New York, New York Part II: The Stop Credit Discrimination in Employment Act


New York City has two new background screening laws that are about to shake up the status quo for employers. Yesterday we looked at the Fair Chance Act—here’s the link if you missed it. Today we look at the recently enacted restriction on credit reports and some recent guidance that has been published to help employers comply.

By way of background, the Stop Credit Discrimination in Employment Act (SCDEA), which went into effect on September 3, 2015, prohibits employers from using an individual’s consumer credit history when making employment decisions about applicants or current employees.  The law includes a limited set of exemptions for sensitive positions which include the following:

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The EEOC’s Criminal Background Screening Guidance 3 Years Later: 5 Lessons Employers Need to Know


By definition, guidance is supposed to help resolve a problem. Yet, for employers, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission’s (EEOC) 2012 update to its criminal background screening guidance has instead created a problem: uncertainty about how to conduct criminal background checks without significant legal risk.

Fortunately, the past three years—especially the EEOC’s efforts to enforce its guidance during that time—have revealed five lessons that can boost your confidence in the compliance of your criminal background screening practices:

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NY, NY: If You Can Hire There, You Can Hire Anywhere (Part I, The Fair Chance Act)

New York City

I love New York. So do lots of other people who are clamoring to work in the Big Apple, where employment rose by 91,400 in the past year. The city has two brand new background screening laws that are about to shake up the status quo for employers. If you hire, recruit, or screen prospective candidates or employees in New York City, listen up.  Things are about to get complicated.

The two laws are the Stop Credit Discrimination in Employment Act (SCDEA) which went into effect on September 3, 2015 and the Fair Chance Act (FCA), which deals with criminal history and takes effect on October 27, 2015.  Today we’re tackling the FCA—look for Part II on the SCDEA tomorrow. (more…)

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5 Questions Employers Should Be Asking Their Background Check Provider


Clients ask a lot of questions. How long do background checks take? How much do they cost? Can we integrate with their Applicant Tracking System? (Yes). Is my data safe? (Yes again).

At EmployeeScreenIQ, we pride ourselves on answering client questions. Keep them coming! But one thing we’ve noticed over the years is the questions have become more tactical, more about impact to a pre-existing piece of technology or administrative workload. They are really important questions, but I don’t have as many strategic conversations about background checks anymore. As questions have become more diverse, they have also strayed from what I think is the primary objective of any screening program. How do I do the best, fastest, most cost effective and compliant background check possible?

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Keeping the People’s Pope Safe: Pope Francis, Volunteers, and Background Checks

Pope Francis

In case you haven’t been tuned in, the country has Pope Francis fever. When Pope Francis arrived in the U.S. this week for a six day visit, he was greeted by a blur of media coverage and was surrounded by an unprecedented army of law enforcement, secret service, and security professionals brought in to manage the crowds and deal with the millions of people who are expected to turn out to see the Pontiff in his Popemobile.

You might be wondering what the Pope’s visit has to do with background checks. Consider this: when the Pope appears at the World Meeting of Families event being held September 26 and 27th in Philadelphia, crowds are expected to close to 2 million people.  And apparently the Papal Father does not like to be confined—he’s known for his propensity to wander with the people. He’s a touchy-feely, hands-on kind of guy. Fun fact: no selfie sticks are allowed near the Pope.

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4 Concerns for Employment Background Check Compliance


If employment background check compliance is a top priority for your company, you’re not alone. In fact, according to EmployeeScreenIQ’s 2015 Background Screening Trends Survey, 52% of respondents said that compliance with screening laws would be a challenge for them this year.

While it’s important to have a general understanding of screening compliance, it’s even more important to follow these guidelines and laws. Ignoring them could lead to a negative candidate experience, or worse, make your company vulnerable to a lawsuit.

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Scratching Some Vinyl with the FTC- FCRA Knowledge Is Power!

FCRA Lessons Through Song

Just this week, I had the pleasure of speaking to group of HR professionals at the 2015 Illinois HR Conference and Exposition on the topic of what to do when your candidate has a criminal record. The presentation centered around the various compliance responsibilities employers have when making a hiring decision. Among them was the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) requirement to follow proper adverse action procedures if you are considering denying employment based on the information revealed on a background check.

Similar to the results we found on our 2015 Background Screening Trends and Practices, employers understanding of these responsibilities was mixed. Some thought you just needed to send just the adverse action letter, while others were unaware of the documents that must accompany the notifications.

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Has Your State Banned the Box?


Nearly half of employers (48%) believe ban the box laws—which outlaw the checkbox on job applications that asks candidates if they’ve ever been convicted of a crime—are unfair to them, according to our “Employment Screening 2015: Background Screening Trends & Practices” survey of more than 500 individuals. Participants in the survey represented over two dozen industries, including technology, banking, healthcare, government/military, manufacturing, and professional services, and hold roles ranging from front-line managers to the c-suite.

More than half of employers (53%) continue to ask candidates to self-disclose criminal histories on applications, despite the growing number of ban the box laws and Equal Employment Opportunity Commission guidance that advises against the practice.

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Pre-Employment Screening Before the Job Offer


Do you conduct pre-employment screening before the job offer? Or are you unsure if you should?

While some cities and states might prohibit employers from requesting a background check before they offer the candidate a job, there are also certain employers that are required to do a background check before the job offer. Keep reading to learn more about when you should or should not use pre-employment screening.

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Oregon Bans the Box

Oregon Ban The Box

Oregon has officially banned the box for all employers, delaying the timing of pre-employment criminal background checks. On June 25, Oregon Governor Kate Brown signed HB 3025 into law. Effective January 1, 2016, it will be illegal for an employer in the State of Oregon to require an applicant to disclose a criminal conviction on a job application or to require an applicant to disclose, prior to an initial interview, a criminal conviction.  If no interview is conducted, it will be illegal to require an applicant to disclose, prior to making a conditional offer of employment, a criminal conviction.

The statute specifies that it does not make it illegal to perform a criminal background check or to consider conviction history in the hiring process.  It does, however, defer an inquiry into criminal history until after the applicant has been interviewed or potentially offered the position.

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