides liability protections. Specifically, it disallows the plaintiff from introducing evidence that an employee had a conviction, unless it was a violent or sexual offense, before the hire date.

    This protection is not available if:

    · An employee with a criminal record is hired as a security guard or law enforcement officer and commits a violent offense or uses excessive force.
    · An employee who was convicted of misusing monies or property is put into a position that includes fiduciary responsibilities and then commits another act of misuse of monies or property.

    Learn more about HB 2311.

    North Carolina

    Governor Roy Cooper signed House Bill 774 (HB 774) to help create job opportunities for former offenders and protect employers who hire someone with a criminal history. The bill allows individuals to apply for a “Certificate of Relief” which can help with their job search. Applicants who have this certificate can enjoy more opportunities for potential employment.

    The bill provides examples of how North Carolina residents may be eligible to receive this certificate. Courts may issue one if the former offender:

    · Has 3 or fewer Class H or I felonies and misdemeanors.
    · Completed their sentence at least twelve months prior to applying for the certificate.
    · Complied with every requirement of their sentence, such as probation, educational requirements or anger management classes.
    · Is actively engaged (or planning to be) in training, education or rehabilitation programs.
    · Has no pending charges.
    · Does not pose an unreasonable risk to the safety of the public or an individual.

    HB 774 also protects employers who hire former offenders. The bill states that hiring someone who possesses a state-issued certificate eliminates any liability for potential claims of negligent hiring. It also stipulates that if an employee with a certificate incurs a new conviction, they must inform their employer within ten days.

    Learn more about HB 774.

    Keeping Up With Relevant Laws

    There are numerous laws that affect the hiring process. They often differ by state or even city. Keeping up with laws that are active where your business operates can be difficult.

    Backgrounds Online provides educational resources to assist you with your educational and compliance efforts. If you have questions about how we can improve your hiring process with compliant background screening, please contact us. Our educated staff is available Monday – Friday from 5am to 5pm PT.

  • Georgia Implements A Tougher Eldercare Screening Law

    July 24, 2018
    As of October 1 2019, people who work at GA facilities that provide care for senior citizens will be required to pass a comprehensive background check.
    Backgrounds Online | July 24, 2018

    As of October 1 2019, people who work at GA facilities that provide care for senior citizens will be required to pass a comprehensive background check.

    About The Eldercare Law

    The law, which is known as the “Georgia Long-Term Care Background Check Program”, was signed by Governor Nathan Deal. It requires existing and potential employees of GA-based eldercare facilities to authorize and pass a background screening if they have routine contact with patients or access to financial data. It also requires individuals who own those facilities to be screened if they actively participate in operations. The intent is to promote better living conditions for the elderly.

    Vernon Keenan, Director at the Georgia Bureau of Investigation, is concerned about the possibility of elderly abuse. He referred to it as an “iceberg crime” because only a small part of the criminal activity is typically visible. Keenan feels this type of crime and abuse often remains hidden to everyone except the victim.

    Georgia currently has some background check laws in place, but they were not considered thorough enough. This new law updates and expands the scope of existing policies. It stipulates that background screening regulations apply to owners, employees and job seekers at:

    · Assisted living communities
    · Personal care homes
    · Home health agencies
    · Private home care providers
    · Hospice facilities
    · Nursing homes
    · Skilled nursing facilities
    · Intermediate care homes
    · Adult day care facilities that are licensed pursuant to Georgia Department of Community Health regulations

    About The Background Check

    The background screening process will include searches of:

    · Georgia's nurse aide registry
    · The state’s sexual offender registry
    · The federal List of Excluded Individuals and Entities

    If the person being screened has not lived in Georgia for two full years, then the scope of the background investigation will be expanded to include a registry check where the individual previously resided. Facilities that provide eldercare will not be allowed to employ or contract individuals who do not pass their background screening. Reasons for not passing include:

    · Appearing on a registry check
    · Being convicted of neglect, abuse or misappropriation of property
    · Not having a valid and current license
    · Being declared unsatisfactory for employment by the Georgia Department of Community Health

    Caregiver Registry

    The new law also calls for the creation of a public caregiver registry. This will be a database from which people can view the results of background checks that were run on individuals who provide care to senior citizens. By accessing this registry, people will be able to see if a caregiver was deemed satisfactory for ownership of or employment at an eldercare facility.

    Takeaway For Employers

    Georgia-based employers that run eldercare facilities should be aware of this new law. It goes into effect on October 1, 2019. This gives ample time for employers to prepare for compliance

    Georgia is taking proactive steps towards protecting their senior citizen population. By implementing this law, the state is helping to ensure that everyone who has a role in caring for the elderly is licensed, eligible and approved to work at care-based facilities.

    Is your business being proactive and performing due diligence to create safe workplaces and protect the people you serve? Running background checks is a great way to demonstrate that you are actively working towards these crucial goals. If you have questions about your screening policies or would like to discuss creating background check packages that are perfectly tailored for your industry, please contact us today. Our highly experienced team is available to assist you via phone, email or chat.

  • Seven Questions About Background Screening

    July 17, 2018
    The Society For Human Resource Management published an article with questions about background screening. We’re joining the fun with our own Q&A.
    Backgrounds Online | July 17, 2018

    The Society For Human Resource Management published an article with questions about background screening. We’re joining the fun with our own Q&A.

    Why Should I Run Background Checks?

    This is one of the most simple, yet essential questions about background screening. Run them to:

    · Create a safe workplace. Your business likely has several employees in a shared space. These people count on you to maintain a safe working environment. Background checks show you if someone has a conviction for violence, identity theft or other crimes. Use them to find out if an applicant or current employee has a serious criminal conviction.
    · Due diligence. Your customers and the public also expect you to take steps to protect them. This is especially true if your employees will have access their personal data, homes or other vulnerable parts of their lives. Running background checks on applicants and annual screenings on employees confirms you are performing due diligence.
    · Make informed decisions. In addition to showing criminal convictions, background checks help you confirm an individual’s work and education history, licenses and credentials. Use them verify a person is qualified to handle the expected job duties.
    · Reduce turnover. If you don’t confirm an applicant is qualified to perform the job duties, you may spend time, energy and resources onboarding a person just to realize they will not work out and you’ll have to start over.

    How Long Does It Take To Process A Background Check?

    In most cases, a background check takes 2 – 3 business days to complete. The team at Backgrounds Online works diligently to process orders as quickly as possible so we can provide the information our clients need to make important business decisions.

    Why Do Some Background Checks Take Longer?

    There are several reasons why a report might take longer:

    · We obtain records directly from county courthouses. Sometimes those records must be pulled by a county clerk. When courts have a backlog of work, closures or limited resources; that can cause delays.
    · We contact individuals who provide employment, educational or professional verifications. An individual might not be available, a school could be closed for a break or a former employer may have destroyed old records.
    · If we find a criminal record in a county where a person did not live, we go to the source to get the best and most accurate information. This can also delay a report.

    If a report is delayed, we will explain why. You can login to your account and see the status of your orders in real time and notes from us about delays with courthouses, verifications, etc.

    How Are Background Checks Regulated?

    Consumer reports, such as background checks, are regulated by the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA). This is a federal document that is designed to protect consumers and their privacy. The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission also provides guidance on how convictions can be used to make employment-related decisions.

    Many state laws also contain regulations for hiring and background screening. Keeping up with all these laws can be difficult. Consumer Reporting Agencies, like Backgrounds Online, strive to keep up with relevant laws and provide educational resources, compliant documents and expertise that greatly benefits clients.

    Are Public Records Databases With Criminal Data Reliable?

    No - public records databases often aggregate as much information as possible from numerous sources. They do not typically have the checks and balances in place to ensure that data is correct, current and reportable. If you rely on these databases, you could make a decision based on inaccurate or outdated information. That, in turn, could lead to a lawsuit and other liabilities.

    Why Can’t I Conduct My Own Background Investigation?

    A background check contains information that can legally be used for business purposes. If you run your own investigations, you put your business at risk of violating privacy and discrimination laws. Doing something like an in-house social media check could result in an applicant claiming that you took adverse action against them based on their gender, color, religious beliefs or another protected characteristic.

    Much like using public databases, running your own search could also lead to you relying on outdated or irrelevant records that cannot legally for making business decisions.

    How Do I Find A Consumer Reporting Agency?

    Best practice is to use a Consumer Reporting Agency (CRA) that is accredited by the National Association of Public Background Screeners (NAPBS). CRAs must demonstrate a deep and ongoing commitment to client education, compliance, data security, research/verification standards and other key principles to be eligible for accreditation.

    Backgrounds Online is proud to be an accredited CRA that has been helping customers make educated choices, promote safe workplaces and meet expectations of their customers and the public for 20 years. If you have questions about how we can help you with your background check needs, please contact us for assistance.

  • Chicago Public Schools Will Rescreen Adult Employees

    July 10, 2018
    Adult employees and volunteers who interact with students will be background screened before the next school season begins.
    Backgrounds Online | July 10, 2018

    Every adult employee or volunteer who has interactions with students will be background screened before the next school season begins.

    The Reason For These Screenings

    The goal is to create a safer environment for students in Chicago. CEO of the Chicago Public School District (CPSD), Dr. Janice K Jackson, said: “Creating a safer school district for our students means doing everything possible to ensure our students are surrounded by trustworthy adults.” and “I want parents to have comfort that all of the adults in our schools will safeguard their children, and this is an important and necessary step toward rebuilding the faith and trust that our parents have in their school district.”

    An article in the Chicago Times revealed a startling number of sexual abuse cases have been reported in Chicago schools. During a ten-year period, more than 500 cases of juvenile assault and abuse were investigated. According to the article: “Ineffective background checks exposed students to educators with criminal convictions and arrests for sex crimes against children. And the CPSD failed to disclose to other districts that past employees had resigned after investigators found credible evidence of abuse and harassment.”

    Chicago residents were shocked to learn about this tragedy. This article helped prompt the CPSD to initiate an unprecedented round of background screenings for existing staff. The district is determined to demonstrate that they are actively taking steps to protect students who attend Chicago schools.

    Who Will Be Screened?

    According to a Press Release from the CPSD, every adult employee who works with students will be screened. This includes:

    · Teachers
    · Coaches
    · Volunteers
    · Cafeteria Workers
    · Vendors
    · Other Staff

    Additional Precautions

    To provide an additional level of security and help restore faith in the school district, the following policies are also being implemented:

    · All employees will be screened periodically to watch for new arrests or convictions.
    · Everyone who wants to be involved in the school sports program, such as coaches and volunteers, will be put through a training and eligibility process first.
    · The CPSD will create an inventory of all vendors, coaches and volunteers to help ensure that every person in each department has been screened and approved to work with students.

    The Importance Of Annual Screenings

    While not every business hires individuals who will work directly with young people, most businesses have employees who deal with clients, coworkers and the public. It is important for employers to take steps to promote a safe work environment and be able to demonstrate that they are performing due diligence during their hiring process. One of the most critical components is for employers to run background checks on all applicants and ongoing criminal monitoring on all employees.

    Employers are encouraged to document their screening and hiring policies. This documentation should include details about what warrants denial of employment and termination. Having written policies will help employers show that they are taking reasonable precautions to promote safety.

    If you need help with your initial and ongoing screening efforts, please contact us. The team at Backgrounds Online is highly trained at putting together ideal screening packages for any position in every industry. We are available via phone, chat or email Monday through Friday from 5am to 5pm PT.

  • Washington Implements An Equal Pay Opportunity Act

    July 03, 2018
    Washington updated their existing gender pay law – which was established in 1943.
    Backgrounds Online | July 03, 2018

    The state of Washington recently passed a bill that updated their previous gender pay law – which was established in 1943.

    About The Act

    Representative Tana Senn, an active proponent for equal pay laws, sponsored the Equal Pay Opportunity Act (EPOA) to address a gender-based disparity in Washington. The Act requires WA-based employers to offer equal compensation for people who are “similarly employed”, meaning they have similar duties and responsibilities under similar work conditions. It also requires employers to offer equal career advancement opportunities to workers of any gender.

    Inslee said: “This bill tears away the ability of companies to shroud salary and promotion decisions in secrecy. This makes it possible for employees to discuss how those decisions are being made without fear of retaliation.”

    Some wage gaps will not be considered discriminatory. Employers may offer different salaries to similarly employed individuals if:
    · They are not based on gender.
    · There are factors in play such as seniority, regional differences (to adjust for the cost of living) or education.
    · A genuine business necessity calls for varying salaries.

    Disclosing Wages

    While nothing in the EPOA prevents workers from discussing their own wages, it does prohibit them from discussing the wages of others. This could be an issue if an individual has access to salaries or details about different types of compensation earned by their co-workers. The only time revealing this information would be permissible is if it necessary to settle an investigation, charge or complaint.

    The EPOA prohibits employers from retaliating against employees who choose to disclose their wages. It also prohibits retaliation if an employee files a discrimination complaint, encourages other workers to take advantage of new rights created by the EPOA or inquires about a lack of advancement opportunities.

    Violations Of The EPOA

    A violation of the EPOA is defined as any instance in which an employer does not provide equal salary for similarly employed individuals due to gender or participates in any other gender-based discriminatory practice.

    If an employee feels they have been discriminated against, they may file a complaint with the Washington State Department of Labor & Industries. The matter will then be investigated to determine whether or not a violation has occurred. When a violation is proven, the first step will be to try and reach an agreement with the employer. Should it become impossible to reach a resolution, then a citation may be issued and the employer could be accountable for actual and statutory damages or $5,000, whichever amount is greater, along with reasonable attorney’s fees.

    Takeaway For Employers

    Employers in Washington are urged to review their current policies to ensure they are compliant with the EPOA. If not, then those policies should be revised as soon as possible.

    At Backgrounds Online we stay focused on state, federal and local laws that affect our customers. If you have questions about how to improve your hiring and screening practices, please contact us. Our experienced team is here to assist you Monday through Friday from 5am to 5pm PT.