Posts

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 to 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 an applicant who has disclosed their disability or has a clear disability if they will need certain 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 your 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 background check results lead an employer to reject an applicant or dismiss an employee, the employer is required to tell the candidate 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 candidate. 

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 candidates 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 record of the letter itself, any attachments and the date you sent it. With the letter, you and your background check agency must send a copy of the background check and a list of their FCRA rights.
  2. Allow time for them to respond: Hang tight for a bit while the candidate reviews the background report. They have the right to address any potentially inaccurate information or clarify the points of contention on their record. There is no specific amount of time you have to wait for the applicant to respond, but it is common to wait five business days.
  3. Take another look: Consider the candidate’s response to your pre-adverse action notice. Did any information on their report get corrected? Did the candidate 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 candidate of your decision.
  4. Properly inform the candidate of adverse action: In your final adverse action letter, you must explain your choice and tell the candidate 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.

If you take each of these steps, you can successfully remove an applicant from consideration without risking any legal action. 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 system and how we can help you find the best candidates for your team.

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 have 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.

How Small Businesses Can Streamline Hiring and Onboarding

As we look ahead to 2021, your business might be considering adding a few new positions or reworking your structures. Recruiting and training new employees is exciting—it’s always a good sign when you can grow your team. However, the process of finding and onboarding the best candidate can be tedious and stressful. From reviewing applications to interviewing to employment background checks to on-boarding, hiring managers must manage dozens of tasks and documents while communicating with the applicants.

At One Source, we believe employment background checks, hiring and on-boarding can be streamlined with a few tricks and tools. We’re here to help you find the best candidates quickly and efficiently. Below are a few ways you can simplify and organize hiring and on-boarding in 2021.

Recruit in the Right Places

Small businesses may think they need to cast a wide net in order to get the attention of potential candidates, but sometimes the opposite is true. You can save both money and time by advertising your job openings in the places that make the most sense for you.

Take a moment to discuss with your hiring team what kind of candidate you’re looking for. Then consider where they will most likely encounter your job listings. Do you need to post on a large job search site? Can you share your job opportunities through local industry associations? Could you use your professional network to share information through word of mouth and referrals?

By focusing on your recruitment efforts, your hiring team will have less to juggle and find more quality leads than if you post a job opening on multiple sites.

Automate as Much as You Can

Save time and get more organized by relying on technology to manage hiring wherever possible. You can build online applications tailored to your job requirements through Google Forms or a hiring management app. Personalizing online applications can give you a greater understanding of your applicants before the interview stage. Online applications also make it easy to organize materials.

You can also streamline background checks with the help of One Source. Our online platform makes it so easy to keep track of all your employment background checks. Plus, we present background check results in an easy-to-interpret format and our team is always happy to help answer questions. You don’t have to spend time worrying about what screening results mean and focus on finding the best applicants.

After the Employment Background Check, Prep Your On-boarding

Once you’ve confirmed your new hire, you can turn your attention to making them feel welcome and setting them up for success. They will feel more confident in their new position if they spend their first day learning about your company’s function, not doing a bunch of paperwork.

Streamline the on-boarding paperwork by using HR software. With software, you can build digital onboarding packets that have all the paperwork ready to go at any time. This will allow your new hire to digitally sign all their paperwork quickly and efficiently.

If you have any questions about how to maximize your hiring or streamline your background check process, please reach out to One Source’s Client Relations Team. Check out our background check services as well in the Solutions tab.

One Source’s Guide to Simplifying the Individualized Assessments Process

In 2012, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) published new guidance for how employers should respond to arrests and conviction records on background checks. These rulings are over eight years old. However, they have a ton of influence over how employers can ethically manage their hiring practices. The key to these EEOC rulings is a practice called individualized assessment process.

The individualized assessment process allow candidates with criminal records to explain how their record will not affect their job. Many people with criminal records can excel in certain roles, and individualized assessment exists to give them a fair opportunity for work.

The goal of individualized assessment is to give those with criminal records the chance to move beyond their past while also protecting employers. Paying specific attention to applicants who would like to contextualize their arrests or convictions does take more time and resources. However, your extra time could give someone the opportunity to start a new life while keeping those whose crimes would interfere with their work away from your organization.

Individualized assessments are all about the balance between giving all candidates a fair chance and protecting your organization. It is ethical and honorable to ensure you give every candidate a fair chance, but there are ways to simplify the individualized assessment process.

The easiest way to streamline the individualized assessment process is to know what to ask when a candidate has a criminal record. Prior to an interview, you should evaluate the nature and gravity of the candidate’s offense, determine how long ago the offense occurred and consider whether the offense has any relevance to the job they applied for. These three considerations are called the “Green factors” after the court case in which they were created. You can learn specific offenses and when they happened in the candidate’s One Source background check.

Once you have established each of the “Green factors” and discussed them with your team, you can then open up the conversation to the job applicant. Ask them to provide context for the offenses in question and give them a chance to explain themselves.

The best thing you can do to hire ethically and fairly while still keeping your organization safe is to listen to your applicants. Not all criminal records should leave someone unemployable forever. If the crime doesn’t relate to the nexus of the position, they could certainly excel.

You can stay efficient and give all applicants a fair chance with tools offered by One Source. Our online portal offers places for applicants to provide context for their records and a place for you to see if they meet your company requirements. With our help, you can offer individualized assessments to those who need it without slowing down your hiring process. One Source is committed to helping you find the right employees in a timely manner while hiring ethically. If you have any questions about background check ethics or hiring practices, please reach out to the One Source Client Relations team.

Get to Know the One Source Certified Contractor Program

Generally, it’s a given to run background checks on all full-time employees. Employees get widespread access to your organization’s information, facilities and trade secrets, so it only makes sense to screen them before they join the team. But what about contractors? They are not full-time team members with access to all of your information, but they do get to spend time in your facilities and networks. Even if you don’t have time to run full-scale background checks on all your contractors, it is worth it to screen them in some way, and we can help through our Certified Contractor Program.

Whether a contractor is troubleshooting your computers, working with your electrical system or renovating your office space, you should be able to fully 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. And you’ll save time because neither you nor the contractor have to decipher full background checks.

We know not every organization and site are the same, so we offer a few different levels of to the OSCC program.

  • Level 1: A full criminal background check
  • Level 2 and higher: A full criminal background check plus a drug test

All contractors must be 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. Recently, a school district in Omaha, Nebraska entrusted the OSCC program to screen contractors who would have access to their school facilities. Through our screenings, we prevented more than one registered sex offender from being granted site access at a school.

The OSCC is part of the many ways we are committed to keeping our community safe. And 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 work is thoroughly vetted with the OSCC program as well as One Source’s comprehensive background check options. Learn more about how we can provide proper background checks for everyone in your organization by browsing our blog or by reaching out to our team today.

What happens if a candidate is lying on an application?

Current background check technology makes it increasingly difficult to stretch the truth on a job application—but that doesn’t mean people don’t try lying on an application. Luckily for you and your hiring team, background checks are a simple way to detect inconsistencies.

And if your company runs background checks on current employees, you may occasionally find falsehoods on their applications years after the fact. Dishonesty can throw a wrench in your HR team’s work, but if you have the expert help of One Source and know how to spot troubling information on your own, you can save a lot of time and suspicion.

Today, we’ll be looking at how people typically stretch or hide the truth on resumes and what you can do to make sure your team members are as qualified as they say.

Misrepresenting Education and Qualifications

It’s relatively easy to catch when people aren’t honest about where they went to school and what degrees they earned—easy enough that you may wonder why people would ever attempt lying on an application about something like that. Still, it is not uncommon for applicants to change their school history or stretch the truth about their level of education.

One Source can verify education credentials, and we can also verify the specific degrees an applicant lists. Sometimes people are honest about where they went to college, but may be altering the exact details of their degree. You should always verify a candidate’s school and degree records, especially if their education is essential to their potential job.

Overly Complex Job Titles

These days, job titles in LinkedIn profiles can be less likely to represent what a person actually does. Job titles can be full of flashy buzzwords that don’t give you a clear understanding of their work. And sometimes, these overly eye-catching titles can be a lot of show and not much substance.

Keep an eye on the less exciting job titles too. People can exaggerate their skills or involvement in a task by creating impressive sounding titles that don’t exactly reflect reality. A “social media manager” who snapped a few pictures at a company event don’t have experience building a social presence. Basically, just because a candidate lists a job title does not mean they are well-versed in the job they describe.

These mistruths can be trickier to detect in a background check, but you can make a judgement call. Always ask applicants to explain the specific duties and responsibilities of former roles. This will help you find those who are genuine.

How to Detect and Prevent Dishonesty

There are a few ways to be certain you’re hiring a genuinely qualified candidate: background checks and attentive interviewing. One Source will identify inconsistencies about work history, education, criminal history and more. It’s up to you to recognize when applicants stretch the truth in more subtle ways. However, One Source can help you determine how legitimate a candidate is.
Reach out to One Source today to learn more about our comprehensive TotalCheck system and how we work with you to help you hire honest, qualified employees.

How changing marijuana laws affect hiring.

Today in the United States, marijuana is legal to some capacity in 33 states. Other states are discussing legalization. We can expect marijuana laws for legalization to expand over the next several years.

Rapidly changing marijuana laws presents questions and challenges in the employment screening space. Many pieces of marijuana legislation include new employee protections that could impact the way you screen potential employees. To stay compliant with hiring and credit reporting laws, it is important to stay up to date with state regulations.

In today’s blog, we’ll give an overview of the most recent laws protecting employees in regards to marijuana. If your state is not included, now is a good time to adapt to nationwide trend. This allows you to get ahead of the game in case your state passes marijuana laws.

Illinois Right to Privacy in the Workplace Act

In January 2020, Illinois became the eleventh state to legalize recreational marijuana. Part of the law that allowed for recreational marijuana included the Right to Privacy in the Workplace Act. In other words, employers cannot punish them for using marijuana outside of work.

Essentially, Illinois employers cannot fire or refuse to hire an individual because they use marijuana in their free time. This doesn’t mean employers cannot run drug tests on candidates or employees, but the results of marijuana tests are not grounds for termination.

Pre-employment Drug Screening in New Jersey, Nevada, and New York City

New Jersey, Nevada and New York City have all passed similar measures in the past year regarding drug screening and employment. This means employment refusal or termination cannot be based on marijuana screening results.

New Jersey’s ruling specifically applies to those who use medical marijuana. An employee being fired for a positive drug test even though they were using marijuana for medical reasons which led to the passing of this law. The employee sued their employer for not accommodating their medical needs. Now, with the exception of jobs that require lots of safety precautions, employers cannot discriminate against those who use medical marijuana.

Additionally, in Nevada and New York City employers can run pre-employment drug screenings, but those screenings cannot include marijuana. Bypassing marijuana screening eliminates the possibility of hiring teams discriminating against those who use marijuana. There are exceptions to these regulations for safety-conscious positions.

If you think your business may be affected by these new laws or if you want to plan ahead, reach out to One Source. We can help you tailor your drug screening and hiring process to your local mandates.