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Don’t Let Simple Form I-9 Compliance Mistakes Shut You Down

 
Electronic Form I-9

The owners of the Black and Blue Restaurant of Rochester, New York started this New Year by handing $88,700 over to the feds.  Their crime?  Immigrations and Customs Enforcement (ICE) accused the restaurant of failing to prepare I-9 forms for 19 employees, and having hundreds more that were incomplete.  ICE originally wanted $264,605 in penalties… but after an appeal, the Department of Justice settled for less.
This is not the first time I-9 violations have nearly cost a restaurant owner their livelihood.

Fans of Sushi Zushi, a string of sushi restaurants in San Antonio, Texas, were surprised to find all eight locations shut down in the summer of 2012.  Sushi service stopped when about a hundred “vital employees” were scared away by an I-9 audit.

The owner of the restaurant chain handed over the necessary documents, but admits there were several things missing.  He says some didn’t have signatures, or the addresses were not accurate. On some, the Social Security or residency card numbers didn’t match the government’s data base.

These are prime examples of how going through the motions is not enough when you are dealing with immigration issues.  Just having the forms does you no good if don’t have the correct information and if you can’t produce the original forms within three business days.

Typically, an employer will be given 10 days to fix simple typographical errors, but bigger violations, like improperly verifying someone’s identity or work authorization, could cost you some hefty fines.

EBI’s J-One electronic form I-9 system is one of the easiest ways to protect yourself and your company.  With one click the employee is able to fill out the necessary forms electronically.  The system will flag any errors or omissions throughout the process to make sure everything is complete.

This completely paperless system will generate reports to help you maintain your compliance and have the documents at your fingertips as soon as you need them.  This effort also shows that your company is operating in good faith.

If you find ICE agents at your door, there are things you should know before letting them inspect your I-9 documents.

  • Take a deep breath. You have three days to respond. Agents are not allowed to show up without warning.
  • Provide copies. Never hand over your original documents.
  • Contact your attorney before allowing immigration officers to talk with any employees or company officers.

An audit does not have to cost you customers and money… but you have to be prepared.

Colorado Employers are Now Limited in Using Consumer Credit Information for Employment Purposes

 

State of ColoradoA new law was passed in Colorado entitled the “Employment Opportunity Act”, Colo. Rev. St 8-2-126, which will drastically limit consumer credit information from being used for employment purposes. The law, which was signed on April 19, 2013, and which will go in effect on July 01, 2013, will be the ninth state law to significantly limit how employers may use consumer credit information to make employment decisions.

The law defines “employment purposes” to encompass evaluation of a person for “employment, hiring, promotion, demotion, reassignment, adjustment in compensation level, or retention.” Effective July 01, 2013, Colorado employers may only use consumer credit information for employment purposes if:

  • “The employer is a bank or financial institution;
  • The report is required by law; or
  • The report is substantially related to the employee’s current or potential job and the employer has a bona fide purpose for requesting or using information in the credit report that is substantially related to the employee’s current or potential job and is disclosed in writing to the employee.”

According to the new law, if an employer takes adverse action against an employee in part or in whole because of employee credit information, the employer must disclose, in writing or in the same medium in which the application was made, the reason for the adverse action, as well as the particular information the employer used in making the adverse decision against the employee. Adverse action, as defined by this law, may include “demotion, reassignment to a lower-ranked position or to a position with a lower level of compensation, decrease in compensation level, denial of promotion, termination of employment, or any other decision for employment purposes that adversely affects an employee or applicant.”

Individuals who feel they are injured by violations of this law may file complaints with the Colorado Division of Labor. Investigation outcomes will be issued within 30 days of the complaint, and there is a maximum of $2,500 in civil penalties that can be awarded to complainants for injuries deemed to be caused from violations under this law.

Colorado employers may wish to re-evaluate all of their uses of consumer credit information in relation to employment purposes, in order to help ensure compliance with this law by July 01, 2013.   Additionally, eight other states have also enacted laws for responsible credit report use for employment purposes.  As of the publication date of this article, California, Connecticut, Hawaii, Illinois, Maryland, Oregon, Vermont, and Washington either prohibit or restrict employers from using such information at a certain time within the hiring process or restrict the use of credit reports based on position or industry.  Employers should refer to their corporate legal counsel and active legislation within their state for proper use. 

All information contained herein is provided by Employment Background Investigations solely for the convenience of its readers. EBI is not providing legal advice or counsel and nothing provided within should be deemed as legal guidance or advice.  Readers should consult with their own legal counsel to determine their legal responsibilities or if they have questions on any information provided by EBI.

Employment Background Investigations, Inc. (EBI) is committed to providing employers with valuable education and resources on changing legislation and cutting-edge and compliant solutions to meet federal, state, local and international mandatory requirements. If you found this information useful, select the button listed below and access more industry news, resources and tips from EBI, an NAPBS Accredited screening firm and global leader in the background screening industry.

Make a Commitment to Background Screening Compliance and Efficiency in 2013

 

2013 best practices for background screeningIn retrospect, 2012 was a year of slow economic growth, tighter budgets, state law changes, revised EEOC guidelines, and the stark reminder of workplace and public violence.  These concerns and challenges are at the forefront for every HR and Security Professional responsible for talent management, workplace safety, and security.  A new year and perspective brings an opportunity for companies to reassess current policies.  Enhanced security, leveraged technology, return-on-investment, and compliance are always key factors that should be reassessed on an annual basis and are critical aspects of a comprehensive screening program. 

At EBI, we are committed to the highest level of security, integrity, accuracy, and compliance in the products and services we deliver to our clients.  Our industry experts work diligently to keep you informed of background screening, drug testing and occupational healthcare changes throughout the year.  Through our weekly blog posts, articles, and legislative alerts, many of our clients have found it easy to stay up-to-date as the information we provide is in real-time.   With the start of a new year, we would like to point out a few key areas that employers should revisit as a matter of best practice.

A Commitment to Completeness and Accuracy
Conducting a comprehensive and accurate background check should always be a matter of policy and best practice within any screening program.   Using only limited information from an online database does not sufficiently cover employers from the risks of negligent hiring or retention litigation.   A criminal records database search is an excellent tool that can be used to fill in the gaps; however, it should never replace a comprehensive court search of where a subject has lived, worked, or even went to school.  Fast and cheap won’t cut it when you are trying to achieve a high level of due diligence.

Employers should demand that their screening vendor provide current and accurate information when utilizing all data sources.  Section 607 of the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) requires that consumer reporting agencies follow reasonable procedures to assure maximum possible accuracy of the information provided within a consumer report.  In most cases, only the original reporting court of jurisdiction will have the most current and complete criminal record information.  In addition, subject identifiers are limited in many electronic databases as they have been removed due to concerns of identity theft, which leaves companies with incomplete information.  Without proper subject identifiers, your screening vendor cannot ensure that the information reported is actually for the right candidate, especially if it involves a common name.

Be Consistent with Your Screening Program
Having a documented, consistent, and well thought-out screening program will mitigate risk levels and the potential of discrimination as it relates to candidate evaluation.  You should never pick and chose screening components at random or based on a hunch.  Evaluate your screening program based on job function and be consistent, especially when dealing with similar positions.  Job functions that bring an elevated level of risk to fellow employees or even the public should undergo a more in-depth screening.  In addition, employees dealing directly with the elderly, mentally challenged, or children and/or those working intimately with others should be screened more intensely as well.

The location and/or the employee’s access to information should also play a key role in deciding your level of due diligence. Employees working in highly secured or safety sensitive areas and/or accessing confidential information, cash, or credit information provide a specific set of risks that a screening program should cover.  In addition, a candidate’s prior job performance, education, skill set, and experience should be properly vetted based on corporate need and job requirements.   Consistency is always a benchmark when minimizing risk and assessing candidates.

Reduce the Potential of Employment Discrimination
In April of 2012, the Equal Opportunity Employment Commission (EEOC) approved guidance on the “Consideration of Arrest and Conviction Records in Employment Decisions Under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.”  Employers are urged to take a fresh look at their job applications and assessment protocols when dealing with arrest and conviction information in hiring decisions.  Employers need to understand that the EEOC’s guidance does not prohibit the use of such information as part of their pre-employment screening process; however, employers will need to take a much closer look at their procedures when inquiring about and assessing the use of arrest and conviction information as it relates to job-relatedness and business necessity.  A neutral or an across-the-board assessment policy for all candidates could leave you open to a potential discrimination lawsuit.  Evaluation of arrest and criminal conviction information should be consistent, job-related, and a matter of business necessity, as well as assessed individually to avoid potential discrimination.

In December of 2012, the EEOC released its Strategic Enforcement Plan for 2013.  The plan outlines several initiatives that are of importance to the EEOC.  Eliminating barriers in recruiting and hiring is a high-level initiative of the agency.  Their focus for this specific initiative includes facially neutral recruiting and hiring practices that adversely affect candidates based on race, ethnicity, religion, age, gender, and disability.  Recruiting, restrictive application processes, and tools such as pre-employment testing and background checks will continue to be a focus for the agency.

Employers need to be aware of the initiatives of the EEOC as they may have an effect on your current screening program.  EBI will keep you informed of any specific initiatives or agency updates as they progress throughout the year.

Revisit State Specific Compliance Mandates
State legislation, as it relates to the screening industry, is ever-changing, and HR professionals need to stay on top of legal changes for proper compliance.  Over the past year, states have changed specific notifications and policies on the use of criminal records, as well as made restrictions that limit or even prohibit the use of credit information for certain positions.  A sluggish economy and tighter state budgets have changed the focus of state lawmakers to look for ways to cut costs which have a profound effect on employers and pre-employment and post-hire screening solutions. In some cases, state legislation has set tighter controls on illegal immigration and the use of state mandated e-verify programs.  There has also been a focus on the reduction of inmates in state prisons along with ex-offenders re-integration into public and private sector jobs.  As a result, there has been an increase in the adoption of laws addressing the exclusion of inquires about prior criminal history on job applications.  Many of us know this as the “ban-the-box” initiative being adopted at the city, county, and state levels.  This trend can be a compliance nightmare.

If that is not enough, states passing medical marijuana laws continue to be on the rise, so revisiting your drug testing program certainly makes sense to ensure proper state compliance.  Employers must be vigilant in keeping up with ever-changing laws to stay compliant.  Taking a fresh look into these areas on a state basis is worth the legal legwork and appropriate throughout the entire year.

Build Efficiencies into Your Screening Program
The age of a paperless process for recruiting, talent management, screening, and on-boarding is here for employers to capitalize on and optimize business efficiencies.   Electronic job-boards, paperless applications, and secure candidate portals provide a seamless, confidential, and efficient way to gather and exchange sensitive candidate data.    The days of paper forms, chasing down an applicant for a required signature, or manually sending sensitive information to your screening provider is over as many tools and resources have been created to streamline these processes.  In addition, obtaining a candidate’s personal data outside of the application process can assist in providing legally required federal, state, or even international disclosures forms to be served up automatically to ensure you capture the right information up-front and stay compliant while information is exchanged in real-time and in a secure manner.

You should evaluate your entire application, screening, and on-boarding process to identify for further efficiencies, such as a consolidation of services to one vendor verse multiple vendors to reduce reconciliation time with invoices.  Working with an integrated screening provider that can meet all of your background screening, drug testing, and global screening needs can save you substantial time.     Efficiency is key during a time when we all must do a lot more with less staff and tighter budgets.

It’s Worth Taking a Fresh Look
Taking a fresh look at your overall screening program can help keep you out of court, reduce hidden risks, decrease costly turnover, and ultimately create a positive candidate and HR experience while providing significant ROI to your screening program and bottom-line.  Contact EBI today and let one of our industry experts share their knowledge and demonstrate how the use of SMART Technology can ultimately keep you compliant and build critical efficiencies into your screening program.

Employment Background Investigations (EBI) works with employers globally to provide a full range of comprehensive and legally compliant employment background check, drug testing, occupational healthcare, and electronic form I-9 solutions.  Our "Just One Solution" suite of services will help reduce the risks and liabilities of a bad hire!  EBI is committed to providing employers with valuable education and resources on changing legislation and cutting-edge and compliant solutions to meet federal, state, local, and international mandatory requirements.  EBI is not providing legal advice or counsel and nothing provided in this document should be deemed as legal guidance or advice.  Readers should consult with their own legal counsel to determine their responsibilities or if they have questions on any information provided by EBI.

EEOC To Provide Guidance On The Use Of Criminal Records For Employment Purposes

 

EEOC SealOver the past several months, Employment Background Investigations (EBI) has provided our clients and readers with updates and commentary regarding the EEOC’s focus on the use criminal records and credit history as it relates to background screening and the hiring process.  The EEOC has conducted several meetings regarding this matter and provided an opportunity for public comment after its July 26th meeting in 2011.  EBI, along with the National Association of Professional Background Screeners (NAPBS) and other employer associations and stakeholders continue to lobby for the open and sensible use of criminal records and credit history information to enable employers to make informed hiring decisions.  Using such information can help guide employers, highlight the potential risks of workplace violence, negligent hiring and retention liability, and alert employers to potential risks of fraud, theft and embezzlement. 

On April 25th, the Equal Opportunity Commission (EEOC) is expected to vote and release new enforcement guidance as it relates to the use of arrest and conviction records for employers.  This will be the Commission’s first policy statement since the ramp up of the Commission’s E-RACE initiative released in late 2008. 

On April 26th, EBI’s legal partner and background screening legal expert, Pam Devata, from SeyFarth Shaw LLP, will be hosting a one hour FREE webinar on Thursday, April 26, 2012 at 2:30 pm EDT to provide a comprehensive analysis of the EEOC’s new guidance and provide employers with steps to take to help mitigate the risks and challenges with compliance under Title VII and the EEOC’s guidance. 

We hope you can join the webinar, please register below!

EBI is committed to providing employers with valuable education and resources on changing legislation and cutting-edge and compliant solutions to meet federal, state, local and international mandatory requirements.  EBI will continue to update you on any further action or information available regarding this topic.  EBI is not providing legal advice or counsel and nothing provided within this post should be deemed as legal guidance or advice.  Readers should consult with their own legal counsel to determine their legal responsibilities or if they have questions on any information provided by EBI.

 register-for-the-webinar  

California Restricts The Use Of Employment Credit Reports To Certain Positions

 

California Credit Reports RestrictedCalifornia has become the seventh state to restrict the use of credit report information for employment purposes as Governor Jerry Brown signed Assembly Bill 22 on October 10, 2011. The new guidelines go into effect January 1, 2012, and employers in California may only use a consumer credit reports for employment purposes if the report is sought for one of the following: 

  • A managerial position;
  • A position in the state Department of Justice;
  • A sworn peace officer or other law enforcement;
  • A position for which the information contained in the report is required by law to be disclosed or obtained;
  • A position that involves regular access to confidential information ( credit card account information, Social security number, or Date of birth);
  • A position which the person can enter into financial transactions on behalf of the company;
  • A position that involves access to confidential or proprietary information; or
  • A position that involves regular access to employer, customer, or client cash totaling $10,000 or greater during the workday. 

EBI understands that when these new guidelines go into effect January 1, 2011, employers in California who obtain a consumer report for one of the limited exceptions outlined in the statute must provide the person for whom the credit report is sought with: 

  • Written disclosure that a report will be requested;
  • A check box allowing the applicant to request a copy of the credit report at no charge; and;
  • The specific reasons for obtaining the report as provided in the statute. 

Employers subject to these new requirements should contact their legal counsel for guidance immediately and revise their policies accordingly.

Employment Credit Reports From EBI
At EBI, we understand the critical role credit reports play in assessing a candidate or even a current employee.  EBI offers access to FCRA compliant employment credit reports in a secure and confidential manner.  EBI can provide a complete picture of your candidate, confirming the candidate’s true identity, address history, and credit worthiness with our “one stop” background screening solutions.  If you would like to know more about what other states restrict the use of credit reports please read the following article titled “Credit Reports For Employment Purposes – State Law Compliance”.

EBI is committed to providing employers with valuable education and resources on changing legislation and cutting-edge and compliant solutions to meet federal, state, local and international mandatory requirements. If you found this information useful, select the button listed below and access more industry news, resources and tips from EBI, an NAPBS Accredited screening firm and global leader in the background screening industry!

learn-more

 

Synopsis Of EEOC Meeting - Arrest And Conviction Records As A Barrier To Employment

 

describe the imageOn July 20, 2011, EBI sent our clients and newsroom readers a blog post, “EEOC Meeting On The Use of Criminal Record for Background Checks.”  As a follow-up to this post, EBI is providing a synopsis of that public hearing that took place at the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission’s (EEOC) headquarters in Washington, DC on July 26th.  The focus of this meeting was entitled “Arrest and Conviction Records as a Barrier to Employment”.  The meeting was attended by all five EEOC Commissioners and an audience of approximately 250 to 300 interested parties which was a record attendance for an EEOC monthly meeting.  There were three panel discussions and witnesses that directly or indirectly urged the EEOC to revise its guidance on the use of arrest and conviction records in employment screening.  It was the opinion of many that one’s criminal history serves as a barrier to employment which in-turn leads to a higher rate of recidivism.  It is also the opinion of many of the witnesses and interested parties that gainful employment of ex-offenders would in-turn reduce recidivism.

The following was the focus and participants of the three panel discussions:

  • “Best Practices for Employers” included representatives from the DC Central Kitchen, Portfolio Hotels & Resorts and the U.S. Office of Personnel Management.
  • “An Overview of Local, State and Federal Programs and Policies” included witnesses from the Department of Justice, Office of Justice Program and the New Jersey Institute for Social Justice.
  • “Legal Standards Governing Employers’ Consideration of Criminal Arrest and Conviction Records” included a Latino Justice, one attorney representing the plaintiff’s bar and another attorney loosely representing the employer community. 

The Need To Further Educate The EEOC And Interested Parties
For some time, The EEOC has been exploring the issue of the use of arrest and conviction records in employment background checks. The overall meeting presented an incomplete picture of background screening as many were left with the impression that employers may regularly use online searches or even social media to research job candidates and that an applicant had no meaningful recourse that addressed adverse action taken against them when criminal records information was being considered or used for employment purposes.  As employers are aware when they use a Consumer Reporting Agency/Background Screening Firm, this process is clearly defined by the “Fair Credit Reporting Act” and through applicant/employee notification of their “Summary of Rights Under The FCRA.”  In addition, this entire process is already regulated and monitored by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC).  The point and outcome from this meeting leaves us all to wonder if the EEOC is going to consider future time limitation on the use of criminal records information.  On the positive side, there is a further opportunity to educate the EEOC and other interested parties on the true and current best practice that employers are using background checks under federal law.

The basis of the meeting overshadowed the true use of background screening and provided no balance with witnesses presenting the advantages of background screening in terms of victims of workplace violence, theft, other crimes or safety and security risks from not screening. There was no opportunity for witnesses to fully explain the need and value of appropriately conducting criminal history checks by employers and the critical role the background screening industry plays in the hiring and retention process. 

Further Consideration For The EEOC
The EEOC enforces federal laws prohibiting employment discrimination and the commission’s main concern is whether employers are using arrest and conviction records in a manner that violates Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.  

The focus of the EEOC appears to be the Commissions’ desire to revise its guidance as a primary concern with the high rate of recidivism and the need for successful re-entry of ex-offenders.  The commission may revisit factors of job relatedness and business necessity factors which employers must take a closer look at the nature of the job, the nature and seriousness of the offense, and the length of time since it occurred.  Additional consideration may focus on the following factors of one’s rehabilitation, individualized assessments, and the placement of timelines on length of time that criminal history records can be used.

Next Steps To Be Taken On Our Behalf
The National Association of Professional Background Screeners (NAPBS), along with EBI and other interested parties, will be filing additional comments on the outcome of this meeting directly to the EEOC.  We will keep you posted of further actions and outcome of our efforts.

Additional EEOC Resources
Employers are reminded to utilize the following resources published by the EEOC when making hiring decisions based on criminal records information.  You can find these resources located on the EEOC’s website.

EEOC Policy Statement On The Use Of Criminal Convictions

EEOC Policy Guidance On The Consideration Of Arrest Records

EEOC Policy Guidance On The Use Of Conviction And Arrest Records

Employment Background Investigations, Inc. is committed to providing employers with valuable education, news and resources around background screening, drug testing, occupational healthcare and employment eligibility.  All content provided by EBI is published for the convenience of its readers and should never be deemed as legal guidance or advice.  Always consult your legal counsel for specific advice on local laws and industry regulations.

EBI is committed to providing employers with valuable education and resources on changing legislation and cutting-edge and compliant solutions to meet federal, state, local and international mandatory requirements. If you found this information useful, select the button listed below and access more industry news, resources and tips from EBI, an NAPBS Accredited screening firm and global leader in the background screening industry!

 

Connecticut Law Will Restrict Use Of Credit Reports For Employment Background Checks

 

Connecticut Credit Report ComlianceConnecticut Governor Dannell P. Malloy has signed new legislation (S.B. 361) which will prohibit most employers from utilizing applicant and employee credit reports for employment decisions effective October 1, 2011. The law specifies employers may not require an employee or prospective employee to consent to a request for a credit report unless: (1) such employer is a financial institution, (2) such report is required by law, (3) the employer reasonably believes that the employee has engaged in specific activity that constitutes a violation of the law related to the employee's employment, or (4) such report is substantially related to the employee's current or potential job or the employer has a bona fide purpose for requesting or using information in the credit report that is substantially job-related and is disclosed in writing to the employee or applicant. 

The law defines credit report information as “substantially related” if the position: 

  • Is a managerial position which involves setting the direction or control of a business, division, unit or an agency of a business;
  • Involves access to customers', employees' or the employer's personal or financial information other than information customarily provided in a retail transaction;
  • Involves a fiduciary responsibility to the employer, including, but not limited to, the authority to issue payments, collect debts, transfer money or enter into contracts;
  • Provides an expense account or corporate debit or credit card;  
  • Provides access to (i) confidential or proprietary business information, or (ii) information, including a formula, pattern, compilation, program, device, method, technique, process or trade secret that: (I) Derives independent economic value, actual or potential, from not being generally known to, and not being readily ascertainable by proper means by, other persons who can obtain economic value from the disclosure or use of the information; and (II) is the subject of efforts that are reasonable under the circumstances to maintain its secrecy; or
  • Involves access to the employer's nonfinancial assets valued at two thousand five dollars or more, including, but not limited to, museum and library collections and to prescription drugs and other pharmaceuticals. 

Employers who violate these guidelines shall be liable to the Labor Department for a $300 civil penalty for each inquiry made in violation of the law, and employers should consider revising their current policies to align with the new provisions. Please note that Hawaii, Illinois, Maryland, Oregon, and Washington are the other states that have similar restrictions pertaining to the utilization of credit report information for employment decisions.

The Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) authorizes the use of credit report information for employment purposes; however, the proper use of this information within the hiring decision process is imperative to avoid discrimination and legal liability.  As best practice, employers should always review credit report information on an individual basis, per applicant, and only as it relates directly to the specific job function.  EBI advises employers to meet with legal counsel to review compliance guidelines on the use of credit reports within their state. 

All information contained herein is provided by Employment Background Investigations solely for the convenience of its clients. EBI is not providing legal advice or counsel and nothing provided within this article should be deemed as legal guidance or advice. Readers should consult with their own legal counsel to determine their legal requirements or if they have questions on any information provided by EBI.

EBI is committed to providing employers with valuable education and resources on changing legislation and cutting-edge and compliant solutions to meet federal, state, local and international mandatory requirements. If you found this information useful, select the button listed below and access more industry news, resources and tips from EBI, an NAPBS Accredited screening firm and global leader in the background screening industry!

 

Oklahoma Standards For Workplace Drug And Alcohol Testing Act Amended

 

Oklahoma Legislative AlertGovernor Mary Fallin has signed numerous amendments to the Oklahoma Standards for Workplace Drug and Alcohol Testing Act and the changes to the law will go into effect November 1, 2011.  Employers in Oklahoma may need to update or revise their existing substance-abuse testing programs to accommodate these new modifications.


Some key amendments to the law include: 

  • Companies will be permitted to drug test independent contractors, subcontractors and employees of independent contractors, provided the contractual agreement allows such testing, and other workers at the workplace are similarly subject to testing;
  • Employers can change or implement new drug testing policies by giving 10 days notice, compared to 30 days under the previous law.
  • Express direction that the use of other methods of testing including breathalyzers and “onsite or quick testing device(s)” may be implemented as part of an employer policy;
  • It will become more difficult for employees who have been terminated for testing positive or refusing to take a drug and alcohol test to obtain unemployment compensation benefits.
  • The statute of limitations for civil suits alleging will violation of the Act has been reduced from two years to one year, and the plaintiff must prove “the employer had a specific intent to violate the act.”
  • Any prevailing defendant may be awarded reasonable costs and attorney fees;
  • The possibility of criminal consequences for violations of the Act have been repealed. 

Employers who are subject to these new guidelines should contact their legal counsel and/or revise their policies accordingly.  EBI works with employers within the state of Oklahoma to design fast, cost-effective and compliant drug and alcohol testing programs

Employment Background Investigation, Inc. is committed to providing employers with valuable education, news and resources around background screening, drug testing, occupational healthcare and employment eligibility.  All content provided by EBI is published for the convenience of its readers and should never be deemed as legal guidance or advice.  Always consult your legal counsel for specific advice on local laws and industry regulations. 

If you found this information useful, select the button listed below and access more industry news, resources and tips from EBI, an NAPBS Accredited screening firm and global leader in the background screening industry!

 

 

Philadelphia Employers May Need To Revise Criminal History Questions On Employment Applications

 

Philadelphia City Seal Small resized 600On April 13, 2011, City of Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter signed Bill No. 110111- A, which was passed by the Philadelphia City Council on March 31, 2011 and the new law will take effect on July 12, 2011.  The “Fair Criminal Record Screening Standards” law establishes provisions and requirements for the use of criminal history information by certain employers within the City of Philadelphia.  Among other provisions, the new law prohibits employers from engaging in “unlawful discriminatory practices” such as including criminal history questions on employment applications and from making adverse employment decisions based on arrests that did not result in convictions.

Here is a synopsis on how this new law may affect you as a Philadelphia employer: 

  • Any public or private employer with 10 or more employees within the City of Philadelphia is effected;
  • Employers are prohibited from requiring applicants to disclose their criminal history until after the employer accepts the application and conducts the first telephone or in-person employment interview;
  • The use of criminal history questions on an employer’s application before an interview would be considered an “unlawful discriminatory practice”;
  • Employers that do not conduct an initial interview are barred from making any inquires regarding prior criminal history unless first disclosed by the applicant;
  • The ordinance also bars employers from inquiring about or taking adverse action against an applicant on the basis of an arrest or criminal accusation that is not pending and did not result in a conviction, which would also be considered an “unlawful discriminatory practice;
  • The ordinance does not bar employers from using criminal history after the first interview so long as they do not inquire about arrests or criminal accusations that are not pending or that did not result in convictions;
  • The ordinance does not supersede inquiries or adverse employment actions specifically authorized by any other applicable laws;
  • The ordinance does not apply to “Criminal Justice Agencies,” as that term is defined in the ordinance 

Philadelphia’s new “Fair Criminal Record Screening Standards” is additional legislation that comes on the heels of other cities, counties and states that further restrict employers inquiring into past applicant criminal history on employment applications.  Many of these laws prohibit public employers; however, may impact private employers as well.  Philadelphia is the first major city to pass a “ban the box” ordinance that affects both private and public employers. To date, there are 26 cities and counties that have similar local laws.  Most affect public employers; however a few local ordinances affect private employers as well.  Employers should seek local legal counsel and re-evaluate their hiring and screening practices to ensure their application and employment practices are legal and compliant.

All information contained herein is provided by Employment Background Investigations solely for the convenience of its readers. EBI is not providing legal advice or counsel and nothing provided within this article should be deemed as legal guidance or advice. Readers should consult with their own legal counsel to determine their legal requirements or if they have questions on any information provided by EBI.

EBI is committed to providing employers with valuable education and resources on changing legislation and cutting-edge and compliant solutions to meet federal, state, local and international mandatory requirements. If you found this information useful, select the button listed below and access more industry news, resources and tips from EBI, an NAPBS Accredited screening firm and global leader in the background screening industry!

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