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Should I screen my furloughed or laid off employees if they come back?

Furlough. Layoffs. Remote employees. The arrival of COVID-19 created a tidal wave of change for businesses of all sizes. As retail and office spaces begin to reopen, HR departments and leadership will be working together to establish return-to-work plans focused on safety, operational efficiency, and government-mandated protocols. Depending on whether employees were furloughed, laid off or able to work from home, businesses will need to take a close look at their new employee processes. Businesses need to determine whether it is necessary for them to be screening furloughed employees. 

Were your employees furloughed or laid off?

In most cases, it’s not necessary to implement the hiring process for furloughed employees. Legally, they remained an employee. So while you may not need to go through an application process,  reviewing contracts, salary, and benefits may be necessary. This could also be a good time to conduct a new screening of furloughed employees.

Lay-offs terminate existing contracts. If a business would like to re-employ an individual, it’s in their best interest to treat it as a new hire. It may be possible to relax some procedures, but weigh the risks before you change anything. Consider each layer of your process and carefully determine why or why not it’s necessary to follow each step. This should include everything from application forms to background checks. Furthermore, be prepared to explain to your re-hires that these screenings are in the best interest of the company moving forward.

Is this a good time to review state and local laws?

As leaders discuss plans for reopening, in addition to reviewing policies and employee handbooks, it is just as important to review current federal, state and local laws. According to the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, if a former employee is rehired within three years of the origination date of the original Form I-9, employers have the option to either use the same form or complete a new one. Electing to utilize the previously completed form could help streamline the hiring and onboarding processes. This will allow you time to screen re-hires.

Businesses considering bringing employees back can also consider a solution that isn’t simply keeping all processes or eliminating others. When it comes to background screening, our team can work with yours to build a customized background screening program. We can help minimizes risk and supports your hiring process and goals. You may not yet know if you’ll re-screen returning members, but our services can give you confidence in your decision.

Protesting and background screenings: Is your business prepared?

Over 10,000 arrests in the last three weeks are from protests. These arrests vary widely and can be tricky for HR departments. When it comes to business policy, protesting and background screenings: What impact could an arrest due to protesting have on a prospective or current employee?

How arrests can impact a person’s record

Some arrests made this month are due to violent behavior. However, most are less serious crimes or petty infractions. These arrests include things like obstructing traffic and being out past curfew. A majority of protest-related arrests will be released without charges. But if an applicant is charged with a crime, then the arrest could rise to the surface during a pre-employment background check. One Source does not report arrest records—they cannot be considered in the hiring process. Other credit reporting agencies may report arrest records, but you will be unable to use them in hiring.

Each state handles cases like these differently. So people might now know whether their arrest will be removed from their record. Complex court systems and tedious administrative processes just add to the challenge. All of these challenges encourage businesses of all sizes and industries to take a closer look at their policies. 

Creating policies regarding criminal records

One Source tailors the pre-employment screening to the specific needs and concerns of your business. Flexibility is especially useful in the instance of protesting. For arrests made for non-violent infractions, businesses can emit these records from the screening. One Source offers these arrest reports, but they cannot be used for hiring purposes. Sharing your business’s policies with our team and discussing any additional requirements you have allows us to develop an appropriate, and thorough, screening to support your policies.

Consider your approach to social media checks, too

In addition to criminal records as they relate to protesting, it may be necessary to discuss your approach to any social media screening your business does as part of its hiring process. Outline your expectations and policies specific to social media can save your internal team time. This also helps inform potential (and existing) employees. One Source offers Fair Credit Reporting Act compliant social media checks, should you choose to screen social media.

As our world continues to evolve, take time to review and create policies to reflect what’s currently happening. This can help your business plan and prepare for what’s next. Develop policies to guide your HR processes and minimize hiring bias, improve screenings and enhance communications with prospective and current employees. Rely on the specialized expertise of your business partners, like us, to offer recommendations and opportunities that support your needs.

If you currently don’t have a policy in place regarding arrests due to protesting—for applicants and employees—this could be the right time to start an internal conversation.

Managing the challenges and changes of remote hiring

Remote recruiting is tricky. It’s relatively new territory for recruiters and job seekers and it comes with different expectations, restrictions and rules. While not every company is hiring right now, those who are must adjust their processes.

But sometimes in hiring, adaptability is the name of the game. Meeting applicants where they are and adjusting accordingly can help bring out the best candidates, no matter how strange the hiring circumstances. The being said, remote hiring isn’t easy—here are a few challenges you may encounter and how One Source can help.

Hiring without meeting in person

Face to face interaction with candidates has been an essential part of the hiring process. By getting an applicant in your work environment and seeing how they interact with your team, you can tell a lot about how they’ll fit in to your staff. However, remote recruiting and hiring does not offer the luxury of in-person interviews. So how do we adapt?

One way to customize the hiring process for an online space is to lean on the technologies that you’re already using. Zoom, Google Meet and other video conferencing services are an easy way to connect face to face at any time. Generally through the hiring process, you may only speak with candidates a few times before you make a decision. These video chat apps make it easy to have more frequent conversations with applicants. You can invite them to chat with your whole team and develop a sense of their personality through shorter, more frequent conversations.

You can also lean on other hiring resources like background checks and work samples to better understand what a candidate is like. One Source’s online portal makes it easy to keep reports in one place and refer to them whenever necessary. So, despite the lack of in-person communication, online resources allow you to compile a relatively complete picture of who you’re interviewing.

Notice and address gaps in your hiring process

While unconventional, turning your hiring process on its head by moving it online can be a good way to identify gaps and issues in your typical hiring process. Remote hiring may intensify underlying inefficiencies and frustrations. Do you need to revise your application review process? Should you ask different questions and measure different skills? Does your screening process align with your objectives? You may find yourself asking any of these questions and more as you continue remote hiring.

Don’t be afraid to think on your feet as you navigate new hiring methods. While your team should always be aligned and intentional, there has never been a better time to try new things and solve problems in creative ways. Patching up inefficiencies in your hiring will make your staff stronger in the long run.

If you feel like your background check process isn’t working toward your goals, contact us at One Source and we’ll help you build a screening process tailored to your needs. Everyone is managing change right now, so we’re here to make your hiring that much easier.

How employers can safely bring employees back to the office

As offices slowly start to reopen and employees begin to return, employers are likely busy planning how to keep everyone safe once they’re back under one roof. Not only are employers tasked with safely bringing employees back, but also creating a secure environment for customers and clients.

You might be trying to find the right way to screen your employees for illness as you start bringing employees back to the office. In issues of health, however, there are several compliance laws and regulations you must follow to protect their privacy. Screening your employees is possible. Though there is a lot of planning and considerations you need to take into account first.

Compliance with medical regulations

You can ask your employees whether they have experienced symptoms of COVID-19 and if they have been diagnosed with COVID-19. However, once you gather any medical information from your employees, it’s your responsibility to keep that information confidential. If any of your employees test positive for COVID-19, you can alert the rest of your staff, but you must not disclose the identity of the sick employee.

If you’re hiring new employees or re-screening current employees, some background screenings may include medical information including drug testing, physicals and more. First, you need to receive consent to screen anyone. This can easily be done with One Source’s contact-free release forms. As always, the content of a screening report is between you, the employee and the reporting agency. Essentially, do everything in your power to keep your team informed about the health of your company while protecting the privacy of individual employees.

Planning for a healthy work environment

Part of your plan for reopening your office should focus on the Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s (OSHA) guidelines. This will allow you to provide a risk-free work place. This may require you to move desks apart, enforce social distancing measures and more. The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) offers a comprehensive guide to maintaining a safe work environment as the pandemic continues.

Your strategy for returning to the office may include some new hires. You may feel the need to screen new employees or applicants for COVID-19 before they can enter the office. The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) recently released guidelines on how to fairly screen new hires. You can request that new hires get screened for COVID-19 after you make a conditional job offer and before they start working. If you want to screen all qualified applicants for COVID-19, you must also screen all new employees in the same role.

You can also require temperature checks as employees enter the office. Some thermometers simply say whether or not you have a fever, keeping the exact temperature of your employees private.

Many employers right now are juggling their plans to return to the office safely while managing screenings and information privacy. One Source can help you manage screenings efficiently and let you focus on keeping your team safe. Learn more by contacting our Client Relations team today.

Volunteer Screening Best Practices

As the COVID-19 pandemic alters our lives every day, nonprofits and other volunteer organizations are using their volunteer base to bring community support. Some volunteers fill essential needs like food delivery and medical care—and the demand for quality volunteers continues to rise. Volunteers bring valuable care and necessary resources to communities through this pandemic. This means it’s extremely important for volunteer organizations to make sure they’re recruiting the best volunteers. The way your organization’s volunteers act through the pandemic will reflect on your organization for years to come. One of the best ways to ensure you recruit excellent helpers is to run volunteer screenings for each applicant. It may take some time to screen each applicant, but the clarity and security of a screening report is well worth it.

If you’re considering volunteer screenings for the first time or increasing your screening measures, you can follow these best practices to create an efficient screening process. With a strong background check procedure, you can get your volunteers out to serve others quickly and safely.

Find a screening partner you trust.

Your time is best spent running your organization and selecting volunteers. It should not be spent digging up background information on volunteer applicants. Regardless of how many background checks your organization may need to run, you will save time and resources by outsourcing your background checks.

Quality screening agencies like One Source are well-versed in volunteer screenings and can assist you in deciphering what screening reports really mean. When you partner with a screening agency, you  get the most accurate and complete reports. Furthermore, you get help clarifying what the screenings truly represent. At One Source, we can turn around screenings in 48 hours. Then, the results are presented on a user friendly platform. You can save valuable time and focus on finding the best volunteers to fulfill your mission.

Know when to screen potential volunteers.

Background checks are one of many tools you can use to build a strong, dedicated volunteer base. It doesn’t always make sense to base all of your volunteer decisions on screening reports alone, but they should be an important point of consideration. To create an efficient screening process, time background checks strategically in your vetting process.

You can start your vetting process with a thorough application followed by reference checks. After evaluating applications and references, you can determine which applicants would be good volunteer fits for your organization. Those applicants can then move on to the next round of vetting: background checks and interviews. Interview your applicants to get a deeper insight into their personality and strengths. Then, you can run background checks on your top candidates. Pair the background report with the information you gained from the references and interview to decide whether someone should volunteer for your cause.

Volunteers are providing essential services to thousands of people throughout our communities and their impact cannot be understated. If your organization is sending volunteers out into the world right now, it is in your best interest to be certain they are the best representatives of your mission. Contact One Sources’ Client Relations team today to learn how we can make your volunteer screening process thorough, streamlined and effective.

Recognizing and minimizing hiring bias with background checks

Despite advances in equitable hiring practices over the past several years, unconscious biases still cloud otherwise impartial judgement. Unconscious biases—the automatic, unintentional, learned stereotypes we use to form impressions of new people and environments—are not always benign. However, everyone has them and everyone can learn to recognize them. We’re here to help you recognize and reduce hiring bias at your company.

First impressions are important in the hiring process, but unconscious biases can incorrectly shape those initial meetings by recognizing your biases and taking measures to promote neutrality in your hiring, you can create an equitable system that ensures you’ll find the best candidate. Background checks and smart hiring practices are effective ways to minimize biases. Let’s dive into a few screening methods you can implement to make your hiring unbiased and successful.

Partner with a screening agency.

Sometimes it can be tricky to decipher what the information in a background report means. Your interpretation of a report might not be completely correct, leaving you with an impression of a candidate that doesn’t reflect who they are.

Professional background check agencies have years of expertise to help you understand what background reports really mean. When you partner with a company like One Source, you get help interpreting reports and developing a consistent approach to all background checks. Working with professionals removes misinterpretation and error that could skew your view of a candidate and harm your hiring.

Thoroughly write job descriptions.

Clear and thorough job descriptions aren’t only helpful for attracting the best candidates, they allow your hiring managers to make choices based on facts instead of assumptions. Include a full list of skills, job expectations, professional background needs and other elements of the position.

Be sure your description is clear of any words that could be associated with a gender, race, age, group or any other identifier. Run your description by your human resources team before you post the job to ensure it meets all expectations.

Customize your screening scope

After you have a job description and employment policy in place, make sure that you are screening the correct scope. The depth and width of the package you are screening with are two things to consider when creating your process.

How many years of names and addresses do you wish to search? The Federal Government typically searches seven years, making it the industry standard, however you can customize to five or even ten years.

How far back you want to search in each location? Many jurisdictions allow you to search at minimum seven years from the final disposition. Other jurisdictions have information back indefinitely. Do you only wat to see a certain scope? If so, work with your screening partner to customize you scope to fit your organization and industry.

At One Source, we want to help you make the best hiring decisions for your company. We’ll work with you to help you navigate background checks fairly and accurately. Contact One Source Client Relations team today to learn more about our screening services.

New Compliance Laws You Should Know in 2020

If you haven’t been staying up to date on new compliance laws over the past few months, we can’t blame you. Every aspect of life has been altered by the pandemic, and your top priority should be the health and safety of your family, employees and customers.

One Source is here to support you through difficult times and update you on new compliance laws that may impact your organization. Regardless of whether your company is hiring right now, these new compliance laws will likely affect you down the road.  So it’s best to stay one step ahead and be prepared when your business is ready to hire again. Here are some of the most important state and federal regulations about screening and hiring that have been passed in recent months.

The Fair Chance to Compete for Jobs Act

This federal law goes into effect in December 2021. It declares federal agencies (all departments and offices within the federal government) cannot request a criminal background check until a conditional job offer has been extended to an applicant.

Law enforcement agencies and positions with access to classified national security information are exempt from this law. This law only applies to government agencies, not private businesses. It is a version of a “ban the box” law that delays a criminal background check until much later in the hiring process.

Updated Form I-9

Every employer in the U.S. must complete a Form I-9 for each person they hire. Form I-9, used to verify an employee’s identity and employment authorization, is an important, routine part of the hiring process. 

The U.S. Citizen & Immigration Services agency released an update to the I-9 in October 2019, and the updated version became mandatory on May 1, 2020. You can visit the UCIS website to learn more about the changes to the I-9.

Drug Screening in New York City and Nevada

A new law went into effect in New York City on May 10, 2020, banning marijuana testing from pre-employment drug tests. Some jobs are excluded from this rule, especially jobs with safety requirements. If an employer screens a candidate for marijuana against this new law, the employer will be charged with discrimination.

Additionally, a new law went into effect January 1, 2020 in Nevada. This law prohibits employers from taking adverse action against applicants who test positive for marijuana. Employers can still test applicants for marijuana, but they cannot take adverse action based on a positive test result alone.

New Jersey Salary History Ban

Private employers in New Jersey can no longer inquire about their applicants’ salary history, past benefits or any other past compensation. This law was enacted January 1, 2020. The Salary History Ban is meant to encourage employers to pay new employees what they think their position is worth without context from an employee’s previous positions. Salary history bans attempt to address gender pay gaps by putting all applicants on an even playing field. Employers in New Jersey should work with their credit reporting agency to make sure salary history is not part of their employment verification reports.

Regulations and expectations in the hiring world continue to evolve. As the landscape of hiring changes, One Source stays on the cutting edge to help you make your best hiring choices. Contact One Source Client Relations today to learn how we can assist your hiring team.

Can I ever run a background check without permission?

The reasons to run a background check—and contexts in which you could need a background report are numerous: You may need a report ASAP. You may be running a check outside a formal hiring process. You may need a large number of reports completed at once.

Under a time constraint and without the strict rules of a hiring process, you might wonder whether it’s necessary to get the subject’s permission to run a screening. Technically, if you have someone’s full name, you could run a background check on them without their knowledge. However, that doesn’t mean you should. Ethically—and often legally—you should always obtain permission before screening anyone.

So the short answer is no, you can’t run a background check without permission. Screening ethics aren’t quite that simple though. Background checks in personal and professional settings have different expectations. Let’s dive into the rules, expectations and potential consequences of running background checks in different contexts so you can decide what makes the most sense for you.

Background checks in larger organizations.

If you are a landlord or an employer that hires frequently, you likely run background checks on your applicants to help you decide who to hire or rent to. In organizations with a full HR department, things are a bit different. You have employment policies and all the disclosure and authorization forms you need to properly run a pre-employment background check. But there are legal obligations for organizations that perform a lot of screenings that require consistent care, and you shouldn’t go it alone.

The information you gather from consumer reports has a direct impact on someone’s future, so you must abide by the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA). The FCRA protects applicants with specific rights through the entire background check process. The law requires you to get their approval to run a consumer report—and they have the right to dispute that information.

No organization or landlord should ever disregard the FCRA. Those who do can end up in serious legal trouble like image-damaging class action lawsuits. A screening partner like One Source can help guide you through the FCRA with ease and make screening a simple and clear process. Often, credit reporting agencies (CRA) will provide you with an FCRA disclosure and authorization form as well as a sample policies and procedures to help you start. You don’t want to start off on the wrong foot by running a background check without permission. 

Background checks on a smaller scale.

Not everyone who runs a background check hires frequently or has an HR department. Smaller organizations that handle professional hiring may only need to run one or two background checks. Or you may be an individual wanting to run a report on just yourself. 

Even if you don’t hire frequently, that does not mean you shouldn’t inform those that you intend to screen. You should still have an employment policy in place and treat each new hire for similar positions equally. If you decide to utilize a CRA for this type of background check, then you will need to follow the FCRA requirements.

One Source can help with screenings on a smaller scale with our specializations in screenings for contractors and contingent works. If you want someone to do work on your office or rental home, you can screen them under the permissible purpose of site access. While you could look up the contractor online for reviews of their work, you can get a professional report on their background by utilizing a CRA. In order to do that, you must inform them of your intent to screen. Once again, you must not run a background check without permission.

At One Source, we help you see how the FCRA and screening ethics fit into your background check needs. Contact our Client Relations team today to see what screening options are best for you.

The state of the screening industry during the pandemic

While the current COVID-19 crisis and efforts to contain it have brought several industries to a halt, some businesses find themselves urgently in need of more team members. The healthcare and supply chain industries are working nonstop to fulfill the demands of sick and social-distancing populations. The screening industry has become more important than ever to these industries that are experiencing a spike in demand.

The industries with high demand have to hire new workers quickly. However, that doesn’t mean proper hiring protocols can be pushed aside.  Different security risks have arisen from having an entirely remote staff.

Background checks and monitoring are still necessary—even as the landscape of hiring changes. One Source is still here to serve your screening needs, and we’ll be totally transparent about ways COVID-19 has impacted the screening industry.

One Source Background Check’s COVID-19 protocols.

We created processes to keep our operations as normal as possible while prioritizing our team’s safety when we realized social distancing and stay-at-home orders were on the horizon for our clients.

Certain office closures around the country and the world will cause delays as we gather information for your reports. Some aspects of background checks that may be delayed across the entire screening industry include:

  • Court Records. We can process record requests in about 90 percent of U.S. counties at the moment. Many courts have ways to access records electronically. We will experience some delay for county courts that don’t have electronic records and are closed due to the pandemic.
  • Drug and Alcohol Testing. Some clinics in the U.S. are not open to those without respiratory symptoms. Some clinics are entirely closed. However, only 8 percent of the clinics in One Source’s network are currently closed. Double check with your local clinics to make sure they’re available for testing.
  • Education and Employment Verification. It may take longer to process verification requests due to some schools and organizations being closed right now.
  • International Criminal Records. Closures worldwide can slow processes and delay record requests.

Despite potential delays, we will still provide your reports on time and clearly mark if any parts are incomplete. You can see our entire COVID-19 process at the link at the top of our homepage.

Considerations for your own screening process.

You may be considering loosening some of your screening processes so you can hire faster if your demand for employees has increased. However, consider how the changes will affect your business down the road before you change your procedures.

For example, a business could choose to temporarily suspend criminal record checks to expedite hiring—a choice with potential negligent hiring and civil rights legal consequences.

Hiring without screening opens the door to negligent hiring charges. And if that business decides to reinstate criminal record checks, future hires could claim that criminal screenings were never necessary to the business and are a form of discrimination.

While we’re all taking this pandemic day by day, businesses do still need to plan ahead and consider the future of their workforce. Background checks play a big role in building a strong, consistent team and they shouldn’t be reduced for temporary circumstances.

To learn more about One Source’s COVID-19 response and how we can help your organization through,  Contact the One Source Client Relations 

When You’re Ready to Run a Background Check, Start Here

Everything you need to do before launching the background check process

Whether you are an employer looking into the history of a potential new hire, a volunteer coordinator wanting to verify the background of a volunteer or anyone else who could need a background check, there are a few important things you must do before you receive a report. Once you decide on a background check, follow these simple steps to ensure the check runs smoothly and ethically.

Choose the type of background check

There is a wide variety of common background checks, and each type provides slightly different information to serve a unique purpose. Clarify your purpose for running a background check and choose the type that will best meet your needs.

  • Pre-employment Screening: Employers can run background checks specifically designed to minimize risk for their business. Pre-employment checks can include confirmation of work history, education history, a credit report, criminal records and driving records. In certain situations, a drug screening and a review of an applicant’s social media use can be included.
  • Volunteer Screening: Nonprofits, schools and other organizations that require volunteers can maintain their integrity and keep their communities safe with background checks. Volunteer checks are just as thorough as pre-employment checks, but they are meant to fit the budget and needs of volunteer organizations.
  • Certified Contractors Background Checks: If you are hiring contractors, you can make sure they are screened to the same high standard you require for your staff, while staying compliant with the FCRA. A certified contractor check includes a criminal check, optional drug screening and a check of compliance with One Source Certified Contractor (OSCC) guidelines.

For more comprehensive information, contact One Source Client Relations.

Get authorization from the person being checked

To move forward with a background check, you must receive consent from the person who will be checked. The Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) mandates that a Disclosure and Authorization form must be signed before a background check, and if it is not authorized you could face legal consequences. Notify those you intend to background check and explain to them how the results of the check will be used so they can be informed before they sign off.

One Source offers a compliant Disclosure and Authorization form you can download here.

Gather identification information

The insight you need to obtain from the person being reviewed can vary based on the company you are running the check through. For most background check companies, you need to provide a full name and a unique identifying number such as a birthdate, Social Security number or driver’s license number. A background check company will tell you up front if they need any further information.

Once you complete these tasks, you can let a background check company do the rest of the work. Background checks take a few days to complete. To learn more about the background check process or to get started, contact One Source Client Relations.