New Summary of Rights & Security Freeze

Please be advised the Bureau of Consumer Financial Protection issued a rule to update the Summary of Rights, which implement the Fair Credit Reporting Act.

The new form provides the following update:

Consumers Have The Right To Obtain A Security Freeze.  You have a right to place a “security freeze” on your credit report, which will prohibit a consumer reporting agency from releasing information in your credit report without your express authorization.

You may view the full security freeze updated section and obtain an updated version of the document here: http://s2verify2.com/FCRA-Summary_of_Rights.pdf

S2Verify does not provide legal advice, and this post is only intended for educational purposes.

Disclosure and Authorization Forms and Recent Litigation

Disclosure and authorization forms are legally required to be provided by the employer to applicants during the pre-employment screening process.

The requirements for the authorization & disclosure are on page 13 of the Fair Credit Reporting Act. If both a disclosure & authorization are not obtained, an employer does not have a permissible purpose to obtain a report.

604 – 15 U.S.C. § 1681b

(2) Disclosure to Consumer.

(A) In general. Except as provided in subparagraph (B), a person may not procure a consumer report, or cause a consumer report to be procured, for employment purposes with respect to any consumer, unless –

(i) a clear and conspicuous disclosure has been made in writing to the consumer at any time before the report is procured or caused to be procured, in a document that consists solely of the disclosure, that a consumer report may be obtained for employment purposes; and

(ii) the consumer has authorized in writing (which authorization may be made on the document referred to in clause (i)) the procurement of the report by that person.

Full text here: https://www.ftc.gov/system/files/545a_fair-credit-reporting-act-0918.pdf

Recently, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals ruling for Gilberg v. California Check Cashing Stores LLC stated that additional state law notices must be separate from the disclosure page. The presence of additional state notice son the disclosure page violates FCRA for extraneous information.

Maintaining up-to-date authorization and disclosure documents is essential to remain compliant under the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA).

While S2Verify does not provide legal advice, and this post should not be considered as such, we would like to highlight this recent ruling and encourage employers to review their documents with their legal counsel or compliance officer. Consistent review of these documents is recommended.

To read the opinion of the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals and view a copy of the document that this case is focused on, you may visit https://cdn.ca9.uscourts.gov/datastore/opinions/2019/01/29/17-16263.pdf.

S2Verify does not provide legal advice, and this post is only intended for educational purposes.

Ban-the-Box & Fair Chance Laws and Policies by State

Employers must stay up-to-date on local laws, including “Ban the Box” and “Fair Chance” laws.

These laws not only restrict the use of criminal history inquiry on the application, but potentially restrict the timing a background check may be run during the hiring process.

A great resource to keep up with your particular city/state and any laws that may apply to your business is NELP.org. As of July 2019, the following link provides a comprehensive guide and we recommend reviewing the document here:

https://s27147.pcdn.co/wp-content/uploads/Ban-the-Box-Fair-Chance-State-and-Local-Guide-July-2019.pdf

S2Verify does not provide legal advice, and this post is only intended for educational purposes.

H.R. 3614 Possible Impact

In July 2019, the House Committee on Financial Services passed a bill prohibiting the use of credit reports during the pre-employment process. Additionally, the bill, H.R. 3614, prohibits questions on job applications and in interviews regarding an applicant’s financial history.

Should the bill become law, the impact will be great on the background screening industry.

Several states, including but not limited to California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Illinois, Maryland, Nevada, Oregon, Vermont and Washington, the District of Columbia, and the cities of Chicago, New York City and Philadelphia have laws that restrict credit reports from being used during the pre-employment screening process.

This bill is another reminder to review your pre-employment screening processes regularly. While S2Verify does not provide legal advice, and this post should not be considered as such, we would like to highlight this recent ruling and encourage employers to review their hiring process with their legal counsel or compliance officer.

The following link will direct to the bill in its entirety:

https://financialservices.house.gov/uploadedfiles/bills-116hr3614ih-creditempl.pdf

S2Verify does not provide legal advice, and this post is only intended for educational purposes.

Form I-9 and E-Verify®

 

Completing Form I-9 is essential in the hiring process. It is a requirement that all employers have Form I-9 on file for all employees*.

Here’s a few tips regarding the regulated I-9 process.

  • Section 1 of Form I-9 must be completed by all employees no later than the first business day of employment for pay.
  • Section 2 must be completed by the employer no later than 3 business days after the employee begins the first day of work for pay.
  • Additionally, Section 2 requires examination of documents. An employer may not specify the document type and must provide the Lists of Acceptable Documents. The employee must provide one document from List A OR one document from List B AND one document from List C. All documents must be unexpired. More information regarding documents may be found here. The employer does not have to be a document expert. The employer must accept the document(s) presented by the employee if it reasonably appears to be genuine and it relates to the individual presenting it.
  • Form I-9 must be on file for all current employees for three years after the date of hire, or, 1 year after the date of employment terminates, whichever is later.

In addition to pre-employment background screening, S2Verify offers on-boarding services that include E-Verify®. E-Verify® is a web-based system that assists employers in confirming work eligibility of employees. The system allows employers to quickly compare completed Form I-9 information with records of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security and the Social Security Administration.

If your business is interested in learning more about a seamless integration of Form I-9 and E-Verify® into your on-boarding process, please reach out to us at: 770-649-8282 or visit us at www.S2Verify.com.

*Please note the only exceptions regarding the requirement of Form I-9 are as follows:

  • In the case where an employee was hired on or before November 6, 1986.
  • The employee is an independent contractor for whom you do not set work hours, or provide tools to do the job, casual domestic service employees in a private household when work is sporadic, irregular, or intermittent.
  • Employees working outside the 50 United States, District of Colombia, Guam, Puerto Rico, U.S. Virgin Islands, and the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands.

E-Verify® is a registered trademark of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.

 

S2Verify does not provide legal advice, and this post is only intended for educational purposes.

California Bans Salary History Inquires and Adopts Ban-The-Box for Job Applicants

Effective January 1, 2018, California will expand hiring laws:

  • A.B. 1008: “Ban-the-box” will outlaw requests for criminal conviction disclosure prior to a conditional job offer.
  • A.B. 168: This law will prohibit past salary inquires during a job application process.

Currently, New Orleans, Pittsburgh, and Philadelphia have laws in place that ban salary history requests. Additionally, 10 states operate under “Ban-The-Box.”

As a hiring manager, it is necessary to monitor laws that dictate the interview and hiring process. Therefore, it is critical to check for updates on your state’s labor law website. The US Department of Labor lists each state’s site here.

http://www.S2Verify.com

 

S2Verify does not provide legal advice, and this post is only intended for educational purposes.

Work-Life Balance from a Millennial Standpoint

Many different aspects of business have changed since the millennial generation became the largest among active employees. One of the most prominent being the importance of work-life balance.

A majority of workers today strive for and understand the benefits of a career that places a high priority on that of their employees’ personal lives. Commonly referred to as a “lazy and entitled” generation by those older, millennials typically ask their employers for time off, remote work, and the flexibility to adjust their hours according to personal events. Why does this deem them careless if these are all features that every generation wants out of their jobs? Perhaps the generational gap is defined by the dated notion that graciousness for even having a job means you are in no position to make demands.

Completing a job successfully should not be contingent upon spending 40 hours at the office, but rather the amount of work that is done. Should that require less hours or working from home, so be it. Managers should understand that forcing employees to do their jobs in a way that management wants them done will only deter them from doing so, and possibly prevent future hires.

The entire concept of work-life balance seems to be dated. The idea of having to devote one half of your life to your career seems daunting when spelled out. Effectively blending the two, not so much as a compromise, but as a better means of production is what most employers today understand as necessary for both success, and employee retention.

Another way to look at this debate is that despite physically leaving the office to go home, many employees continue to think about their jobs, the tasks that lie ahead, and issues that may arise in the near future. There isn’t a set time in which people are able to simply forget about their day’s work and go about their lives disregarding it. Stress or worry can carry well beyond the walls of an office. Conversely, people often think about their personal lives regularly while at work, more so when they are experiencing a bigger life event.

More businesses today should rethink their approach to employees’ work-life balance if they haven’t already done so. Making the personal lives and well-being of one’s team a priority is an almost guaranteed way to promote production, and increase employee retention. With millennials at the forefront of modern business ideas, perhaps even more aspects will begin to change for the better.

Remotivating Your Employees After Summer

Now that summer has ended and vacations begin to dwindle down around the office, some employees may find it difficult to get back in the swing of things. Weeks spent in a tropical location, Fridays where the workday ends hours early, or just a general sense of relaxation throughout the past few months can certainly be debilitating once these luxuries have begun to slow down. With that said, productivity around the office can be greatly affected.

Keeping your team motivated and active is a priority that every business leader understands, but doing so after the summer season can be slightly more difficult. Consider a number of team-building activities or daily acts of inspiration to spark your employees’ drive once again.

Host fun events

One way to get your team out of this post-summer melancholy is to take their minds off work for short periods of time. For example, employees may be more inclined to eat lunch privately at their desks, but offering to host a catered lunch or pay for a meal at a nearby restaurant can quickly turn a day of gloom around.

Get creative with the breaks you offer your employees. Hosting team breaks in which each staff member takes part in a shared activity can be fun, and can also build strong relationships among your team. These can include anything like office yoga, or a walk around the building or to a nearby market. If you can accommodate for longer breaks, having your employees take part in activities like bowling, sporting events, scavenger hunts, or educational games can be extremely beneficial.

Make meetings casual

Meetings following a week of vacation can be extremely difficult for employees still trying to shake their post-break bleakness. Start these group gatherings off on a high note, and in a way that engages everyone in the room. Ask obscure questions that could spark a fun conversation, or start with a small activity, like a joint effort on a Sporcle quiz. With laughter being the first experience, meetings will then feel much more casual.

Encourage dress-down days

One of the more exhausting acts following a summer break that managers may not consider is the necessity to dress up for work. While not all offices require this, those that do should host dress-down days, or as many know them as, casual Fridays (though they can be any day of the week). So long as the outfits are work appropriate, allow employees to wear t-shirts or shorts. Encourage them to have fun with it before a weekend of sporting events, for example. Ask them to wear the jersey of their favorite team. It may seem small, but even a change of work clothes can inspire a more casual environment, and thus a less stressful one.

Navigating the Legal Nuances of Background Checks

With more and more businesses today ensuring they are making the best possible hires by conducting background checks, the details and stipulations have since become much more demanding. With more programs like ‘Ban the Box’ and ‘adverse action’ arising to offset the sometimes complex aspects of background checks, companies that conduct them must understand the legalities that come with those in order to avoid troubles down the road.

To start, adverse action is what employers must adhere by after denying an applicant employment because of the results following a background check. This is also applied to reassignments or denial of promotion. Before you make a decision, you must notify the applicant or employee that the process is underway, along with a summary of rights from the Fair Credit Reporting Act.

Once five days have passed, depending on whether or not you choose to hire or reject the individual, a notice must be sent that includes reasoning and a way for the background check to be accessed by the applicant, along with the background check company’s contact information.

Though ‘ban the box’ laws are not active in every state, those that do enforce this campaign ask employers to consider applicants despite their criminal histories in order to reintroduce them to the working world. It has been regarded as somewhat controversial considering the fact that many companies refrain from hiring those who have criminal pasts, but denying them simply because of this in a state that enforces this program can result in a plethora of legal complications.

Notify a candidate prior to an interview that a background check may or may not be conducted, and whether or not your city has any specific stance on banning the box. The only careers void of this campaign are those in law (police officers) and childcare. However, these laws vary by state, so be sure to fully understand your specific state’s policies.
Always remember that the Fair Credit Reporting Act is what you should constantly refer to for any clarification. The process for adverse action is required under every circumstance, but the details may differ from state to state. Once all legal requirements are understood, be sure to provide the best possible screening process for your applicants and employees you can.

Managing Political Conversations in the Workplace

Given the current state of U.S. politics and the vast pool of opinions that come with it, it can be difficult keeping conversations regarding such a topic to a minimum. Political conversations are often those that spark arguments and tension in the workplace, which can directly harm your business, so paying attention to the rate at which these conversations are being held, and the type of responses that follow are important for you as a manager.

Though political conversations are easiest when avoided, silencing your staff’s opinions and desired topics of discussion deters their freedom of speech within the office. That being said, try and navigate this touchy subject delicately without compromising your best interest. In other words, allow these conversations to take place, but set a few limitations in place.

One of the best ways to steer clear of heated conversations is encouraging your employees to discuss the “bigger picture” rather than which party is right, and which is wrong. Having individuals talk about how certain problems affect them, and how they wish for them to be resolved is not only a way to avoid confrontational subjects, but it poses constructiveness, and allows others to see things from a different perspective.

It’s fairly easy for political conversations to escalate quickly, and with that, those engaged in these conversations are bound to make remarks before considering your business’s ethical standards. Ensure that all of your employees are reminded regularly of the respect that should be shared throughout the workplace, and to not make any comments that could be considered offensive or controversial. Instead, promote acceptance in every sense of the word. It’s important to consider others’ beliefs before discussing such a touchy subject, and accepting those beliefs when they are vastly different that one’s own.

While it is impossible to monitor every conversation going on within your office (which is also frowned upon), it is crucial to make sure that these discussions remain civil. Social cues are important to understand in order to cease conversations that are making those involved uncomfortable. Make sure your staff members are aware of these to avoid worsening the situation.

Political conversations can be difficult to navigate without something being said that offends one of the parties involved. As a manager, it’s important that you mitigate these situations, and avoid more controversial ones entirely. Though opinions should be shared among staff, there is a line that should not be crossed, with most of these topics best being left outside of work.