Welcome to the Spring 2010 edition of FYI Screening's e-mail newsletter. We publish our newsletter on a quarterly basis to keep employers better informed about background screening trends, legal compliance issues and company news.
In this issue we're going to cover EEOC compliance and investigations, record retention and a technology update. Please let us know if there are any specific topics or questions you want us to cover. Sincerely, Chris Miller
Yesterday it was announced that Accenture, one of the largest management consulting firms in the world, was being sued for discrimination over background checks. The lawsuit, filed on behalf of Roberto J. Arroyo, of Morristown, N.J., accuses Accenture of violating Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 by rejecting or firing qualified individuals who have criminal records even where the criminal history has no bearing on the individual’s fitness or ability to perform the job.
According to the Complaint, “Such policies and practices are illegal because they adopt and perpetuate the racial disparities in the American criminal justice system … For decades, the Supreme Court and the EEOC have recognized that overly broad restrictions on hiring individuals with criminal records are discriminatory and illegal.”
Employers who continue to apply blanket bans on hiring ex-offenders or who fail to implement hiring criteria that take into account the nature of the offense and its relationship to the job face significant exposure to charges of race discrimination.
Employers Must Revisit Their Hiring Policies to Incorporate Ex-Offenders into the Workplace Melissa E. Pierre-Louis, an associate at Outten & Golden LLP, offers excellent advice to employers in an article published in an American Bar Association Labor Employment Law Flash in February 2010:
Recently, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (“EEOC”) issued guidance regarding the steps employers must take to avoid liability. The EEOC advises employers to undertake three steps in determining whether to screen out a candidate with a criminal conviction.
1. The employer must consider the nature and gravity of the offense. 2. The employer must consider the length of time that has passed since the conviction. 3. The employer must consider the relationship of the conviction to the particular duties and responsibilities of the job in question.
The massive rise in incarceration rates in the past few decades, coupled with efforts by advocates and the Obama administration to help offenders “reenter” society, means that employers will likely see a significant increase in the number of ex-offenders in their applicant pool in the coming years.
Proper planning, legal review, and prompt implementation are critical to avoid liability. As a first step, employers should revisit their hiring policies in light of EEOC guidance. In addition, employers should become aware of the protections afforded to ex-offenders by state law. For example, New York State and City law offer greater protections to applicants with criminal convictions. They prohibit employers from turning down an applicant because of his criminal conviction unless the employer undertakes a case-by-cases evaluation of each applicant and can show that there is a “direct relationship” between the applicant’s prior offense and the employment sought or that employment of the applicant would pose an unreasonable risk to property or the public.
Need help with updating your background screening policy? Contact FYI Screening for a sample policy on employment background screening.
WHAT EMPLOYERS NEED TO KNOW ABOUT EEOC INVESTIGATIONS
Jon Hyman is the author of the Ohio Employer’s Law Blog, where he writes daily on areas of interest to employers doing business in the State of Ohio and beyond. He wrote an excellent article, detailing step-by-step, what happens when an employee files a discrimination charge against an employer.
HOW LONG SHOULD YOU KEEP BACKGROUND SCREENING REPORTS?
Employers should retain consumer reports (i.e., background check reports) and related information for at least five years after the date of the consumer report, which is the statute of limitations in the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA). Employers that conduct on-going screening of current employees should also retain records through the tenure of their employment or five years from the date of the consumer report or whichever is greater.
In a continuing effort to provide the best technology and support in the industry, FYI Screening has rolled out a feature-packed update to it's background screening software. This update offers several new features that make the user experience even more productive and allows your company to quickly become more competitive, compliant & efficient.
The new features include:
SELF-SCREEN - allows you to send self-screening invitations to your applicants. The applicant that receives the invitation can click a personalized link, view instructions, electronically sign an electronic consent document, and fill out their information to initiate a background check.
Batch SELF-SCREEN invitations - If you want to send dozens, or even hundreds or thousands, of SELF-SCREEN invitations, just click the Batch Upload link. From here, you can upload a CSV file of last names, first names, email addresses, and reference codes, and can order a specific package for all these applicants at one time.
EEOC Reporting - You have the ability to add an EEOC questions section to any application your create in the FYI Screening applicant tracking system (ATS). This adds a step to the application process where an applicant answers questions about race, gender, ethinicity, and other areas requested by the EEOC. Only the applicant sees these questions; they are hidden from employer. Because employers are not allowed by law to see the answers to EEOC questions for any specific applicant, our ATS has an EEOC reporting section. You can access this from the My Account area of your portal, under the Reports section. Clicking the Equal Employment Opportunity Results link allows you to set a date range and view the percentages of responses to each EEOC question, for one job or for all jobs, in a consolidated report.
Employer Tax Credit - Employer Tax Credit is a unique search your company can use to determine if an applicant, or employee, has personal or geographic factors that qualify your client's business for a tax credit worth up to $9,000. Many employers don’t even realize that Federal, State and Local tax credit incentive programs are available to you no matter your company’s industry or even size. In fact, less than 25% of U.S. businesses ever take advantage of government funded tax credit programs and approximately 15% of your current employees probably qualify for some type of tax credit incentive. Simply supply FYI with required new-hire information during the on-boarding process and we will do the rest of the work with NO FINANCIAL OBLIGATION to you!
Please contact us for more information about these new features by calling 1-800-809-2419 or use our contact form. An easy way to stay up to date on the ever changing employee background screening issues is to read our blog and follow us on twitter.