Your company is looking to hire in 2021. You want to bring the best people onto your team. Therefore, you know background checks are necessary. So, what pre-employment screening trends should you be mindful of before beginning the process?
Top Pre-Employment Screening Trends in 2021
Throughout the last decade, class-action lawsuits claiming violations of the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) have been very costly for employers. Companies, including Amazon and Target, have paid out $174 million for failing to comply with this law. (CBS News, 2019) The Fair Credit Reporting Act is a federal law protecting consumer information. It is not limited, as the name suggests, to credit reports. The FCRA also regulates the collection, use, and accuracy of data in background checks. Although FCRA technicalities may seem inconvenient for businesses, in the end, the law helps everyone. After all, who wants to lose a job (or a top employee) because a criminal record was incorrect. To keep your organization FCRA-compliant, you need to inform individuals AND receive their written consent before running background checks. In addition, if problems arise, your potential hire must have the opportunity to view and consent to possible inaccuracies.
A Patchwork of State and Local Laws
When your organization is running pre-employment screenings, the FCRA isn’t the only law you need to follow. Today, there are more jurisdictions with ban-the-box laws and salary history bans than ever before. (SHRM, 2020) Ban-the-box laws delay questions about criminal history until later in the hiring process, while salary history bans prohibit questions about past pay. These initiatives are intended to help ex-offenders land jobs and to reduce pay discrimination. So, why all the confusion? Certainly, there has been pressure to apply these regulations at the national level. But ultimately, it’s easier to pass a law through a city council or statehouse than through the U.S. Congress. Unfortunately, the current situation creates lots of confusion for businesses especially when they have workers and/or offices in various locations. If you’re not sure what rules apply to your company, consult with a PBSA-accredited provider and/or your legal team.
Revised Standards for Marijuana Testing
Within the last few years, states, counties, and even cities have passed their own laws regulating the use of marijuana. In fact, in some states, it’s illegal for employers to reject applicants based on the results of a marijuana test. (ABC News, 2019) Once again, this has created a complicated patchwork of regulations. As a result, some organizations have decided to relax or forgo their pre-employment drug testing standards. Of course, this isn’t an option for all industries. For example, jobs regulated by the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) must follow specific drug-free-workplace laws. Other employers, such as those who run factories, must balance tolerance with safety. Nevertheless, there is a growing trend to treat marijuana use like alcohol use. (SHRM, 2020) You wouldn’t hire someone who came to their interview drunk. Yet, you wouldn’t deny them employment because they had a beer last night either.
Background Checks for Gig Workers
Many companies automatically background check new hires, but skip this step when it comes to contractors, freelances or other gig workers. Since these people aren’t truly part of the team, screening seems excessive. Sadly, this attitude can get businesses into trouble. Often, gig workers have access to sensitive information. Plus, they still represent a company’s brand. Furthermore, in many industries, there are safety concerns at stake. For example, ride-hailing service Uber started continuous monitoring on their drivers after over one hundred reports of abuse were filed. (CNN, 2018) Whether your organization depends on one contractor or one hundred, 2021 may be the year to extend screening to everyone.
Does Your Organization Need Help Keeping Up on Pre-Employment Screening Trends?
As Western New York’s leading pre-employment screening service, Metrodata Services can assist your company with background checks, drug screening, and more. And since Metrodata Services is accredited by the Professional Background Screening Association (PBSA), you know you’ll receive expert advice. Our specialists will make sure your screening procedures comply with all federal, state, and local laws. Learn more about the benefits of partnering with Metrodata today!