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Ban the Box Updates: What Employers Need to Know

What are Ban-The-Box Laws?

By now, most HR professionals and hiring managers have heard of Ban the Box and the legislation that is sweeping the nation. In simplest terms, Ban the Box means that employers cannot ask on a job application or in certain parts of the hiring process about criminal history. For example, blanket statements like, “have you ever been convicted of a crime?”

These laws aim for employers to focus on applicants’ qualifications first, without blanket no-hire policies due to past criminal activity. In most cases, employers must wait until a conditional offer of employment before asking about criminal history or conducting a background check.

On December 20, 2021, the Fair Chance Act went into place to give previous offenders a chance to find work in the United State Federal Government. The Fair Chance Act will “Ban the Box” asking about arrest and conviction history on job applicants for most Federal agencies and contractors. These questions and the background check cannot be started until the conditional job offer has been extended.

The Federal Government has this in place for it’s employees and contractors. What does this mean for Private Employers or Local Governments across the country? This is where you’ll need to dive in a little deeper!

According to the National Employment Law Project (NELP) there are currently 37 states and over 150 cities and counties have adopted similar laws.

 

What steps can you take to be compliant?

Navigating Ban the box laws can be confusing. We recommend, as a first step, consulting with your legal counsel. They’ll be able to look at your company profile, industry, and location to see what, ban the box laws apply to you.

You’ll want to take that information and then review your job descriptions and applications. You’ll also want to be sure your hiring managers only ask about the criminal industry during the correct time in the hiring process.

Whether these laws will apply to your organization will depend on several factors:

  • Company size
  • Location(s) you hire in (City, Counties, and States)
  • Are you a public or private employer?
  • What is your industry? Different regulations can apply to education, childcare, health care, law enforcement etc.

NELP has a detailed chart that is updated several times throughout the year to see whether your city, county or state has a policy or law.

While Public employers appear to be moving to Ban the Box quicker than Private employers, the lists continue to grow.

Currently, 15 states have Ban the Box in place for Private employers. These include:

 

California, Colorado, Connecticut, Hawai’i, Illinois, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, New Jersey, New Mexico, Oregon, Rhode Island, Vermont, and Washington.

Furthermore, 22 cities and counties have Ban the Box in place for Private employers. These include:

Austin, TX; Baltimore, MD; Buffalo, NY; Chicago, IL; Columbia, MO; DeSoto, TX; District of Columbia; Kansas City, MO; Los Angeles, CA; Montgomery County, MD; New York­, NY; Philadelphia, PA; Portland, OR; Prince George’s County, MD; Rochester, NY; San Francisco, CA; Seattle, WA; Spokane, WA; St. Louis, MO; Suffolk County, NY; Waterloo, IA; and Westchester County, NY.


What’s next?

It’s important to remember that background checks are still a crucial part of the hiring process. Not even the Federal Government, which has adopted Ban the Box entirely, is removing background screening from their hiring process. The safety of your employees, customers, and your organization’s reputation is still important.

As these laws continue to sweep the country it’s always best practice to ensure that your background check process is up to date. Then when it’s time to run the background check after a conditional job offer, you can keep things moving quickly.

One Source always recommends reviewing these four areas:

  • Background Check Policy
  • Disclosure and Authorization
  • Quality of Data
  • Adverse Action

Reach out to our team if you have any questions on ways you can follow compliance laws and regulations. Or you can learn more about how to stay compliant through our blog, Blueprint to a Compliant Background Check Process.

What Non-profits can Benefit from a Reliable Background Check Provider

Non-profit organizations understand, now more than ever, that accomplishing their mission rests on the shoulders of the people they hire and the volunteers that serve. Gone are the days when anyone willing to show up qualifies to represent the organization and its mission.

To safeguard against risks posed by employees and volunteers, most non-profit organizations have implemented background screening in their onboarding programs. They may conduct background checks internally by accessing state criminal record repositories and/or inexpensive “instant” online background checks or partnering with a professional background check provider.

Though not all background check providers are created equal, there are some notable benefits for non-profits partnering with the right one.

So, what do nonprofits need to look for in a reliable screening provider?
We recommend the three E’s – Expertise, Efficiency, and Effectiveness

Expertise

A reliable background check provider is a Consumer Reporting Agency (CRA) accredited by the Professional Background Screening Association (PBSA). To be accredited means they are an expert in the screening industry and the local, state, and federal laws that govern it. Be sure to partner with a background check company that follows the federal Fair Credit Reporting Act or FCRA which includes numerous regulations that govern the onboarding practices for employers and non-profits included, across the United States.

Efficiency

Non-profits are tasked with being good stewards of their money and maximizing every dollar they receive. They want to devote their time, talent and treasure to their mission which may leave little to spend on other top priorities like quality staffing and onboarding procedures. While cost-efficiency in background screening is critical, “the cheaper the better” rarely rings true and may increase risk as the cost of the background check is not always indicative of its quality or accuracy.
An efficient background check provider should have these services to provide you with the answers you need to make an informed decision:

  • Automation Capabilities
  • Mobile-friendly Processes
  • Customizable Solutions
  • Real-time Data

Effectiveness

Non-profits need thorough background checks to maximize their recipients’ safety and fulfill their mission. The reports need to comply with FCRA and similar regulations. Above all, the reports should be fully customizable to serve the unique needs of every organization. The right background check provider aligns with the non-profit’s values and empowers its goal of onboarding volunteers and employees through informed decisions.

By entrusting their screening to a reliable background check provider nonprofit leaders can provide an additional layer of protection for their organizations and those they serve.

If you are interested in learning about best practices in volunteer screening, make sure to read our blog. Whether you’re considering volunteer screening for the first time or you’re a well-seasoned veteran, learn how to create an efficient screening process for your volunteers, here.

3 Background Check Budgeting Tips

Every organization’s budget is as unique and specialized as the organization itself. When determining the budget allotment for screening services, financial teams must consider the potential volume of screenings they will conduct and the specific checks they will require. Different industries have a wide variety of hiring and turnover expectations, and all of this must be accounted for in a background check budget.

When these expectations are measured and fine-tuned to each organization, they help maximize background checks while staying within financial margins. Even organizations that do not typically set aside funds for screenings should make a habit of budgeting for compliant background checks. The cost of making an uninformed hiring choice always exceeds the cost of screening an excellent hiring choice.

Here are 3 background check budgeting tips so an organization can keep security and informed hiring in mind while budgeting.

 

Tailor screenings to job descriptions

No matter how much room you have in your budget for hiring and recruitment, your HR department can keep background check costs low by carefully choosing what job titles require certain screenings. Some positions may not need screening beyond a basic background check, and others may need more in-depth checks based on the duties of the job.

For example, you could run a standard background check on every applicant but only perform driving record checks on applicants you are certain will drive for work. By performing an audit of your available positions and deciding the amount of screening each job needs, you can save money and only order specialized checks when they’re absolutely necessary.

 

Understand your industry’s workforce turnover

Hiring new team members can be exciting, but it includes extra—sometimes unexpected—costs. You have to consider the time and money it takes to recruit, hire, train. and screen applicants. By knowing the average turnover of your industry, you can better predict your hiring costs and avoid unforeseen expenses.

Some workforces can turn over more than 20 percent of their team each year, especially in times of growth. Base your turnover expectations on your previous year, then proactively set your screening budget to accommodate growth. As the year unfolds, keep track of your real turnover rate to make more accurate predictions for the next year. If you land on a relatively accurate estimate of your hiring costs, you can make better use of your background check provider’s services.

 

Manage your risks

The best thing your organization can do is save money, minimize risk and build a constructive culture. Background checks will help you make hiring choices that best align with your organization’s mission and values. When you budget for screening services, your investment is returned through a reliable, trustworthy workforce..

By properly screening each of your applicants, you’ll avoid the cost of negligent hiring and Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) noncompliance lawsuits. If you would like to learn more about how background checks can fit into your organization’s budget, contact the One Source Client Relations Team.

3 Reasons Why Companies Should Utilize Social Media Checks

The gold standard in background screening has traditionally been the pre-employment background check on a candidate before extending an offer. Times have changed, though, and so has the information available to onboarding managers.

While it’s important to know if your potential hire has been convicted of a felony or misdemeanor, falsified employment, or education information, etc., you may also want a glimpse at any possible behavioral issues the candidate exhibits that could put your organization, clients, or team members at risk.

A great way to gather this information is through Social Media Screening. Whether it’s Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, or a scan of media and news outlets, it feels almost natural to pursue someone’s social media for a closer look into their life. Here are three reasons why many of our clients utilize Social Media Screening.

Enhance Safety Within the Organization

It’s crucial, and social media checks can aid in this process during onboarding. These checks offer information on applicants’ social media accounts to provide a more precise picture of their behaviors and personality online and limit the risk of onboarding those who don’t align with the basic code of conduct or your core values. Illegal activity, violence, or sexually explicit material posted on their accounts is flagged, shared on the report, and sent to the onboarding manager to review.

Prevents Potential Discrimination Accusations

Outsource. Outsource. Outsource. Outsourcing your social media screening can help diminish potential workplace discrimination during the onboarding process. Scrolling through an applicant’s account can put you in a sticky situation if you try to do the screenings yourself. You want to make sure you have an unbiased view so you don’t encounter compliance issues.

It can also go the other way. Suppose an applicant’s account shows potential issues involving race, sexual orientation, gender, religion, or age discrimination. Social Media checks will flag the content for review, so you don’t risk onboarding that individual.

Prevents Reputation Risks

Your team members are the face of your company and what you stand for. When they aren’t at work, anything they do or say can reflect on your company, good or bad. There is a lot of pressure for companies to be consistent with their policies and values with an online presence. Social media checks can show how an individual presents themselves to the internet – meaning you can see a report of any flagged content that might not align with your company’s values and could make your company look bad.

To learn more about Social Media Screening, check out Should social media checks be included in screenings or contact our Client Relations Team.

How the One Source Certified Contractors Program Works for You

Certified contractors are sometimes essential to the operation of your business, facility, or team. They come in temporarily to renovate, consult, update and fix pieces of your organization. So, hiring them is often an easy choice. Contract workers can be extremely useful for short-term projects. However, potential risks can come with hiring them, so it’s best to exercise caution.

If you allow contractors access to your facilities and networks, it is in your best interest to background check them like any full-time employee. Whether a contractor is troubleshooting your computers, working with your plumbing system, or painting your office space, you should be able to trust them with your property and information.

At One Source, we offer a simple way to ensure the contractors you hire will be reliable and safe through the One Source Certified Contractor (OSCC) program. This program looks into the backgrounds of contractors to see if they meet a set of standards identified by One Source. Should the contractor fail to meet these standards, they will not receive access to your site.

The OSCC program saves you time, money, and resources because neither you nor the contractor have to commission or interpret full background checks.

When you check the OSCC portal, you can see if certain contractors are certified against a set of standards, which you can review here. These standards were built by background check professionals and are intended to keep you, your organization, and the contractors as safe as possible.

The OSCC program is part of the many ways One Source prioritizes the needs of businesses and ensures their security. The best part of the OSCC is that it is completely free for you to use. In order to run OSCC background checks on contractors, all you need is a contractor’s OSCC credentials. Enter those credentials into the search bar on the OSCC Search page, and One Source will check them to the highest standard.

Make sure everyone entering your organization to temporarily work is vetted with the OSCC program.  You can also utilize One Source’s comprehensive background check options. Learn more about how we can provide background checks for everyone in your organization by reaching out to our team today.

FAQs: The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) is a federal government agency tasked with enforcing civil rights laws against workplace discrimination. They investigate claims against businesses for discriminating based on race, color, national origin, religion, sex, age, disability, sexual orientation, gender identity, genetic information. The EEOC also ensures businesses do not retaliate against those who report or oppose a discriminatory practice.

Agencies as large and impactful as the EEOC have a lot of influence over how businesses conduct themselves. It can seem like a big task to identify all the regulations they place on your business and whether you are following them. 

That’s why we have broken down some of the most commonly asked questions about the EEOC. Your business is likely already compliant with the regulations the EEOC applies to you. However, it’s good to be aware of what those regulations are. Knowing what they mean can further strengthen your hiring process.

How does the EEOC apply to my business?

The key factor in how the EEOC applies is how many employees your business has.

  • If you have at least one employee: Employers must provide equal pay for equal work to male and female employees.
  • If you have 15 to 19 employees: You cannot discriminate based on race, color, religion, sex (including pregnancy, sexual orientation, or gender identity), national origin, disability, and genetic information (including family medical history). You also must provide equal pay for equal work.
  • If you have 20 or more employees: All of the above regulations apply. Additionally, you cannot discriminate based upon age (40 or older). 

What are my responsibilities to my employees under the EEOC?

Here is a general list of your main EEOC obligations toward your applicants, employees, and former employees. 

  • You must pay male and female employees who perform the same work equally unless you can legally justify a pay difference.
  • You cannot discriminate against or harass applicants in any way.
  • Your employment policies or practices cannot have a negative effect on applicants or employees. All policies or practices must be related to the job and necessary for the operation of your business.
  • You cannot use employment policies or practices that have a negative effect on applicants or employees who are 40 or older unless the policies or practices are based on a reasonable factor other than age.
  • You may be required to provide reasonable accommodations because of an applicant’s or employee’s religious beliefs or disability.
  • During the hiring process, you cannot request medical or genetic information from applicants. You may request medical or genetic information from employees only in limited circumstances. Any health information you do obtain must be kept confidential.
  • No one can punish an applicant, employee, or former employee for reporting or opposing discrimination or participating in a discrimination investigation.
  • You must display a poster at your business that describes federal employment discrimination laws, so employees are aware of their rights.
  • Keep any employment records, such as applications, personnel records, and payroll records on file.

What can’t I ask candidates during hiring?

Your business’s ethics will drive what you do and don’t ask in interviews, but there are some questions you legally cannot ask. Specifically, employers can’t ask questions about an applicant’s disability. They also cannot ask questions that are likely to reveal whether an applicant has a disability. This applies even if the disability is clear. You can ask the applicant to describe or demonstrate how they would perform specific job tasks, but you can’t ask about their disability.

However, you can ask applicants who have disclosed their disability or have a clear disability if they need specific accommodations. You also can ask an applicant to voluntarily report that they have a disability for affirmative action purposes.

What do I do if my business receives an EEOC charge of discrimination?

If you follow the above guidelines and maintain a positive, healthy work environment, it is unlikely you will be charged with discrimination. Still, it is best to always be prepared. Should your business face an EEOC investigation, you should follow these steps.

  • Review the charge notice carefully. It does not mean that you have violated EEOC laws, but rather is informing you that there has been a complaint of discrimination.
  • Closely follow the directions on the EEOC charge notice. The notice will likely ask you to provide a response to the charge or a position statement. This is your chance to defend your organization against the complaint.
  • Respond to requests for additional information from the EEOC, even if you believe that the charge is frivolous. They may help the EEOC dismiss the charge. 
  • Protect your employees from retaliation. Make sure no employees are punished for filing a complaint or contributing to an investigation. Retaliation is illegal, even if the original charge is dismissed.
  • EEOC mediation can help you resolve the charge quickly at no cost.
  • Contact the EEOC investigator assigned to your charge if you have questions.

Compliance is a wide and varied topic, but the experts at One Source can help you navigate ethical hiring with ease. Inquire today to see how we can collaborate to create a simple, efficient, EEOC-compliant hiring process for your organization. 

 

Here’s How to Fast-Track Your Hiring While Staying Compliant

Found an amazing candidate and want to get them on your team ASAP? Need some extra help starting next week? Sometimes, we are required to recruit, interview, and onboard new employees at lightning speed. But, that does not mean background check protocols can loosen.

Complete, accurate background reporting does take work and should not be rushed. That doesn’t mean background checks will slow your hiring process down. One Source completes most background checks in 48 hours or less.

So you don’t need to worry about background checks themselves slowing your hiring process. Background checks are meant to advance quality hiring, not hinder it. However, the most consequential part of background screening compliance—can slow you down if you are not prepared to manage it. The best way to get ahead and stay compliant is by preparing your team and applicants to understand what compliance is and how it works.

Generally, compliance in the background check world refers to Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) compliance. The FCRA provides a set of rights for applicants and rules for employers that you must follow to avoid legal issues. By understanding the FCRA and prioritizing it in your hiring process, compliance won’t slow down hiring.

So what does the FCRA require?

The FCRA promotes the accuracy, fairness, and privacy of information in the files of consumer reporting agencies to protect those subjected to background checks. In order to be compliant with the FCRA, your organization and your background check agency must take measures to gain the consent of your applicants to screen them.

The simplest thing you can do to stay compliant with the FCRA is to ensure everyone gives written consent to a screening. You can’t make any progress in the background check process until you have consent, so it’s in your best interest to pursue that as quickly as possible.

Including a consent form early in an online application is an easy way to secure compliance. You can also explain in the application how critical it is for the candidate to sign off on their background check. In the most quick-turn instances, you could give applicants a deadline to submit their application, which includes the background check consent form.

Once you have your pool of candidates who have consented to the background check, you can prepare for the next stage of the hiring process—background checks and hiring decisions. The FCRA states that anyone you run a background check on has the right to know everything in their file. So if they request access to their report, you must provide them with the information they have reported.

You can work with your background check agency beforehand to prepare for situations where candidates request copies of their reports. Overall, the best way to stay compliant while streamlining your hiring process is to be proactive, prepared, and collaborative with your screening agency.

A background check partner like One Source will have your back throughout the hiring process. And help you get ready for an efficient, compliant background check process. One Source has years of experience to support your hiring, and we are compliance experts that are ready to guide your hiring team. To learn more about how One Source can serve your hiring process, reach out to us! We will be happy to talk. 

How Employers and Applicants Should Handle Adverse Action

If a company is running a background check for the permissible purpose of employment and the background check results lead an employer to reject an applicant or dismiss an employee, the employer is required to tell the applicant through an adverse action notice. Should you ever encounter this situation in your hiring, it’s important to understand and be prepared for your responsibilities as you pursue adverse action—as well as the rights of the applicant. 

According to the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA)—adverse action is taken when an employer removes an applicant or employee from job eligibility due to the results of a background check. The FCRA has strict rules regarding adverse action to protect the applicants and hold the employers accountable. Employers who improperly take adverse action can face fines and even unfair-hiring lawsuits.

So how can you be certain that you are following adverse action protocols properly? There are a few key steps to remember in order to remove an applicant from consideration while protecting yourself from legal trouble. If you decide you want to take adverse action, here’s what you must be sure you do:

  1. Notify the individual and share the background report: As soon as you know you may take adverse action, you must notify the applicant of your intent with a pre-adverse action letter. One Source can help you prepare this letter. Keep a record of the letter itself, any attachments, and the date you sent it. With the letter, you must send a copy of the background check and a copy of their FCRA rights.
  2. Allow time for them to respond: Hang tight for a bit while the applicant reviews the background report. They have the right to address any potentially inaccurate information or clarify the points of contention on their record. The FCRA advises waiting a “reasonable amount of time”. A common practice is to wait five business days.
  3. Take another look: Consider the applicant’s response to your pre-adverse action notice. Did any information on their report get corrected? Did the applicant provide context that changes your understanding of their report? Look over the report one more time and see if you would still like to take adverse action. If you want to move forward with adverse action, you will have to prepare another letter to notify the applicant of your decision.
  4. Properly inform the applicant of adverse action: In your final adverse action letter, you must explain your choice and tell the applicant that they have the right to dispute your decision. Provide the necessary information for them to get another copy of their report. If you hire a background check agency like One Source, you also need to say that the choice to take adverse action was made by you, the employer, not the reporting agency. Be sure to keep a copy of the letter, its attachments, and the date you sent it. 
  5. Destroy sensitive documents: The FCRA requires employers to dispose of background check results securely. Shred or destroy paper copies of the background check, and be sure any digital copies are completely erased. Reports are kept within the One Source platform for at least two years from the date of order entry. 

One Source is always here to help you through processes like adverse action, and we can answer any further questions you have. Reach out to us today to learn more about our TotalCheck Solutions and how we can help you find the best applicant for your organization.

The Importance of Screening Child Care Providers

Of course, you want your children to be in as safe and nurturing of an environment as possible when you’re not with them. You must be able to trust your child care provider to not only keep your child from harm but provide ways for your child to learn and grow.

The most straightforward way to ensure your child care provider is dependable is to run a comprehensive background check on them. You can supplement with interviews and facility tours, but background checks are an essential foundation for trust.

Each state has its own set of screening requirements for child care providers, but it’s in your best interest to be thorough regardless of your local regulations. No matter where you are, One Source can quickly provide comprehensive screenings for your child care providers.

There are federal laws outlining what screenings child care providers should undergo—these may be applied in any state and can offer a full understanding of who a potential child care provider is. Federal background check requirements for child care workers include:

  • A Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) fingerprint check to ensure a child care provider has no history of convictions that may put a child at risk.
  • Search of the National Sex Offender Registry.
  • Search the criminal registries of every state the provider has lived in the past 5 years (fingerprints are required in the state where the child care provider lives right now).
  • Search state sex offender registries of every state the provider has lived in the past 5 years.
  • Search child abuse and neglect registries of every state the provider has lived in the past 5 years.

FBI fingerprinting can take a while, but it is a required and thorough search for child care providers. While you’re waiting for the results of fingerprinting, One Source can complete the rest of the screening requirements plus additional checks about the background and education of your child care provider. We also suggest screening or asking about the screenings of those who interact with your child care provider, including:

  • All adults living in a home-based child care center.
  • All child care center staff members, including directors, teachers, caregivers, bus drivers, janitors, kitchen staff, and administration.
  • Every adult volunteering at your child care center who will have unsupervised access to your child.
  • Sports, art or dance instructors or any other adult who may have unsupervised access to your child.

It likely doesn’t make sense for you to personally screen each of these people, but you should definitely ask your child care provider if each of these individuals has been screened and if you can see the results. All child care providers must meet screening requirements, whether they are licensed or not. So, you should always be able to screen your child care providers and ask for proof of background checks for everyone who works in their facility.

Above all, you want to keep your children safe, and One Source is here to help you. Our comprehensive background checks are completed in no more than a few days so you can make a confident choice about where to send your child. If you have further questions about background checking child care providers, please reach out to our Client Relations team.

Tips to Prepare Your Hiring Process for 2021

If your organization has needed to change and adapt its hiring process in 2020, you’re not alone. The pandemic has brought forth previously unforeseeable challenges including furloughs, layoffs, hiring freezes and more. Whether your organization has taken any of these measures or not, the events of 2020 have likely caused you to rethink your priorities and methods.

Preparing for the future—and all its uncertainties—means focusing your efforts and finding efficiencies. One Source can help you find ways to smooth out your hiring process and strengthen your security while hiring the best candidates for you. Below are some of our tips for how you can prepare and hone your hiring process so your organization can thrive—whatever lies ahead.

Streamline the Applicant Experience

The increase in unemployment in 2020 has created an influx of applicants and a scarcity of open positions. Don’t be surprised to see higher numbers of applicants for any opening you post in 2021, just make sure you’re ready to manage the uptick. 

Regardless of whether you hire a certain individual, their application and interview experience will impact their perception of your organization. The best way to give your applicants a positive experience is to make the applying, interviewing and screening processes efficient. You can build automated emails that keep candidates updated about the status of their application or background check and also schedule interviews. Automating some simple communications will allow you more time to personalize other communication with your applicants. This can help you and them feel organized and allow you to familiarize them with your company culture.

Keep Tabs on Compliance

Guidelines for not only hiring, but also workplace health and safety are evolving every day. As the pandemic continues to shape our daily lives, the recommendations of the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) and the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) will change to reflect our circumstances. To make sure your organization doesn’t miss anything, develop a system to monitor messages from entities that influence your hiring. 

One recent guideline to note from the EEOC is the “direct threat standard,” which changes how employers can use health-related questions. Usually, employers can’t ask about medical conditions because of the Americans with Disabilities Act. Now, however, the direct threat of the pandemic allows employers to require health screenings in order to minimize COVID-19. If infection rates decrease, this guideline could be removed. 

We aren’t sure what the next year will look like, but we can still plan ahead. Make sure your organization is meeting all local mask requirements, is aware of potential policy changes in your area and ready to embrace change. At One Source, we can help you prepare your hiring strategy to be adaptable by tailoring your background check plan to your specific needs. If you have any questions about how you should approach hiring next year or how you can streamline your screenings, contact our Client Relations team or visit the Solutions tab.