April Newsletter 2021

Message from the Editor: 

Welcome to another edition of ‘Inside Background Screening’ our new newsletter. Our goal is to bring to you cutting edge news and information about what is happening in the background screening world to help keep you informed and to position you to make the best possible hiring decisions. 

We hope you enjoy ‘Inside Background Screening’ and that you will share your interest and thoughts with us. 

Lorenzo Pugliano 
CEO 
Lpugliano@nsshire.com 

EMPLOYMENT SCREENING

Does Your Company Give Employees and Applicants a “Fair Chance”? Navigating Expanding Criminal Background Inquiry Bans Across the Country 

Multiple locations have enacted various “ban-the-box” or “fair chance” laws that prohibit or limit employers’ ability to ask about or consider a person’s criminal history as part of the job application process. The Fair Chance Act in New York City is one such act, which recently was radically expanded to make it ever harder for New York City employers to rescind a promotion or terminate an employee who was convicted of a crime during employment without needing to follow a multi-step process. Philadelphia also made similar changes and Maryland and Colorado have enacted relatively new ban-the-box laws. 

Read more 

Waters, Trone Introduce Historic Legislation to ‘Ban the Box’ on Employment Applications Nationwide Ahead of House Vote on Police Reform 

The Workforce Justice Act, which would encourage states to ‘ban the box’ on employment applications nationwide and give justice-impacted individuals a greater chance of gaining employment, has been introduced in the 116th Congress in an effort to reform a portion of the criminal justice system that affects more than 70 million people with an arrest or conviction record. According to Congressman David Trone (MD-06), justice-impacted individuals are primarily people of color and his own company saw a higher retention rate and gained more dependable employees when it banned the box and hired 500 returning citizens. 

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LEGAL ISSUES

Divided Second Circuit Rejects Race Discrimination Claim Tied to Criminal Convictions Client Alerts 

The full Second Circuit Court of Appeals recently denied an en banc petition to review the dismissal of a class action that involved a disparate impact claim. An earlier panel of the Second Circuit concluded that the claim in Mandala v. NTT Data, Inc., relied on nationwide criminal conviction statistics, not the conviction rates among the pool of applicants qualified for the particular jobs offered by the employer. The full Second Circuit affirmed the decision. 

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So Much for “9 to 5”: Employers’ Consideration of Employees’ and Applicants’ Conduct Outside of Work 

In North Carolina, a private employer is free to avoid or end relationships with applicants and employees whose conduct, regardless of where or when it occurred, is objectionable to the employer. The rule has many important exceptions employers must consider that protect applicants and employees from unlawful treatment based on what they have done or said outside of work under federal law. Employers should aim to be consistent, document the decisions carefully and promptly, and implement and act in accordance with a clear, reasonable and lawful personnel policy that addresses non-workplace conduct. 

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FedEx Sued in New York Over Job Applicant Background Checks 

A lawsuit filed by a job applicant of FedEx Corp. claims the company violated New York’s Fair Chance Act when it checked his criminal history before deciding whether to offer him a job. The company is reviewing the allegations and will de-fend the lawsuit, Franklin v. FedEx Ground Package System, Inc. The applicant is asking the court to allow him to represent a class of job applicants with criminal records who were turned down by FedEx in New York. 

Read more 

Illinois Tightens Restrictions on Employer Use of Criminal Background Checks 

Senate Bill 1480 has been signed into law in Illinois, adding a new Section 103.1 to the Illinois Human Rights Act (IHRA) that severely restricts the ability of employers to rely on conviction records in making employment decisions. Effective immediately, the amendment prohibits use of a conviction record as the basis for an employment decision unless

1. There is a “substantial relationship” between one or more of the candidate’s prior convictions and the job at issue or

2. Employment would involve an “unreasonable risk to property or to the safety or welfare of specific individuals or the general public.” 

Read more 

N.Y. Pols Propose ‘Clean Slate’ Legislation to Seal and Expunge Criminal Record

The proposal of New York’s new “Clean Slate” bill aims to create a two-step process to automatically seal and eventually expunge past convictions and make it easier for those who served time to find work and housing opportunities. Convictions would be automatically sealed one year after sentencing on the individual’s last misdemeanor conviction and three years after sentencing for felonies, as long as someone is off probation and parole, is not facing any pending criminal charges and is not on the sex offender registry. These would then not show up in most background checks for employment and housing and would be inaccessible for police department. They would, however, still be available for courts and prosecution purposes, as well as agencies statutorily mandated to fingerprint people for government-regulated jobs, licensing and clearances.

Read more

DRUG SCREENING

How New Jersey’s Recreational Marijuana Law Significantly Affects Work- place Drug Testing

Three marijuana reform bills were signed into law in February by New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy. The New Jersey Cannabis Regulatory, Enforcement As- sistance, and Marketplace Modernization Act (A21) legalizes and regulates can- nabis use and possession for adults who are 21 and older. The two other laws decriminalize marijuana and hashish possession (A1897) and clarify marijuana and cannabis use and possession penalties for individuals younger than 21 years old (S3454). The recreational marijuana law that voters approved by ballot initiative on Election Day 2020 has several provisions that affect employers, as does the decriminalization of marijuana law.

Read more

U.S. Office of Personal Management Provides Guidance to Federal Agencies on Consideration of Marijuana Use in Hiring Decisions

A memorandum has been issued by the Acting Director of the U.S. Office of Personnel Management (OPM) regarding “Assessing the Suitability/Fitness of Applicants or Appointees on the Basis of Marijuana Use; Maintaining a Drug-Free Workplace.”

Guidance is offered to help federal agencies deal with “increasingly encountering individuals whose knowledge, skills and abilities make them well-qualified for a position, but whose marijuana use may or may not be of concern when considering the suitability or fitness of the individual for the position,” according to Acting Director Kathleen M. McGettigan. The agency must consider several factors when determining whether an applicant is suitable or fit for a particular government agency job. Further, McGettigan said, prior marijuana use is not automatically disqualifying and agencies should exercise care before making a determination of unsuitability for criminal conduct based on marijuana possession.

Read more

Medical Marijuana and the Construction Industry: Effective Drug Testing Policy and Compliance

Mississippians voted last year to legalize medical marijuana, but the tension between federal and state law presents new challenges for contractors, especially those working in multiple states and jurisdictions. The Occupational Safety and Health Act’s general duty clause requires contractors to maintain a safe job site and work environment “free from recognized hazards that are likely to cause death or serious physical harm,” but it can be difficult to determine when an employee may be impaired and a drug test is warranted.

While some states require employee accommodation for medical use, other states that have legalized medical marijuana do not. It is important for businesses to develop a well-defined drug policy to minimize the risk of harm to persons and property and decrease the likelihood that drug testing and disciplinary action arising from marijuana intoxication will create liability for adverse employment decisions. Once developed, a contractor should administer a consistent drug testing program.

Read more

BIOMETRIC ISSUES

Minneapolis Becomes Latest City to Ban Use of Facial Recognition Technology

An ordinance has been passed by the Minneapolis City Council that prohibits the city from buying facial recognition technology or using any data derived from it. It also creates a process for city departments to request additional permitted uses of facial recognition programs and data through an exception process. The ordinance, however, does not include an exception for providing access control and security for employees in workplaces.

Read more

Proceeding with Biometric Caution: Illinois Courts to Decide Critical BIPA Issues

Illinois’ Biometric Information Privacy Act (BIPA) has opened the door for a whole new set of class actions, with employees asserting that employers violate the Act by utilizing timekeeping systems that require employee fingerprints, or other “biometric identifiers” or “biometric information.” Cases continue to increase into 2021 and several are worth keeping an eye on, including McDonald v. Symphony Bronzeville Park LLC (the potential complete defense case), Tims v. Black Horse Carriers, Inc. (the potential limitations defense), and Cothon v. White Castle Systems, Inc. (the potential per-scan defense case). Employers should take appropriate steps to ensure they are meeting BIPA requirements.

Read more

DATA PROTECTION & PRIVACY

Florida Data Privacy Bill

A bill in Florida would create new obligations for covered businesses and greatly expand consumers’ rights concerning their personal information, such as a right to notice about a business’s data collection and selling practices. House Bill 969 also would establish a private cause of action for consumers affected by a data breach involving certain personal information when reasonable safeguards were not in place to protect that information. The bill would amend the state’s Florida Information Protection Act of 2014 (FIPA), to expand the definition of “personal information” to include biometric information. In the event of a data breach involving many consumers, $100 to $750 per violation could add up and entail serious and substantial exposure.

Read more

Virginia Enacts New Consumer Data Privacy Law

The newly enacted Virginia Consumer Data Protection Act (VCDPA), which goes into effect on January 1, 2023, gives consumers certain rights with respect to their personal data. The VCDPA applies to all persons that conduct business in Virginia or produce products or services that are targeted to Virginia residents and that

  1. Control or process persona data of at least 25,000 consumers during a calendar year or
  2. Control or process personal data of at least 25,000 consumers and derive over 50 percent of gross revenue from the sale of personal data. While the VCDPA does not create a private right of action for consumers, it does provide the AG an opportunity to seek injunctive relief and impose civil penalties of up to $7,500 per violation.

Read more

IMMIGRATION STATUS & eVERIFY

E-Verify Implements Call-in Process to Resolve Citizenship Mismatch TNCs

The United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has announced an E-Verify policy update that provides employees who receive a Social Security Administration (SSA) Tentative Non-confirmation (TNC) with a “citizen mismatch” reason with the option to call the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to resolve their cases. The policy is intended to reduce the significant backlog of pending social security TNCs caused the pandemic. Employers are encouraged to update their E-Verify TNC process and tutorials to include a review of the SSA Further Action Notice (FAN) letter for citizenship status mismatch language; men- tion that employees can call DHS when discussing a citizenship status mismatch TNC; and be careful to avoid asking employees too many questions about their citizenship status.

Read more

Nationwide Screening Services

Disclaimer: All information presented is for information purposes only and is not intended to provide professional or legal advice regarding actions to take in any situation. Nationwide Screening Services makes no representations for any products or services that are mentioned and accepts no responsibility for any ac- tions or consequences taken without the guidance of a licensed attorney or professional consultant.

We’d like to hear from you! Please email us at info@nsshire.com

March Newsletter 2021

Message from the Editor:

Welcome to another edition of ‘Inside Background Screening’ our new newsletter. Our goal is to bring to you cutting edge news and information about what is happening in the background screening world to help keep you informed and to position you to make the best possible hiring decisions.

We hope you enjoy ‘Inside Background Screening’ and that you will share your interest and thoughts with us.

Lorenzo Lorenzo Pugliano CEO

Lpugliano@nsshire.com

EMPLOYMENT SCREENING

Philadelphia Expands Ordinance Limiting Employer Use of Credit Checks

Legislation has been signed by Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney that amends the Philadelphia Fair Practices Ordinance. Effective Feb. 20, 2021, the amendment expands the scope of covered employees under the Fair Practices Act to include financial institutions and law enforcement agencies operating in Philadelphia,

which were previously exempt from the ordinance’s requirements. Specifically, law enforcement agencies and financial institutions may not rely, in whole or in part, on credit-related information to take adverse employment action related to job applicants or employees, unless one of two exceptions apply. Employers should review existing policies and practices to ensure compliance with the amendment.

Read more

Illinois Set to Enact New Law Limiting Criminal Convictions in Employment Decisions

The Illinois Human Rights Act prohibits employers from considering an employee’s arrest history and now the state is taking things one step further in banning the use of criminal history in employment decisions. House Bill 1480 was passed, which provides that unless otherwise authorized by law, an employer may only consider an individual’s criminal conviction history if there is a substantial relationship between the criminal history and the position sought or held, or if the employer can show that the individual’s employment raises an unreasonable risk to property or to the safety or welfare of specific individuals or to the general public. The law, upon signing by the governor, will go into effect immediately.

Read more

LEGAL ISSUES

Big News for Background Screening: New Appellate Ruling Says FCRA Permits Reporting Unmatched Criminal Records

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit confirmed in December that it is not inaccurate for a consumer reporting agency (CRA) to report a criminal or sex- offender record without matching the record to a subject consumer, so long as the CRA notifies the user that the record needs further investigation before being attributed to an individual. The decision was made in Erickson v. First Advantage

Background Services Corp. Keith Erickson filed suit after he applied to coach his son’s Little League team and the required background check uncovered his father’s sex-offender record. CRA First Advantage Background Services Corporation alerted Little League, explaining that the record was a name-only match and that the organization’s “further review of the State Sex Offender website is required in order to determine if this is your subject.” Erickson claimed the CRA violated the Fair Credit Reporting Act’s (FCRA) requirement that a consumer reporting agency “follow reasonable procedures to assure maximum possible accuracy” of information included in a consumer report.

Read more

State Background Check Laws That Are Changing in 2021

Employment laws in the states prevent private employers from looking into an applicant’s criminal or credit histories, even though this is an important factor in making hiring decisions. Most states and even some cities have laws in place that allow criminal background checks. Employers in certain industries are required to conduct background checks on their applicants. Georgia, St. Louis and Washington are updating background check laws this year, but it’s important for employers across the country to check state labor law guides.

Read more

Should People with Criminal Convictions be able to Work in Health Care? A Bill in Washington’s Legislature Would Relax State Laws

A bill that is being discussed by Washington lawmakers would end the automatic disqualification of people with certain criminal convictions from working with vulnerable populations in health or home care. Sponsors of the bill say the effort could address the shortage of qualified caretakers and encourage people with convictions to take charge of their lives. Specifically, House Bill 1411 would allow people with certain crimes on their record to be eligible to apply for jobs with the Department of Social and Health Services (DSHS) at long-term care facilities or as in-home caretakers. Although the bill has support, some are urging sponsors to add more safeguards to protect the most vulnerable from abuse and neglect.

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Ten Key FCRA Decisions of 2020

In addition to the continued increase in the number of Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) case filings, 2020 also saw several key decisions handed down by federal courts. These relate to diverse issues like matching procedures of credit re- porting agencies (CRAs), Article III standing, the meaning of “maximum possible accuracy” and preemption of state credit reporting laws. Ten key FCRA decisions were made in: Williams v. First Advantage LNS Screening Solutions, Ramirez v. TransUnion LLC, Walker v. Fred Meyer, Inc., Luna v. Hansen & Adkins Auto Transport, Inc., Davis v. C&D Security Management, Inc. et al., Moran v. The

Screening Pros, LLC, et al., Domante v. Dish Networks, LLC, Consumer Data Industry Association v. Frey, Settles v. Trans Union, LLC, and Erickson v. First Advantage Background Services Corp.

Read more

DRUG SCREENING

Employers and Legal Marijuana

Although most states have legalized marijuana for medical or recreational purposes (or both), the federal government has yet to follow suite. Employers, however, should be paying attention to the ways these new laws should be reflected in their policy decisions, asking questions like “what are the laws in my state?” “Should I be testing for marijuana?” “Can I fire an employee who tests positive?” “If an applicant tests positive for marijuana, could I still hire that person?” and “Have I addressed marijuana laws in my company’s drug-free workplace policy.?” Although laws may vary and some include guidelines for medical use, marijuana is firmly prohibited for employers regulated by the Department of Transportation (DOT). It is still legal to test for marijuana within the workplace, but,

again, employers should pay attention to state laws and regulations.

Read more

New Jersey’s Legalization of Recreational Cannabis Use Includes Critical Employee Protections, But Leaves Many Questions Unanswered

The New Jersey Legislature has passed the New Jersey Cannabis Regulatory, Enforcement Assistance, and Marketplace Modernization Act (NJCREAMMA),

removing marijuana as a Schedule 1 drug and legalizing personal use of cannabis for adults over the age of 21. The state is the first to explicitly protect employees who engage in off-work marijuana use from adverse employment action taken on the basis of that use, and to limit an employer’s ability to act on the basis of a positive marijuana test after employment has started. The existing New Jersey Compassionate Use Medical Marijuana Act (CUMMA) requires employers to engage in an interactive process to reasonably accommodate a qualifying employee’s use of medical cannabis off-site and off-hours. Under the new legislation, employers can no longer take adverse action against an employee solely because an individual has used, or not used, a cannabis product off duty, regardless of whether such use is medically prescribed or recreational. Although regulations and guidance are still anticipated, employers are advised to update their drug use and testing policies to account for the new protections.

Read more

The Cannabis Conundrum: A Warning for Employers

Medical marijuana was legalized for use in New York in 2014 and Governor Cuomo has indicated that recreational legalization could soon follow. Although employees there are prohibited from testing job applicants for marijuana, they can test current employees. But what happens if an employee tests positive at work while having a prescription for medical marijuana? The ruling in Gordon v. Consolidated Edison, Inc., determined that a financial analyst who was terminated by Con Edison after a positive drug test could sue the utility company for disability discrimination. In the situation, the plaintiff was advised by a doctor that she would be a suitable candidate for medical marijuana to treat her irritable bowel disease. She made an appointment with the New York State Department of Health’s Medical Marijuana Program to be certified after claiming marijuana instantly relieved her symptoms. She was tested at work before becoming certified and, because of a positive test, was found to have violated the company’s drug policy and was terminated from her position. Employers in similar situations should consider the nature of the employee’s job and whether it is a safety sensitive occupation, whether there have been attendance issues or errors in the employee’s job and whether the cannabis has impacted work performance.

Read more

BIOMETRIC ISSUES

New York Proposes Biometric Privacy Act with Private Right of Action

Assembly Bill 27 – or Biometric Privacy Act – proposed by a bipartisan group of New York State lawmakers, would impose significant compliance requirements for companies handling biometric data. New York would become only the second state with a private right of action that includes statutory damages against entities that improperly use or retain biometric data. Specifically, the BPA will regulate entities’ use and retention of “biometric identifiers” and “biometric information.” Certain requirements would apply to private entities that engage in the collection of biometric identifiers and biometric information and also would prohibit private entities from selling, leasing, trading or otherwise profiting from an individual’s biometric data. In addition, it would put strict restrictions on private entities’ ability to disclose such information without the individual’s consent. The regulation provides a private right of action for any individual “aggrieved” by a violation of the law, and would allow such individual to recover damages of up to $1,000 for each negligent violation and $5,000 for each intentional or reckless violation, as well as attorneys’ fees and costs.

Read more

New York Proposes Biometric Privacy Act with Private Right of Action

Assembly Bill 27 – or Biometric Privacy Act – proposed by a bipartisan group of New York State lawmakers, would impose significant compliance requirements for companies handling biometric data. New York would become only the second state with a private right of action that includes statutory damages against entities that improperly use or retain biometric data. Specifically, the BPA will regulate entities’ use and retention of “biometric identifiers” and “biometric information.” Certain requirements would apply to private entities that engage in the collection of biometric identifiers and biometric information and also would prohibit private entities from selling, leasing, trading or otherwise profiting from an individual’s biometric data. In addition, it would put strict restrictions on private entities’ ability to disclose such information without the individual’s consent. The regulation pro- vides a private right of action for any individual “aggrieved” by a violation of the law, and would allow such individual to recover damages of up to $1,000 for each negligent violation and $5,000 for each intentional or reckless violation, as well as attorneys’ fees and costs.

Read more

Digital ID Verification Increasingly Targeted by AI Deep-fakes, Advisory Warns

According to Gemini Advisory, digital ID verification is attracting new threats in the form of advanced deep-fake software found on the dark web. While this is nothing new, the demand is on the rise as banks and other financial services are relying more and more on digital ID verification through selfies and videos to secure their automated services. The business has been tracking deep-fake services and have determined that detection software solutions are lagging behind these threats, only performing at 65.18 percent precision.

Read more

DATA PROTECTION & PRIVACY

Virginia Set to Become Second State to Pass a Comprehensive Privacy Law

The Virginia Senate passed the Virginia Consumer Data Protection Act (CDPA) on February 3, which borrows from the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA) and the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) but differs in key respects. The key provisions of the CDPA involve applicability, exemptions, controller/ processer distinction, broad definition of personal data, inclusion of sensitive data category, individual rights, data protection assessments and enforcement.

Read more

Wait a Minute – I Thought Employee Data was Deferred from the CPPA Until 2023. What Exactly Are Employers Supposed to Do Now?

Even though the California Public Records Act (CPRA) deferred a majority of the California Consumer Privacy Act’s (CCPA) employee-related substantive requirements until January 2023, employers are still required to provide employees with a notice of collection “at or before the point at which” the collection of information occurs. The following information must be collected: a list of the categories of per- sonal information that will be collected, the business or commercial purpose for which the information is being collected, information on how to opt out of the sale of personal information and information on how to find the company’s complete privacy notice. After Jan. 1, 2023, CPRA also requires the collection of whether that information is “sold or shared” and the “length of time” that the business in- tends to retain each category of personal information.

Read more

Disclaimer: All information presented is for information purposes only and is not intended to provide professional or legal advice regarding actions to take in any situation. Nationwide Screening Services makes no representations for any products or services that are mentioned and accepts no responsibility for any actions or consequences taken without the guidance of a licensed attorney or professional consultant.

We’d like to hear from you! Please email us at info@nsshire.com

February Newsletter 2021

Message from the Editor:

Welcome to another edition of ‘Inside Background Screening’ our new newsletter. Our goal is to bring to you cutting edge news and information about what is happening in the background screening world to help keep you informed and to position you to make the best possible hiring decisions.

We hope you enjoy ‘Inside Background Screening’ and that you will share your interest and thoughts with us.

Lorenzo Lorenzo Pugliano CEO
Lpugliano@nsshire.com


EMPLOYMENT SCREENING

Ugly Attack on Congress: Employers Turn to Social Media Background Checks

Employers across the nation are taking a closer look at their employees following the January 6 attack on the Capitol building in Washington, D.C. Chicago-area data company Congensia terminated its CEO after they determined he participated in the riots and Maryland-based direct marketing company Navistar terminated one of their employees after he was photographed and his company ID was clearly displayed as he entered halls of congress. The list goes on. These individuals  have a right to their civil liberties and political preferences, but not when it turns into violence. Employers are finding it more important now than ever to check out prospective candidates and employees’ online activity, but they should be mindful of legislation like the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) and Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). Nothing can replace the traditional background check, but reviewing online activity can help mitigate risk.
Read more

NYC Adds Protections for Employees with Criminal Arrests or Convictions During Employment

The New York City Council has passed amendments to the city’s Fair Chance Act, adding new protections for employees with arrests or convictions during employment. The Fair Chance Act not only affects hiring decisions, but also protects employees convicted during employment. The amendments, effective July 28, 2021, also add new protections for employees with pending arrests or accusations of criminal wrongdoing. Employers must consider the “fair chance factors” to decide whether adverse action may be taken either because there was a direct relationship between the alleged wrongdoing and the job or employment would involve an unreasonable risk to property or people’s safety. Before an employer can take any adverse employment action against a current employee based on a criminal conviction or pending arrest, several factors must be considered.
Read more


LEGAL ISSUES   

Negligent Hiring and Negligent Retention Claims Following a Truck Accident

When it comes to personal injury cases, the accident victim has just one chance to bring their claim – there are no second chances. In this type of law, liability is primarily based on the theory of negligence. A negligent hiring claim argues that an employer was negligent for hiring a truck driver because the employer should have known that the driver posed a risk to the public, while a negligent retention claim argues that the employer learned of the concerning information after the employee was hired. Either way, these claims argue that an employer’s negligence was, at least in part, responsible for an accident victim’s injuries, but in order to be successful, the following facts must be established: the person responsible for the accident victim’s injury was employed by the defendant employ- er; the employee was incompetent; the defendant employer knew of the employee’s incompetence; the employee’s negligence caused the accident victim’s injuries; and the employer’s negligence in hiring (or retaining) the employee was the proximate cause of the accident victim’s injuries.
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February Newsletter 2021

Maryland’s Montgomery County Amends, Expands Its ‘Ban-the-Box’ Law

An amendment has been made to Maryland’s Montgomery County ban-the-box legislation that increases restrictions on employers during the hiring process.

Effective February 19, 2021, employers with at least one employee (not limited to full-timers) may not require a job applicant to disclose (or ask a job applicant or others) whether the applicant has an arrest record or conviction record or has been accused of a crime, or conduct a criminal record check on the applicant before a conditional offer of employment, unless the employer is covered by an applicable exemption under the law. In addition, the Amendment provides that at no time can an employer require an applicant to disclose whether the applicant has been arrested, or has an arrest record, for a matter that did not result in a conviction. Other conditions also apply and, under the ordinance, employers (except the County) also are subject to civil penalties for violations of up to $1,000 for each violation.
Read more


DRUG SCREENING         

New Jersey’s Legalization of Recreational Cannabis Use Includes Critical Employee Protections, But Leaves Many Questions Unanswered

The New Jersey Legislature has passed the New Jersey Cannabis Regulatory, Enforcement Assistance, and Marketplace Modernization Act (NJCREAMMA), removing marijuana as a Schedule 1 drug and legalizing personal use of cannabis for adults over the age of 21. The state is the first to explicitly protect employees who engage in off-work marijuana use from adverse employment action taken on the basis of that use, and to limit an employer’s ability to act on the basis of a positive marijuana test after employment has started. The existing New Jersey Compassionate Use Medical Marijuana Act (CUMMA) requires employers to engage in an interactive process to reasonably accommodate a qualiying employee’s use of medical cannabis off-site and off-hours. Under the new legislation, employers can no longer take adverse action against an employee solely because an individual has used, or not used, a cannabis product off duty, regardless of whether such use is medically prescribed or recreational. Although regulations and guidance are still anticipated, employers are advised to update their drug use and testing policies to account for the new protections.
Read more

February Newsletter 2021

Pennsylvania Medical Marijuana User May Proceed With Disability Discrimination and Retaliation Claims

An employee was terminated after testing positive for marijuana on a return-to-duty drug test. Although she had a medical marijuana card, it was expired at the time she tested positive. The card was renewed and a doctor’s note was provided. A federal court in Pennsylvania overseeing Hudnell v. Jefferson University Hospitals, Inc., held that the medical marijuana user’s claims for disability discrimination and retaliation were sufficiently alleged to survive the employer’s motion to dismiss.

The case highlights the fact that there is a fine line when it comes to reasonable requests and when it comes to medical marijuana use, employers may face disability discrimination and retaliation claims.
Read more

Atlanta Mayor Suspends Pre-Employment Physical Exams, Drug Screenings, For Non-Safety Sensitive Jobs

Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms has issued an Executive Order suspending pre-employment physical examinations and drug screening requirements for prospective City employees in non-safety sensitive positions. The Order, which is designed to address systemic discrimination against communities of color that are disproportionately affected by underlying health conditions, also grants the Commissioner of the Department of Human Resources the authority to administratively establish requirements for pre-employment physical examinations and drug testing for safety sensitive positions. The Commissioner also may designate certain employment classifications, which affect safety and/or security as safety sensitive positions.
Read more

Construction Industry’s Emerging Best Practices for Navigating the Haze of Marijuana Legalization

With marijuana medically legal in 34 states and two territories and for recreational use in 15 states, Washington, D.C., and two territories, the construction industry has been left with plenty of questions about how to maintain a workplace that is safe for all workers. Best practices have emerged in several categories, including employment policies and procedures, safety sensitive position designations, dealing with medical marijuana in the workplace, and drug testing for marijuana in the workplace. A few noteworthy ones? Treat marijuana the same as alcohol or prescription drugs when not working under a federal contract and when in a state that has legalized marijuana; designate safety sensitive positions in writing and make sure that job descriptions reflect how impairment would pose a safety risk; be aware of states who are or will be legalizing medical and recreational use of marijuana in the future; and know that drug tests are not yet a reliable source to establish whether an employee is under the influence of marijuana.
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BIOMETRIC ISSUES

FTC Declares Facial Recognition Surveillance Tech Dangerous, Warns Against Federal Privacy Pre-Emption

The United States Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has issued a proposed settlement with Paravision, which Law Street reports to be its first focused on misuse of the biometric technology, and taking a position against federal privacy laws pre-empting existing state legislation. According to a tweet posted by FTC Commissioner Rohit Chopra, “today’s facial recognition surveillance technologies are discriminatory and dangerous” and his statement about the complaint against Paravision says its use of photos uploaded to the Ever app to train its face biometric algorithms says lobbyists in Washington are attempting “to delete state data protection laws.” The FTC has ordered Paravision to “delete the facial recognition technologies enhanced by any improperly obtained photos,” as well as all photos and videos of Ever users who deactivated their accounts.
Read more

February Newsletter 2021

Facial Recognition and Other Biometrics Targeted in Data Privacy Legislation, But What Will Feds Do?

A new bill, The Washington Privacy Act (SB5062), which was sent to the state’s senate, addresses geolocation data and certain biographic characteristics, as well as the use of biometrics for ad targeting. The new bill places enforcement of the privacy measures with the state attorney general and also directs the state priva- cy office and attorney general to consider requiring companies to honor online opt

-out requests submitted through web browsers. A similar ordinance was present- ed by Minneapolis police that would ban the use of facial recognition by Minneap- olis Police, but not outside law enforcement agencies operating in the city and in Utah, a senate committee unanimously approved a bill to regulate law enforce- ment use of facial recognition. There is disagreement between Republicans and Democrats on whether national data privacy legislation should pre-empt state laws, but this may not prevent the passage of new laws with the latter in control of all three legislative branches of the government.
 Read more

FTC Requires App Developer to Obtain Users’ Express Consent for Use of Facial Recognition

Everalbum, developer of the photo storage application Ever, has agreed to a Fed- eral Trade Commission (FTC) settlement that will require the business to 1. Ob- tain users’ express consent before using facial recognition technology on users’ photos and videos, 2. Delete or destroy all facial recognition data collected from users who have not provided consent, 3. Delete and destroy the photos and vide- os of deactivated accounts and 4. Delete models and algorithms that it developed using the photos and videos uploaded by users. Andrew Smith, Director of the FTC Bureau of Consumer Protection, stated that the FTC ensures that “companies keep their promises to customers about how they use and handle biometric data,” making it “a high priority for the FTC.”
Read more


DATA PROTECTION & PRIVACY    

California Privacy Rights Act Passes: Five Tips to Help Companies Prepare for California’s New, New Thing!

Although the California Privacy Rights Act (CPRA) does not repeal the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA), it does change and augment it in several ways. The good news is, the CPRA doesn’t take effect until January 1, 2023, and the threshold has been raised to favor small-medium businesses, time has been ex- tended for employee and business-to-business information, and the CPRA still limits its private right of action for claims related to data breaches only. Employers are advised to: reassess the organization’s data sharing and marketing strategies in light of the CPRA’s changed definitions regarding data “sales” and “sharing;” inventory and rationalize “sensitive personal information” collected by the organization to meet new standards; prepare for additional and expanded data subject rights; and prepare to welcome new policymakers and enforcers.
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February Newsletter 2021

Disclaimer: All information presented is for information purposes only and is not intended to provide professional or legal advice regarding actions to take in any situation. Nationwide Screening Services makes no representations for any products or services that are mentioned and accepts no responsibility for any actions or consequences taken without the guidance of a licensed attorney or professional consultant.

We’d like to hear from you! Please email us at info@nsshire.com

May 2020 Newsletter

Financial audit team is checking the numerical graph to present., May 2020 Newsletter

Message from the Editor:
Welcome to another edition of ‘Inside Background Screening’ our new newsletter. Our goal is to bring to you cutting edge news and information about what is happening in the background screening world to help keep you informed and to position you to make the best possible hiring decisions.


We hope you enjoy ‘Inside Background Screening’ and that you will share your interest and thoughts with us.

Lorenzo Pugliano
CEO
Lpugliano@nsshire.com

EMPLOYMENT SCREENING

Background Check Disclosures: What’s Extra But Not Extraneous?
The Ninth Circuit issued a decision in March that provides employers with actionable direction for the purposes of drafting and assessing the compliance of their background check disclosures and adverse action processes. Plaintiff Daniel Walker filed a class action against a grocery chain, alleging that he was unable to understand the nature of the background report that the grocery store requested. The District Court dismissed the complaint in June 2018, finding that nothing in the disclosure was extraneous, and that it was clear and conspicuous. The case was sent to the Ninth Circuit on appeal, where the term “extraneous” was assessed. Applying Syed v. M-I, LLC, and Gilberg v. California Check Cashing Stores, the Ninth Circuit held that a brief explanation of what it means to obtain a background check for employment purposes is not extraneous and satisfies the Fair Credit Reporting Act’s (FCRA) standalone disclosure requirement, but that disclosure of related processes is extraneous.
Read more

Taking Into Account Salary History in Setting Pay
The Equal Pay Act (EPA) prohibits pay discrimination on the basis of sex and does not require proof of discriminatory intent. As such, the Ninth Circuit recently held for the second time in Rizo v. Yovino that, under the EPA, prior salary history cannot be used by employers to justify sex-based pay differentials. Although there is a circuit split at the federal level as to whether prior salary can justify sex-based pay gaps under the EPA, companies should be aware of “salary history bans” at the state and local level, including in New York, New York City, California, San Francisco, Colorado, Illinois, Massachusetts, Oregon and Washington. In most of these jurisdictions, an employer’s ability to rely on an applicant’s salary history in reaching a compensation decision is limited. Employers should, instead, consider position-related factors, such as duties and responsibilities of the position, and person-related factors, such as past experience and education levels.
Read more

LEGAL ISSUES

Employee Must Dispute Background Check Finding With Credit Agency, Not Employer
The plaintiff in Walker v. Fred Moyer, Inc., sued his employer under the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA), claiming that the defendant’s FCRA disclosures contained extraneous information and therefore violated the law’s requirement that such disclosures be clear and concise. He also alleged that the defendant violated the FCRA by refusing to discuss the search results with him before his job offer was revoked. On appeal, the Ninth Circuit held that the FCRA notice should be limited to basic information about the search and its purposes, however, the employer may add additional information that is directly related to these required disclosures.
Read more

9th Circuit: Employees Failed to Show Background Check Info Was Confusing
Employees in a putative class action lawsuit against Shamrock Foods alleged that the employer violated the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) by failing to obtain authorization for their background checks and properly disclose its intent to obtain consumer reports. In addition, the employees allege the information was included in a “lengthy” employment application. The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals concluded that the employees failed to show they were confused by background information in Ruiz v. Shamrock Foods Co., No. 18-56209 (9th Cir., March 20, 2020).
Read more

Using Artificial Intelligence and Algorithms
Although the use of AI technology to make predictions, recommendations, or decisions has enormous potential to improve welfare and productivity, risks also are presented, such as the potential for unfair or discriminatory outcomes or the perpetuation of existing socioeconomic disparities. Both the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) and the Equal Credit Opportunity Act (ECOA) address automated decision-making. The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) Act authority can be used to prohibit unfair and deceptive practices to address consumer injury by emphasizing through law enforcement actions, studies and guidance that AI tools be transparent, explainable, fair and sound, while fostering accountability.
Read more

Ninth Circuit Reinforces Prohibition Against “Extraneous” Information in Background Check Disclosures
In March, the Ninth Circuit issued its third opinion on the question of when an employer’s background check disclosure satisfies the so-called “standalone” disclosure requirement in the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA), specifically providing practical guidance for drafting such disclosures. Employers may order background reports for employment purposes, but must first disclose their intention to do so and obtain authorization. The disclosure must be “clear,” “conspicuous,” and presented in a “document” that consists “solely” of the disclosure. The Ninth Circuit’s opinion discussed each paragraph of the employer’s disclosure and ruled that most, but not all, of the text was part of the disclosure rather than impermissible “extraneous” material.
Read more

DRUG SCREENING ISSUES

NJ Supreme Court Recognizes Medical Marijuana Discrimination
The New Jersey Supreme Court ruled that a funeral director may pursue discrimination claims against his former employer. Justin Wild’s anti-discrimination claims against Carriage Funeral Holdings, Inc., stem from his termination following a car-accident-related injury. Wild claims he was terminated because of his use of medical marijuana to manage cancer-related pain. A change to the Compassionate Use Medical Marijuana Act (CUMMA) provides employment protections for medical marijuana users, including prohibiting employers from taking any adverse employment action “based solely on the employee’s status” as a medical marijuana patient. In addition, where an employer does have a drug testing policy, any employee or applicant who tests positive for marijuana must be provided an opportunity to present a legitimate medical explanation for the positive result or to request a retest.
Read more


AB 2355 Aims to Make Medical Cannabis Users A Protected Class in California
Assembly Bill 2355 (AB 2355) was introduced in California, which would make medical marijuana cannabis users a protected class in California. Sixteen states, including Nevada, New York and Pennsylvania, already have similar laws that protect marijuana users against employment discrimination. AB 2355 does not, however:

  • Prevent an employer from refusing to hire an individual, or from discharging or reasonably accommodating an employee who is within the medical cannabis protected class.
  • Apply where an employer requires all employees and job applicants to be drug and alcohol-free for legitimate safety reasons as required by federal or state laws, and who is required to conduct applicant and ongoing testing of employees by those laws and regulations.
  • Diminish an employer’s ability to terminate an employee, refuse an accommodation, suspend an employee, or take any other lawful action against the employee if the employer discovers that the employee is using or is impaired by medical cannabis on the property or premises of the place of employment or during the hours of employment.

Read more

New York City Commission on Human Rights Proposes Rules Addressing Exceptions to Prohibition on Pre-Employment Marijuana Screening
The New York City Commission on Human Rights (the “Commission”) proposed rules in March addressing exceptions recognized under the city’s ordinance generally prohibiting pre-employment testing for marijuana and tetrahydrocannabinols (THC). Effective May 10, 2020, the ban on pre-employment testing for marijuana and THC will identify positions “with the potential to significantly impact the health or safety of employees or members of the public,” as permitted by the law. The proposed rules would permit testing of candidates for positions that require an employee to regularly, or within one week of beginning employment, work on an active construction site; regularly operate heavy machinery; regularly work on power or gas utility lines; operate a motor vehicle on an approximately daily basis; or where impairment would interfere with the employee’s ability to take adequate care in the carrying out of their job duties and would pose an immediate risk of death or serious physical harm to the employee or to other people.
Read more

IMMIGRATION AND eVERIFY

II-9 and E-Verify Compliance Blog: Form I-9 Conundrum: Is Your Business Operating Remotely During COVID-19?
A new “flexible” Form I-9 option, announced by the Department of Homeland Security in early April, enables employers to conduct a remote verification of a new hire’s identity and work authorization documents, followed by an in-person
verification at a later time. The relaxation of rules was a surprise to many businesses and employers with hiring needs are finding themselves trying to make sense of the option. First, if employees are physically present at a work location,
the exception will not be allowed, however for those employers with closed locations, virtual verifications for new hires will be permitted. There are exceptions for new hires or existing employees that are subject to COVID-19 quarantine or
lockdown protocols. Those who fail to comply could be charged with a so-called timeliness violation, which could potentially add up quickly.
Read more

DATA PROTECTION & PRIVACY

Two Years of GDPR: What We Have Learned and What You Need to Know
Marcel Duhamel, a partner in the Vorys, Sater, Seymour and Pease, LLC authored a white paper titled “Two Years of GDPR: What We Have Learned and What You Need to Know.” The white paper provides an in-depth overview of GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation), and it also offers some insights into what has been
learned about the law over the past two years.
The extraterritorial scope of GDPR – including to U.S. businesses with no physical presence within the E.U.
• How a U.S.-based business can determine whether or not GDPR applies to them and, if it does, what compliance entails.
• The many rights of data subjects granted under the GDPR.
• The principles in GDPR that govern the processing of personal data and the obligations on businesses to comply with these principles.
• An overview of the potential damages and penalties.
Download white paper

State Consumer Privacy Law Round Up February 2020
The National Conference of State Legislatures has reported that more than 150 new consumer privacy bills were introduced in 25 states and Puerto Rico in 2019, as well as several federal privacy law proposals. A few of these include the Washington Privacy Act, which is modeled after the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR); New Hampshire’s HB 1680-FN, a copycat of the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA); and New Jersey’s draft bill A2188, which would regulate owners/operators of websites and online services in their use of “personally identifiable information.”
Read more

Disclaimer: All information presented is for information purposes only and is not intended to provide professional or legal advice regarding actions to take in any situation. Nationwide Screening Services makes no representations for any products or services that are mentioned and accepts no responsibility for any actions or consequences taken without the guidance of a licensed attorney or professional consultant.

We’d like to hear from you! Please email us at info@nsshire.com or visit our contact form by clicking HERE

April 2020 Newsletter

Message from the Editor:
Welcome to another edition of ‘Inside Background Screening’ our new newsletter. Our goal is to bring to you cutting
edge news and information about what is happening in the background screening world to help keep you informed and
to position you to make the best possible hiring decisions.


We hope you enjoy ‘Inside Background Screening’ and that you will share your interest and thoughts with us.

Lorenzo Pugliano
CEO
Lpugliano@nsshire.com

EMPLOYMENT SCREENING

Salary History Questions Are Now Banned in New York

Since early January, New York employers have been prohibited from inquiring
about an applicant’s prior salary. Applying to all public and private employers within
New York state and covering applicants and employees who have taken an
affirmative step to seek full-time, part-time, or temporary/seasonal employment
with an employer, the law does not apply to independent contractors, freelance
workers, or other contract workers. Although employers are prohibited from
requesting the salary history of an applicant, an applicant may choose to
voluntarily disclose his or her prior salary.
Read more

What is Past is Prologue: The Ninth Circuit Again Rules That Prior Salary
Cannot Justify Pay Differences

In February, the Ninth Circuit issued a decision in Rizo v. Yovino, holding that the
prior salary cannot be used as a “factor other than sex” to justify pay differences
under the federal Equal Pay Act. With the Feb. 27 ruling, the Ninth Circuit joined
the Tenth and Eleventh circuits in holding that the Equal Pay Act precludes
employers from relying solely on prior salary to justify pay differences. Brought by
Aileen Rizo, a math consultant for the Fresno County public schools, internal
complaints were brought regarding the disparity between her compensation and
that of her male counterparts and the suit was filed raising allegations under the
federal Equal Pay Act, Title VII, and the California Fair Employment and Housing
Act.
Read more

Maryland’s Ban the Box Law Requires Swift Action for Employers to Comply

The Maryland General Assembly voted to override Governor Larry Hogan’s veto of
the Criminal Record Screening Practices Act. Employers must be prepared to
comply with the law when it takes effect on February 29, 2020. The act establishes
a statewide ban the box law prohibiting certain employers in Maryland from
requiring a job applicant to disclose information related to their criminal record, with
limited exception, prior to an in-person interview. The act does not prohibit an
employer from running background checks or public record searches on applicants
prior to in-person interviews, but it does permit employers to require an applicant to
disclose any criminal record during the first in-person interview.
Read more


LEGAL ISSUES

Walgreens Will Pay $7.5 Million to Settle Unlicensed-Pharmacist Claims

Walgreens was sued by several businesses that claim Kim Thien, an employee at the pharmacy, dealt with more than 745,000 prescriptions, with thousands for oxycodone, fentanyl, morphine and codeine, from 2006 to 2017. Thien was not licensed by the state pharmacy board as required by regulation. In addition to a $7.5 million settlement, Walgreens also agreed to institute a license-verification program and conduct annual audits, among other measures.
Read more

9th Circuit Holds All Members of Certified Class Must Have Article III Standing
to Recover Monetary Damages

The 9th Circuit recently held that individual class members must satisfy Article III’s
standing requirements in order to recover individual monetary damages. Class members who are a part of Ramirez v. TransUnion LLC who experienced no injury-in-fact traceable to the alleged statutory violation or challenged conduct must be excluded from any class damages award. The underlying litigation arises from a credit report by defendant TransUnion that identified plaintiff Ramirez’s name as matching two names on the U.S. Department of Treasury’s Office of Foreign Asset Control (OFAC) Database. Ramirez filed the putative class action claiming that Transunion’s OFAC alert practices violated various provisions of the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA).
Read more

Court: Wisconsin Must Expunge Criminal Records from Database

Centering around the case of Demonta Antonio Hall of Milwaukee, the Wisconsin
Department of Justice must expunge arrest records of people who aren’t charged from its criminal database. Hall was arrested in 2015 for possession of an electronic weapon, but he was not charged by prosecutors. At the time, he had an outstanding warrant for a traffic citation, which he paid. He was arrested again in 2017 for second-degree sexual assault, for which he, again, was not charged. At the time of the second arrest, he had an outstanding warrant for disorderly conduct, for which he was fined. When he asked the Justice Department to expunge the weapon and assault arrests from his file, he was told it was not possible because all arrests and convictions had been fused into one file in its criminal database. Hall sued in 2017, demanding the department expunge the weapon and assault arrests and the County judge agreed. Upon appeal, the 2nd District Court of Appeals sided with Hall, finding that state law plainly says that anyone who is arrested but not charged is entitled to have the record of that case expunged from the database.
Read more

Ninth Circuit Reinforces Prohibition Against “Extraneous” Information in
Background Check Disclosures

In March, the Ninth Circuit issued its third opinion on the question of when an
employer’s background check disclosure satisfies the so-called “standalone”
disclosure requirement in the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA), specifically
providing practical guidance for drafting such disclosures. Employers may order
background reports for employment purposes, but must first disclose their intention
to do so and obtain authorization. The disclosure must be “clear,” “conspicuous,”
and presented in a “document” that consists “solely” of the disclosure. The Ninth
Circuit’s opinion discussed each paragraph of the employer’s disclosure and ruled
that most, but not all, of the text was part of the disclosure rather than
impermissible “extraneous” material.
Read more

DRUG SCREENING ISSUES

The 2019 Honig Act Means New Obligations for New Jersey Employers
Around Cannabis at Work

In July 2019, New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy signed into law the Jake Honig
Compassionate Use Medical Cannabis Act, replacing the existing Compassionate
Use of Medical Marijuana Act (CUMMA). The previous Act contained language that
stated that “Nothing in [CUMMA] shall be construed to require … an employer to
accommodate the medical use of marijuana in the workplace,” but under the new
amendment, “It shall be unlawful to take any adverse employment action against
an employee who is a registered qualifying patient based solely on the employee’s
status as a registrant with the commission.” Employers should be prepared to
create policies that will comply with federal, state and local laws, and respond to a
potential increase in positive drug tests and the resultant challenges to any
employer action taken in response to a positive test result.
Read more

Federal Appeals Court Holds Test for Illegal Drugs is Not an Impermissible
Medical Examination, Even If Test May Reveal Lawful Drug Use

The federal appeals court in Turner v. Phillips 66 Co., Case No. 19-5030 (10th Cir.
Oct. 16, 2019) upheld the termination of an employee who tested positive for
amphetamines on a random drug test even though he claimed the result was due
to over-the-counter drug use. A random drug test was conducted by Phillips 66 Co. on employee Richard Turner and just three days later, he submitted to a post- accident drug test following a workplace accident. The initial random test yielded a positive result, which the defendant claimed was due to his use of Sudafed. He appealed the company’s termination decision and followed a denial with a discrimination charge with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), alleging disability discrimination in violation of the Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA).
Read more

New Jersey’s Supreme Court Upholds Reinstatement of Medical Cannabis
User’s Claim Under the New Jersey Law Against Discrimination

The New Jersey Supreme Court affirmed the reinstatement of a disability
discrimination lawsuit filed by a medical cannabis cardholder against his former
employer after he was fired for failing a post-accident drug test. Medical marijuana
users in the state have two potential avenues to bring discrimination lawsuits
against employers: the New Jersey Law Against Discrimination (LAD) and the
Compassionate Use Medical Cannabis Act (CUMCA). The plaintiff, Justin Wild, a
cancer patient and medical cannabis cardholder under the Compassionate Use of
Medical Marijuana Act (CUMMA), tested positive for cannabis after being involved
in a car accident while at work. Although he was not found to be impaired at the
time by an emergency room doctor, his employment was terminated based upon
its policy against drugs in the workplace. He sued, claiming discrimination under
the LAD.
Read more

New Jersey Employers Must Accommodate Authorized Use of Medical
Marijuana Outside of Workplace

The plaintiff in Wild v. Carriage Funeral Holdings, Inc., a cancer patient and lawful
user of medical marijuana, was involved in a motor vehicle accident while at work.
Although he told a hospital physician that he possessed a license to use medical
marijuana, the physician determined that a drug test was not necessary because it
was clear he wasn’t under the influence of marijuana at that time. The employee’s
employment was terminated following a required drug test to return to work. The
plaintiff filed a suit, alleging disability discrimination and failure to accommodate
under the New Jersey Law Against Discrimination (LAD). The New Jersey
Supreme Court concluded that the plaintiff stated a LAD claim that was sufficient to
survive the employer’s motion to dismiss.
Read more

IMMIGRATION & eVERIFY

I-9 “In-Person” Requirement Relaxed During Pandemic

Effective through May 19, 2020, the Department of Homeland Security has relaxed
the “in-person” review requirements associated with the Form I-9 process for
certain employers on a remote working schedule. The change is the result of the
2020 coronavirus pandemic. All other Form I-9 process rules remain in effect.
While Form I-9 in-person inspection rules are currently relaxed for any U.S.
employer who has converted to a total remote working schedule, DHS has stated
that “if there are employees physically present at a work location, no exceptions
are being implemented at this time for in-person verification of identity and
employment eligibility documentation for Form I-9.” Remote employers should be asked to complete Section 1 of Form I-9 and choose identity and work- authorization documents from List A/B/C.
Read more

E-Verify Extends Timeframe for Taking Action to Resolve Tentative
Nonconfirmations

Due to Social Security Administration (SSA) office closures to the public, the
federal E-Verify system is extending the timeframe to take action to resolve Social
Security Administration Tentative Nonconfirmations (TNC). Also extended is the
timeframe to take action to resolve U.S. Department of Homeland Security TNCs in
limited circumstances when an employee cannot resolve a TNC due to public or
private office closures. Employers must notify employees about their TNC result as
soon as possible and still are required to create cases for their new hires within
three business days from the date of hire.
Read more

U.S. DOT Issues Warning Regarding Use of CBD Products By DOT-Regulated
Employees

The U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) Office of Drug and Alcohol Policy
Compliance (ODAPC) published a notice in February concerning the use of hemp
and cannabidiol (CBD) products by safety-sensitive employees regulated by DOT’s
agencies. ODAPC stated that any product, including CBD products, with a
concentration of more than 0.3% THC remains classified as marijuana, a Schedule
I drug under the Controlled Substances Act. All safety-sensitive employees should
understand that DOT requires testing for marijuana and not CBD, and that the
labeling of many CBD products may be misleading because the products could
contain higher levels of THC than what the product label states. Furthermore,
DOT’s Drug and Alcohol Testing Regulation, Part 40, does not authorize the use of
Schedule I drugs for any reason.
Read more

DATA PROTECTION & PRIVACY

Working from Home? Here are 12 Steps to Reduce Data Privacy and Security
Risk

Risks, including pandemic-related phishing emails, increased pressure on network
architecture and user oversight, all are on the rise with the increase in businesses
instituting widespread remote work policies and procedures. In order to mitigate
the data privacy and security risks associated with remote work, 12 measures can
be taken by employers when responding to COVID-19. These include: multi-factor
authentication (MFA); sound transfer procedures; maintaining confidentiality;
working from home, rather than a café; knowing who to call regarding security
incidents and technical issues; saving data on a company-approved network and
cloud storage locations; understanding the limitations of existing insurance
policies; keeping in constant contact with employees; staying aware of phishing
attacks, minimizing the printing of confidential information; and using appropriate
encryption.
Read more

Disclaimer: All information presented is for information purposes only and is not intended to provide professional or legal advice regarding actions to take in any situation. Nationwide Screening Services makes no representations for any products or services that are mentioned and accepts no responsibility for any actions or consequences taken without the guidance of a licensed attorney or professional consultant.

We’d like to hear from you! Please email us at info@nsshire.com or visit our contact form by clicking HERE

October 2018

Message from the Editor:

Welcome to another edition of ‘Inside Background Screening’ our new newsletter. Our goal is to bring to you cutting edge news and information about what is happening in the background screening world to help keep you informed and to position you to make the best possible hiring decisions.

We hope you enjoy ‘Inside Background Screening’ and that you will share your interest and thoughts with us.

Lorenzo

Lorenzo Pugliano

CEO
Lpugliano@nsshire.com

LEGAL ISSUES
October 2018


Criminal Record Screening Policies Continue to Raise Important Multi-Jurisdictional Compliance Issues


In a recent case that resulted in a multi-million dollar settlement by a leading retailer, the employer settled a class action lawsuit for a significant cash payout, including $165,000 in attorney’s fees and other programmatic relief. The plaintiffs in the case allege that the employer’s criminal record screening policies violated New York’s statutory protections for ex-offenders, the New York City Fair Chance Act, the federal Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) and New York’s FCRA. In addition to the payout, the employer agreed to hire an expert in the field of industrial and organizational psychology and consider the expert’s recommendations regarding FCRA and New York law compliance.

Read
more


How Much is a FCRA Violation Going to Cost You?


In Esomonu v. Omnicare, Inc., No. 15-cv-02003-HSG, 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 142110 (N.D. Cal. Aug. 21, 2018), the plaintiff alleged that the defendant violated the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) when it embedded extraneous information in the FCRA disclosures, failed to alert the employee that she could request a summary of her rights and unlawfully obtained credit and background reports of the plaintiff and other employees. A settlement of $1.3 million was reached in favor of the plaintiff, in addition to attorneys’ fees – about $29 per person.

Read
more

LEGAL ISSUES
October 2018


Eighth Circuit Says Criminal Convictions Justified Termination of Bank Employees


The Eighth Circuit of Appeals recently concluded that a bank was justified in terminating employees or rejecting applicants based on criminal convictions involving dishonesty. Several minority employees filed suit under Title VII, alleging disparate impact based on race in Williams v. Wells Fargo Bank, N.A., after they were denied employment following criminal background checks. Due to the requirement that FDIC-insured institutions exclude from employment those who have convictions for dishonesty or breach of trust, the bank was found to have business necessity for conducting and acting upon information uncovered by the screenings.

Read
more


Evaluating and Challenging Standing in Fair Credit Reporting Act Actions


In Dutta v. State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance Company, Dutta alleged that
State Farm was in violation of the Fair Credit Reporting Act when it failed to
provide him with notice of his Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) rights and a copy
of his consumer report prior to denying his employment application. The district
court granted State Farm’s motion for summary judgement on the ground that
Dutta failed to establish an injury-in-fact and thus lacked standing. On appeal, the
Ninth Circuit agreed with the ruling. The case highlights the importance of
evaluating and potentially challenging a plaintiff’s standing in a FCRA action.

Read
more

New FCRA Summary for Rights for Background and Credit Checks

Effective Sept. 21, a new form has been issued by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s (CFPB) regarding the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) model notice. Failure to comply with FCRA requirements, such as those associated with consumer reports or investigative consumer reports, could result in liability. One of the requirements is that employers must provide individuals with a notice of their rights under the FCRA.

Read
more


South Carolina Law Amended to Allow Expungement of Certain Criminal Records

Effective December 27, 2018, prospective employees in South Carolina will not be required to disclose criminal convictions that have been expunged. Due to a tight labor market, state lawmakers and business groups hope to expunge juvenile offenses, first offenses, and relatively minor drug offenses to help alleviate labor shortage. The new law will allow eligible persons with multiple convictions to select for expungement from those eligible offenses that might be the most challenging in their job hunt. While it does require a person’s record to be clean for at least three to five years, it also provides an employer immunity from civil action for hiring a worker with an expunged criminal record.

Read
more


McDonald’s Class Action: Employee Background Checks Violate FCRA

A recent class action lawsuit against McDonald’s alleges that the fast food company failed to obtain proper authorization and was in violation of the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA). In addition, the plaintiff claims that he and other job applicants were not properly notified of the consumer report that the company pulled as part of the application process. The plaintiff and others reportedly were “distracted from the disclosure by the presence of additional information in the purported FCRA disclosure.” The lawsuit is seeking damages for alleged violations of the FCRA.

Read
more

October 2018
LEGAL ISSUES—continued

Stricter Regulations for Consumer Reporting Agencies Compiling Information on New York Consumers


Consumer credit reporting agencies (CCRAs) that reported on 1,000 or more New York consumers in any 12-month period between June 1, 2018, and Sept. 1, 2018, were required to register with the Department of Financial Services (DFS) Superintendent on or before Sept. 15. The underlying reasons, according to the DFS, include the failure of CCRAs to safeguard and maintain accurate consumer data and accurately investigate consumer disputes of alleged inaccuracies. Whether a consumer reporting agency qualifies as a CCRA that is required to register depends upon 1. Whether reports only contain criminal or non-credit information; whether the agency regularly engages in the practice of assembling or evaluating and “maintaining” credit information for the purposes of furnishing consumer reports; and whether the CRAs maintain credit account information from furnishers regularly in the ordinary cause of business.

Read
more

DRUG SCREENING
October 2018

Connecticut Court Holds That Refusing to Hire Medical
Marijuana User Constitutes Employment Discrimination


Plaintiff Katelin Noffsinger was granted summary judgment in a federal court in Connecticut after she was denied employment following a job offer when she tested positive for marijuana. She filed a complaint in state court against the company, Bride Brook, alleging a violation of the Connecticut Palliative Use of Marijuana Act (PUMA)’s anti-discrimination provision. Noffsinger disclosed to the company that she was a registered qualifying patient who has used medical marijuana for several years to treat post-traumatic stress disorder. The company argued that marijuana is illegal under federal law, but the court rejected the argument because the Drug-Free Workplace Act does not require drug testing, nor does it regulate employees who use illegal drugs outside of work.

Read
more


Five Recent Drug Testing Cases That Didn’t Need to Happen (And Cost Employers Money)


Several recent cases have highlighted the need for employers to take the proper steps to avoid financial liability by simply becoming familiar with rules. In Lingo v. Early County Gin, Inc., the business was found to not have met the statutory requirements entitling it to the rebuttable presumption of intoxication defense after an employee tested positive for marijuana. The urine sample was taken while undergoing surgery after being run over by a vehicle while on the job. In another case, a $45,000 settlement was reached when Happy Jack’s Casino, South Dakota, rescinded a job officer following a positive test for prescription drugs prescribed for pain management. In September 2016, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) filed a claim against the company for violation of federal law by refusing to hire the applicant based on her disability. The employer agreed to settle.

Read
more

October 2018

What Does the NJ Medicinal Marijuana Executive Order Mean to Employers?


In March, New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy issued an Executive Order to expand the state’s Medical Marijuana program. Employers with anti-drug use policies that prohibit the use of medicinal marijuana will need to be free from discrimination based on a medical condition. The state’s law does not require employers to accommodate medicinal marijuana, however, they are encouraged to review employee handbooks and modify policies, refrain from asking current or potential employers if they are certified to use medicinal marijuana, perform thorough documentation and provide training to managers and supervisors for potential changes.


Read more

October 2018
IMMIGRATION & eVERIFY ISSUES
October 2018

McCaskill Introduces Bill to Make Voluntary E-Verify System Mandatory


In August, Senator Claire McCaskill introduced the E-Verify System Act of 2018, which would require all employers to use the E-Verify system to ensure that newly hired employees are either United States citizens or foreign nationals authorized to work in the U.S. legally. Under current law, employers are required to examine documents presented by new hires to verify their identity and work authorization, however, according to McCaskill, “the current system is voluntarily and haphazardly enforced,” which “creates more incentive for illegal immigration and allows too many businesses to easily skirt the law.” The Senator has long been pushing to hold employers accountable for hiring undocumented workers and increasing security at the border.


Read more


Employer Cannot Join E-Verify Without Bargaining With Union

In a recent case involving an unfair labor practice charge, the National Labor Relations Board concluded that the obligation of unionized employers to enter into bargaining with the union before making material changes to terms and conditions of employment applied to an employer’s unilateral decision to enroll in the Department of Homeland Security’s E-Verify system. In The Ruprecht Co., an employer enrolled in E-Verify before notifying the union after it received a subpoena from Homeland Security seeking information about the work eligibility of its employees.

Read
more

October 2018

Disclaimer: All information presented is for information purposes only and is not intended to provide professional or legal advice regarding actions to take in any situation. Nationwide Screening Services makes no representations for any products or services that are mentioned and accepts no responsibility for any actions or consequences taken without the guidance of a licensed attorney or professional consultant


We’d like to hear from you! Please email us at info@nsshire.com

September 2018

Message from the Editor:

Welcome to another edition of ‘Inside Background Screening’ our new newsletter. Our goal is to bring to you cutting edge news and information about what is happening in the background screening world to help keep you informed and to position you to make the best possible hiring decisions.

We hope you enjoy ‘Inside Background Screening’ and that you will share your interest and thoughts with us.

Lorenzo

Lorenzo Pugliano

CEO
Lpugliano@nsshire.com

EMPLOYMENT SCREENING
September 2018


More Than Half of Employers Have Found Content on Social Media That
Caused Them NOT to Hire a Candidate, According to Recent CareerBuilder
Survey


A recent CareerBuilder survey revealed that 70 percent of employers are using
social networking sites to research job candidates, with 57 percent of them finding
content that caused them not to hire candidates. The IT and manufacturing
industries were in the lead, with 74 percent and 73 percent, respectively, being
more likely to explore social media pages for content before hiring. Employers
have said they are looking for information that supports their qualifications for the
job; a professional online persona; what other people are saying about the
candidate; and a reason not to hire the candidate. The survey also revealed that
that employers continue to monitor employees’ online presence even after they’re
hired.

Read
more


Social Security Administration to Resume Social Security Mismatch Letter
Notification Program

The Social Security Administration (SSA) will restart its mismatch letter notification
program. Formally titled “Employer Correction Requests,” the SSA notifies
employers that the social security number (SSN) and name reported for one or
more employees does not match SSA records. The letters will instruct employers
to register for the Business Services Online (BSO) database, which contains the
Employer Report Status and includes steps on how to correct mismatches.

Read
more

September 2018
LEGAL ISSUES
September 2018


Court Dismisses Background Check Lawsuit Against Sandoval, Laxalt


A judge recently dismissed a lawsuit claiming that Nevada Gov. Brian Sandoval
and Attorney General Adam Laxait did not do enough to enforce a law to expand
background checks on gun sales. The Background Act Check, approved by voters
in 2016, was never implemented because Laxait determined that it could not be
enforced as written. Known as Question 1, the law would require background
checks on private-party gun transfers. The FBI, however, said that it would not
conduct the screening because a “state cannot enforce how federal resources are
used.”

Read
more


Evaluating and Challenging Standing in Fair Credit Reporting Act Actions


In Dutta v. State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance Company, Dutta alleged that
State Farm was in violation of the Fair Credit Reporting Act when it failed to
provide him with notice of his Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) rights and a copy
of his consumer report prior to denying his employment application. The district
court granted State Farm’s motion for summary judgement on the ground that
Dutta failed to establish an injury-in-fact and thus lacked standing. On appeal, the
Ninth Circuit agreed with the ruling. The case highlights the importance of
evaluating and potentially challenging a plaintiff’s standing in a FCRA action.

Read
more


Playing a Losing Hand: District Court Dismisses FCRA Disclosure Claim
Against Casino in Absence of Concrete Injury

The District Court for the District of Nevada recently found that a plaintiff cannot
bring a “solely of the disclosure” claim in federal court when he or she has suffered
no actual harm separate from the perceived failure to properly format the
disclosure. In Williams v. TLC Casino Enters, the plaintiff alleged that TLC Casino
Enterprises violated the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) by obtaining a consumer
report on her without providing her with a “stand-alone document of a legal
disclosure.” The business moved to dismiss the complaint for lack of standing,
arguing that the claim amounted to “nothing more than a bare procedural violation
of the FCRA.” The court agreed with TLC Casino Enterprises.

Read
more


Spokeo Strikes Again: Why Challenges to Standing Are Key

The Ninth Circuit affirmed in July the district court’s decision granting summary
judgment to State Farm to a putative Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) class action
in Dutta v. State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance Company. In the case, plaintiff
Bobby S. Dutta alleged State Farm violated section 1681b of the FCRA by failing
to provide him with a copy of his consumer report, notice FCRA rights and an
opportunity to challenge inaccuracies before being denied employment. The
decision highlights the importance of continuing to challenge standing at all stages
of a case.

Read
more

September 2018
DRUG SCREENING
September 2018

More Employee Drug Use Equals More Issues for Employers


Quest Diagnostic’s most recent annual report showed a continued increase in the
positive rate of both legal and illegal drug use among both the general U.S.
Workplace and the federally mandated workforce. In 2016, 116 people died each
day from opioid-related drug overdoses, causing more than 504 billion in economic
costs. Employer PUD recently was ordered to pay a former employee $1.8 million
in economic and emotional damages for violating the Washington Law Against
Discrimination. The employee was legally prescribed medication for chronic
migraines. With drug use on the rise, it is more important now than ever for
employers to ensure compliance with state disability discrimination rules.

Read
more


New Jersey Federal Court: Employer Need Not Waive Drug Gest for Medical
Marijuana User

Despite the legalization of medical marijuana in several states, the drug still
remains a Schedule 1 illegal substance. Employees, however, are left wondering
how the new laws affect rights under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). For
instance, New Jersey’s Compassionate Use Medical Marijuana Act (CUMMA)
does not permit the use of medical marijuana in the workplace, as stated by the
federal District Court in a recent case. Even so, employers may want to consider
initiating the interactive process to determine if a reasonable accommodation or
alternative to its drug-free policy exists.

Read
more

New Jersey Mandates Drug Testing of Direct Support Staff


Effective in May, applicants and employees working in any New Jersey
Department of Human Services funded, licensed or regulated program serving
adults with developmental disabilities are subject to mandatory drug testing. The
Stephen Komninos’ Law, New Jersey Public Law 2017, Chapter 238, which
applies to “direct care staff members” also includes volunteers. Drug tests will be
conducted for pre-employment, at random, or “for cause” or reasonable suspicion.


Read more


Poppy Seed Bagel to Blame For Tests Positive for Opiates During Labor


While in labor with her daughter, Elizabeth Eden was reported to child services
after opioids were found in her blood. The testing, which is used to “catch mothers
who use illegal drugs,” according to Dr. Judith Rossiter-Pratt, the obstetrics and
gynecology department chief at St. Joseph Medical Center, caused the new
mother to be held in the hospital for five days. She also was required to allow a
caseworker to check her home. The positive results, however, were found to be
due to a poppy seed bagel that was consumed for breakfast that morning.

Read
more


A Closer Look at How the Opioid Epidemic is Impacting Employment


According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 115 Americans die
each day from drug overdose involving an opioid. The crisis affects various
aspects of people’s lives, from their families and communities to their workplaces,
leading to job loss and lower labor force participation. But data suggests that many
people taking opioids are employed, with nearly 85 percent prescribed for working
age people, paid for by private health insurance. A study suggests that the crisis
doesn’t stem from poor economic conditions, but rather can be blamed on a “selfinflicted
perfect storm that arose from a combination of newly availably opioids,
new attitudes about the importance of pain management, loose prescribing
practices and a lack of professional accountability.”

Read
more

September 2018
IMMIGRATION & eVERIFY ISSUES
September 2018

Form I-9 Immigration and Employment Law Alert: The Time is Now for a
Proactive Audit


With Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) workplace audits on the rise,
especially in California, employers are advised to make the I-9 form a top priority.
Under federal law, all employers in the United States are required to complete this
form to verify the identity and employment eligibility of new hires. Section 1 must
be completed at the time of hire and Section 2 within three business days. These
important documents must be retained for three years after the date of hire. More
than 50 percent, however, are shown to have errors, either being incomplete,
incorrect or outdated. Employers are advised to work with counsel to conduct a
proactive internal audit, ensuring HR representatives are well trained, and ensuring
electronic files are properly stored, among other items.


Read more


Baby It’s Cold Outside: ICE I-9 Audits Increase Over 100 Percent

With Form I-9 inspections by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE)
increasing by more than 100 percent, employers are advised to make appropriate
compliance efforts to avoid monetary fines, branding exposure and other forms of
liability. In July, ICE released information to the press that its Homeland Security
Investigations (HSI) division had completed the second phase of a nationwide
operation, serving 2,738 I-9 Notices of Inspection (NOIs). The first phase saw
2,450 issued earlier this year. Businesses should take these NOIs seriously and
avoid waiving the three-day right to produce the I-9. Communicate carefully with
the agency and remain aware of the time constraints. When the audit has been
completed, it is important to create a post-NOI checklist that includes proactive
plans.

Read
more

DATA PROTECTION & PRIVACY
September 2018

The Practical Guide to the California Consumer Privacy Protection Act,
Part 1


The California Consumer Privacy Protection Act of 2018 (CCPA), designed to emulate
the European General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), has U.S. companies
rushing to verify that their practices comply with the statute. Bryan Cave
Leighton Paisner has published a multi-part Practical Guide to the CCPA to help
address any confusion. In it, he shares that the CCPA requires that a business
informs Californians about whom it has collected information about the organization’s
privacy practices. Prior to the enactment of the CCPA, there were several
laws within the United States that required companies to publish a privacy notice,
but the CCPA applies to a broader group of companies, among other differences.
Employers should review existing privacy notices and verify compliance, identify
instances in which one many be collecting information about Californians and
draft a privacy notice that confirms with both the CCPA and other privacy laws
that may apply.


Read more

September 2018

Disclaimer: All information presented is for information purposes only and is not intended to provide professional or legal advice regarding actions to take in any situation. Nationwide Screening Services makes no representations for any products or services that are mentioned and accepts no responsibility for any actions or consequences taken without the guidance of a licensed attorney or professional consultant


We’d like to hear from you! Please email us at info@nsshire.com

August 2018

Message from the Editor:

Welcome to another edition of ‘Inside Background Screening’ our new newsletter. Our goal is to bring to you cutting edge news and information about what is happening in the background screening world to help keep you informed and to position you to make the best possible hiring decisions.

We hope you enjoy ‘Inside Background Screening’ and that you will share your interest and thoughts with us.

Lorenzo

Lorenzo Pugliano

CEO
Lpugliano@nsshire.com

EMPLOYMENT SCREENING
August 2018


Asking Applicants About Salary History Now Banned in Massachusetts and Vermont, Connecticut to Follow


Massachusetts and Vermont now will prohibit employers from inquiring into or seeking prospective employees’ salary
history. Connecticut soon will follow, while Maine, New Hampshire and Rhode Island are considering similar
measures. In addition to the prohibition, the two states will not allow employers from requiring that an applicant’s
current or prior salary history meet certain criteria, and Vermont law also prohibits employers from determining whether
to interview an applicant based on the applicant’s current or past compensation. To comply, employers should review
and revise hiring documents, ensure that all applicants know that they are not required to disclose salary history, train
personnel involved in the hiring process on restrictions imposed by the new laws, and take a fresh look at current
compensation practices.

Read
more


Hawaii Prohibits Employers from Asking Job Applicants About Salary
History

Hawaii Governor David Y. Ige recently signed Senate Bill 2351 into law, which will
prohibit prospective employees in the state from requesting or considering the
wage or salary history of job applicants as part of an employment application
process or compensation offer. The law will take effect Jan. 1, 2019.

Read
more

August 2018
LEGAL ISSUES
August 2018


NJ Appellate Court: You Have the Right to Obtain Public Records Even If You Live Out of State


Under New Jersey’s Open Public Records Act (OPRA), the term “citizens” applies to the general public and now, thanks to a decision of the New Jersey Appellate Division, individuals are not limited to the state. The ruling comes after an out-of-state citizen filed an OPRA lawsuit in Burlington County after the Atlantic County Municipal Joint Insurance Fund refused to provide requested records about legal bills. The judge in the case concluded that the right to request public records under OPRA is not limited to NJ citizens.

Read
more


North Carolina Legislature Expands Opportunities for Employment of Persons With Criminal Records Shields Employers From Negligence Claims


House Bill (HB) 774 recently was signed by North Carolina Governor Ray Cooper and aims to broaden the situations in which individuals convicted of certain crimes may petition for a “certificate of relief.” The bill, which was unanimously passed, will help reduce the risks employers may face when hiring persons with criminal convictions. Under the new legislation, certificates are made available to individuals who have been convicted of “no more than three Class H or I felonies and any misdemeanors.” The law also insulates employers from liability from most employment-related negligence claims when hiring or retaining a person with a certificate of relief, but only if the employer “relied on” the certificate of relief in hiring or retaining the person.

Read
more


Does the New California Privacy Law Apply to Your Business?

According to an analysis by the International Association of Privacy Professionals, almost half a million United States companies will be impacted by the passage of the California Consumer Privacy Act. The law, which applies to businesses, such as sole proprietorships, partnerships, limited liability companies, corporations, associations or other legal entities that collect a consumer’s personal information, does not include natural persons. Those businesses that have taken steps to comply with the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) will likely find that they already have processes and policies in place that permit them to comply. It is important for companies doing business in the state of California to explore the thresholds and definitions set forth by the law.

Read
more


FCRA Class Action Dismissed by Missouri Court of Appeals for Lack of Standing

The plaintiff in a class action filed in Cole County Circuit Court against Kelly Services claimed that the company violated the Fair Credit Reporting Act when it included more information in its disclosure form than was allowed and by not providing him with either the report or a summary of his rights. Although it was dismissed in 2016 by the federal court under the U.S. Supreme Court’s Spokeo v. Robins decision, it was remanded back to state court, where a three-judge panel of the Missouri Court of Appeals upheld the lower court’s ruling that the plaintiff lacked standing to pursue his claim since he could not prove concrete and actual injury.

Read
more

August 2018
DRUG SCREENING
August 2018

Cannabis Opioid Crisis Disproportionately Affects Construction Industry: Three Policies to Minimize Associated Risks


Declared by the White House in October 2017 as a “public health crisis,” the opioid addiction epidemic has been found to disproportionately affect the construction industry more than any other sector. Employers in the construction industry should consider implementing drug screenings during the hiring process; “random” drug testing during employment; and written disciplinary policies and procedures for disciplining employees that test positive for any opioids or illegal drugs.

Read
more


The Far-Reaching, Positive Impact of Workplace Drug Testing

Employment drug testing has been shown to not only promote a safer, more productive workplace, but to help decrease employee turnover and absenteeism, reduce employer risk and lower workers’ compensation incidence rates. It has been found that employees are more likely to undergo treatment when it is fostered by an employer and those in recovery go on to become better workers. According to “Drug Abuse Costs Employers $81 Billion Per Year,” drug abuse leads to lost productivity due to absenteeism, withdrawal, preoccupation with obtaining and using substances while at work, illegal activities at work, and psychological or stress-related effects. Those companies who choose to drug test their employees help protect their company from liability and potentially lower workers’ comp costs and premiums.

Read
more

What Employers Should Know About Recreational Marijuana in Massachusetts


In July, Massachusetts became one of nine states to legalize recreational marijuana. The state, however, has no statutory protection for employees’ lawful off-duty conduct, such as smoking, so employers may terminate an employee for off-duty and/or off-site recreational marijuana use. Courts would be unlikely to protect employees who test positive for recreational marijuana use. It does, after all, remain illegal under federal law. To minimize the risk of a viable legal claim resulting from an employee’s termination, there are several things employers can do: 1. Enforce zero-tolerance policies; loosen drug-testing policies as recreational use becomes more prevalent; eliminate standardized testing policies; and update employee handbooks.


Read more


What Vermont’s Legalization of Recreational Marijuana Means for Employers


Vermont’s recreational marijuana law that went into effect in July has lifted penalties for individuals possessing limited amounts of marijuana. The new law doesn’t require employers to tolerate marijuana possession or use in the workplace. The Guide to Vermont’s Laws on Marijuana in the Workplace, released by the Vermont Office of the Attorney General, provides employers an overview of the changes regarding marijuana laws and summarizes existing employment laws relating to drug testing in the workplace. In it, readers can learn about the recreational marijuana law, medical marijuana law, the state’s Fair Employment Practices Act (VFEPA), and the restrictive drug testing law.

Read
more

August 2018
IMMIGRATION & eVERIFY ISSUES
August 2018

Latest ICE I-9 Audits on the Rise: Act Today to Prevent Issues Tomorrow


Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) has increased worksite enforcement actions by more than 50 percent, including 3,510 worksite investigations, 2,281 I-9 audits and 594 criminal and 610 administrative worksite-related arrests. ICE views its actions as fulfilling its obligations under the Administration’s “By American, Hire American” (BAHA) Executive Order. California has seen the most ICE/Homeland Security Investigation (HSI) action, with 122 Notices of Inspection (NOIs) issues in Los Angeles alone and another 77 served throughout Northern California. ICE has stated that it plans a summer swell, but employers can prepare by conducting internal assessments; reviewing and establishing policies and procedures; being proactive; training; and preparing for a government visit.


Read more


ICE Delivers More Than 5,200 I-9 Audit Notices to Businesses Across the US in 2-Phase Nationwide Operation

U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) recently announced the results of a two-phase nationwide operation in which I-9 audit notices were served to more than 5,200 businesses around the country since the start of the year. During the first phase from late January to March 30, HSI served 2,540 Notice of Inspections (NOIs) and made 61 arrests, while in mid-July, HSI served 2,738 NOIs and made 32 arrests. The worksite enforcement strategy is aimed at criminal prosecution of employers who knowingly break the law, as well as the use of I-9 audits and civil fines to encourage compliance with the law. Failure to follow the law can result in criminal and civil penalties, such as in Fiscal Year 2017, when businesses were ordered to pay $97.6 million in judicial forfeitures, fines and restitution, and $7.8 million in civil fees.

Read
more

DATA PROTECTION & PRIVACY
August 2018

Disclaimer: All information presented is for information purposes only and is not intended to provide professional or legal advice regarding actions to take in any situation. Nationwide Screening Services makes no representations for any products or services that are mentioned and accepts no responsibility for any actions or consequences taken without the guidance of a licensed attorney or professional consultant


We’d like to hear from you! Please email us at info@nsshire.com

July 2018

Message from the Editor:

Welcome to another edition of ‘Inside Background Screening’ our new newsletter. Our goal is to bring to you cutting edge news and information about what is happening in the background screening world to help keep you informed and to position you to make the best possible hiring decisions.

We hope you enjoy ‘Inside Background Screening’ and that you will share your interest and thoughts with us.

Lorenzo

Lorenzo Pugliano

CEO
Lpugliano@nsshire.com

EMPLOYMENT SCREENING
July 2018


Samsonite CEO Steps Down After His Credentials are Questioned


Samsonite CEO Ramesh Tainwala recently resigned after a
research report issued by short-seller Blue Orca said he falsely
claimed on his resume that he earned a doctorate in business
administration from Union Institute and University in Cincinnati.
Samsonite called the report “one-sided and misleading,” but will
replace Tainwala with CFO Kyle Gendreau.

Read
more


Asking a Job Applicant Previous Pay May Violate the Equal Pay Act


The United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit recently
enacted a law that prior pay cannot be used to justify wage
differentials between employees under the Equal Pay Act of 1963
(EPA). There are four exceptions to the rule, however: an
employer’s use of a seniority system, an employer’s use of a merit
system, an employer’s use of a quantity-based system and “any
factor other than sex.” Rizo v. Yovino perfectly emphasizes the
importance of the EPA. After the Fresno County Office of
Education used a female employee’s prior pay to explain why it
paid her less than men who performed equal work, the Ninth
Circuit ruled that the employer would no longer be using previous
pay to justify unequal wages under “any factor other than sex.”

Read
more


Massachusetts’s Attorney General on the Lookout for
Prohibited Criminal History Inquiries


Seventy employers are being investigated for violating
Massachusetts’s “ban the box” law, which prohibits most
businesses from asking about job candidates’ criminal
backgrounds on initial employment applications. The Boston-area
businesses range from a restaurant chain to a skin care company
to a book store. Three of the larger companies were fined $5,000
each and all were required to alter their application process to
comply with state requirements. Warning letters also were sent out
to other companies in question.

Read
more

July 2018
LEGAL ISSUES
July 2018


Pennsylvania Governor Wolf Issues Executive Order
Attempting to Address Pay Inequality

In June, Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf signed Executive Order 2018-18-03, which addresses the gender pay gap in the state. All
state agencies under the governor’s jurisdiction have been directed to: No longer inquire about a job applicant’s current compensation or compensation history at any stage during the hiring process; base salaries on job responsibilities, position pay range and the applicant’s knowledge, skills, competencies, experience, compensation requests, or other bona fide factor other than sex, except where compensation is based on clearly defined situations; and clearly identify the appropriate pay range on job postings. Applicants are not, however, prohibited from volunteering information about their current compensation level or salary history.

Read
more


St. Louis Bans the Box to Help Ex-Offenders Find County
Jobs

St. Louis County has joined other area governments that have
enacted “ban the box” policies, prohibiting employers from asking
job applicants about their criminal histories in their initial
employment applications. The executive order, signed by St. Louis
County Executive Steve Stenger, asks the county director of
administration and director of personnel to remove criminal history
from employment applications. It does not, however, prevent a
criminal background check as a condition of employment in St.
Louis County government.

Read
more

July 2018
DRUG SCREENING
July 2018

Cannabis Use Across Industries and Occupations: What Can
A
Business Do?

Nine states and the District of Columbia now have legalized
marijuana for recreational use. Twenty additional states allow
medical marijuana and the numbers are expected to grow.
Employers are finding it difficult to comply with both state and
federal laws since marijuana still remains a Schedule I illegal drug
under the Controlled Substance Act. In April, the Food and Drug
Administration (FDA) requested public comments regarding the
use of cannabis, while its advisory panel unanimously
recommended approval of a cannabis-based medication to treat
seizures in children. Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer also
announced that he would introduce a bill to decriminalize
marijuana under federal law, while President Donald Trump
promised a Colorado senator that he would “support efforts to
protect states with legalized marijuana.” Currently, however,
because of its place as a Schedule I drug, employers are permitted
to require a drug-free workplace, but should consider specific laws
regarding medical marijuana use.

Read
more


Cannabidiol and Drug Tests


Cannabidiol (CBD), one of approximately 400 compounds found in
cannabis, does not produce a high, but research surrounding its
use is in its early phases. So far, studies have revealed that CBD
“may benefit medical and therapeutic issues such as seizures,
PTSD, neurological diseases, pain, cancer, inflammation and
mood disorders.” Sara Jane Ward, assistant professor of
pharmacology at the Temple University Lewis Katz School of
Medicine, told U.S. News Health that, because the U.S.
Department of Agriculture does not test for CBD, companies are
able to sell its products more often. Available in oil, vapors, and
beauty and health products, the compound itself would not
produce a positive test for marijuana or marijuana metabolite.
However, if the product contains THC at a higher concentration, it’s
possible a drug urine test could come back as positive.

Read
more

Company Fired Employee for Participation in MedicationAssisted
Treatment for Drug Addiction, Federal Agency
Charged

Foothills Child Development Center was found to have violated
federal law under the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission
(EEOC) when it terminated employee Leon Dabrowski, after he
disclosed his participation in a supervised medication-assisted
treatment (MAT) program. The afterschool teacher was hired to
work at the Easley, S.C., facility, but was fired just 30 minutes into
his first day of employment due to the use of Suboxone. Foothills is required to pay Dabrowski $5,000 and also has entered into a fiveyear
consent decree, which requires the company to amend its
written drug use policy to include a clear and specific exclusion to
the policy for individuals who use legally-obtained prescription
medication in a lawfully prescribed manner.


Read more


Maine’s New Recreational Marijuana Law Permits Employers
to Enforce Policies Restricting Use

On May 2, 2018, an amended law permits employers in the state
of Maine to enforce workplace policies restricting the use of
marijuana and to take disciplinary action in accordance with those
workplace policies. The original law prohibited employers from
refusing to employ a person who used marijuana outside of the
employer’s property, while the new law does not require an
employer to permit or accommodate the use, consumption,
possession, trade, display, transportation, sale or cultivation of
marijuana or marijuana products in the workplace. In addition, the
new law states that an employer may enact and enforce workplace
policies restricting the use of marijuana and marijuana products,
and allows the employer to discipline employees who are under
the influence of marijuana in the workplace or while otherwise
engaged in activities within the course and scope of employment.

Read
more


Vermont Attorney General Publishes Guide to Marijuana in the
Workplace


As a precursor to the enactment of Vermont’s July 1, 2018,
recreational marijuana law, the Vermont Office of the Attorney
General released the “Guide to Vermont’s Laws on Marijuana in
the Workplace” to address key factors regarding the state’s
marijuana laws and guides employers on the topic of drug testing
in the workplace. For example, individuals in the state no longer
will face criminal penalties for possessing up to an ounce of
marijuana or five grams of hashish and two mature and four
immature marijuana plants. Employers still maintain certain rights,
however, regarding the regulation of use, consumption and
possession, as well as policies prohibiting the use of marijuana in
the workplace, among others. The use of prescription marijuana by
employees with certain debilitating medical conditions is permitted
under Vermont’s medical marijuana law, but workplace laws do
apply.

Read
more

July 2018
IMMIGRATION & eVERIFY ISSUES
July 2018

Latest ICE Aggressive Enforcement Targets Northern Ohio
Meat Processing Plant

The arrest of more than 140 workers at four meat processing
plants in Ohio as part of an Immigration and Custom Enforcement (ICE) raid on June 19, 2018, is being called the largest workplace
raid in recent history. The business, Fresh Mark, a member of ICE’s
voluntary ICE Mutual Agreement between Government and
Employers (IMAGE) Program, has reportedly been under investigation
for more than a year.


Read more

July 2018

Disclaimer: All information presented is for information purposes only and is not intended to provide professional or legal advice regarding actions to take in any situation. Nationwide Screening Services makes no representations for any products or services that are mentioned and accepts no responsibility for any actions or consequences taken without the guidance of a licensed attorney or professional consultant


We’d like to hear from you! Please email us at info@nsshire.com

June 2018

Message from the Editor:

Welcome to another edition of ‘Inside Background Screening’ our new newsletter. Our goal is to bring to you cutting edge news and information about what is happening in the background screening world to help keep you informed and to position you to make the best possible hiring decisions.

We hope you enjoy ‘Inside Background Screening’ and that you will share your interest and thoughts with us.

Lorenzo

Lorenzo Pugliano

CEO
Lpugliano@nsshire.com

EMPLOYMENT SCREENING
June 2018


Workers with Criminal Records

A new study commissioned by the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) and the Charles Koch Institute (CKI) revealed that about two-thirds of human resource professionals are open to hiring or have hired applicants with criminal histories. Employers who choose to hire those with criminal records should consider the real and perceived risks and should communicate their policies and practices to their employees. Noteworthy findings include: More than 80 percent of managers and two-thirds of HR professionals feel that those with records bring value to the company; the majority of workers say they are willing to work with individuals with criminal records; and a demonstrated consistent work history often overrides an employee’s past criminal history.

Read
more


Vermont Enacts Salary History Inquiry Law

Vermont has joined several other states that have enacted a law to prohibit employers from inquiring about, seeking or requiring salary history information from prospective employees. Taking effect July 1, employers and their agents will be prohibited from inquiring about or seeking information regarding current or past compensation, requiring that current or past compensation satisfy minimum or maximum criteria, and determining whether to interview based on current or past compensation. Voluntary disclosure, however, is an acceptable reason for an employer to seek confirmation.

Read
more


Connecticut Enacts Salary History Inquiry Law

A bill has been signed into law by Connecticut Governor Dannel Malloy that will restrict employees from inquiring about applicants’ salary history during the hiring process. The law, which will take effect Jan. 1, 2019, will permit employers to inquire about “other elements of a prospective employee’s compensation structure, as long as such employer does not inquire about the value of the elements of such compensation structure.” In addition, the law doesn’t apply to any actions taken by an employer or its agent pursuant to any federal or state law that authorizes the disclosure or verification of salary history for employment purposes.

Read
more

June 2018
LEGAL ISSUES
June 2018


Portion of Philadelphia Salary History Ban Ruled Unconstitutional

Philadelphia Federal Judge Mitchell S. Goldberg recently held that the portion of the city’s salary history ordinance that prohibits an employer from inquiring about a prospective employee’s wage history is unconstitutional because it violates the First Amendment’s free speech clause. The judge also held that the portion of the law prohibiting employers from relying on wage history to determine a salary did not implicate constitutional concerns. In January 2017, Philadelphia became the first city to adopt a “salary history” ban, which prevent employers from asking about wage history or requiring prospective employers to disclose wage history as a condition of employment.

Read
more


Another Change to Massachusetts Ban-The-Box Law

Massachusetts employers soon will no longer be permitted to inquire about convictions and sealed or expunged records for employment purposes. About 10 years ago, the state became the second to enact a “ban-the-box” law and on Oct. 13, a criminal justice reform bill, signed by Governor Charlie Baker, reduces the five-year period for inquiring about misdemeanors to three years, among other amendments. In addition to being prohibited from asking about sealed records, employers may not ask about a criminal record that has been expunged.

Read
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Bank Moves to Dismiss Background Screening Class Action Complaint Based on Federal Preemption Argument

In March, PNC Financial Services Group, Inc., moved to dismiss a class action complaint filed by Damian McCoy in the Western District of Pennsylvania. The individual sued the business after his conditional employment offer was revoked when a 2011 arrest was discovered. McCoy claims that, because the felony and misdemeanor charges had been withdraw, the revocation of his employment offer violates Pennsylvania’s Criminal History Record Information Act (CHRIA). The law prohibits employers from considering criminal history record information that doesn’t rise to the level of conviction. PNC argued that the federal banking law, Federal Deposit Insurance Act (FDIA), imposes different and conflicting requirements on federally-insured banks.

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Former Employees Hit Naples Hotel Group with FCRA Class Action Over Background Checks

A putative Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) class action, filed Feb. 13 in the Ninth Judicial Circuit Court in Orange County, Fla., has been removed by Naples Hotel Group LLC. The lawsuit alleges that Naples “improperly obtained and used consumer reports about prospective and existing employees without complying with the FCRA’s disclosure and authorization requirements.” Lead plaintiffs Shawana Sanders and Kenyatta Williams, former employees of the business, say the company’s “extraneous provisions” distracted them from understanding the import of the disclosure.

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Background Screening Company Defeats FCRA Claim with Standing and Effective Procedures Defenses

An Ohio plaintiff’s claim under the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) was thrown away because he couldn’t show that the report caused him an injury or that the background screening company failed to maintain reasonable procedures to ensure accuracy. Thomas Black filed the class action suit against General Information Solutions (GIS) after the company performed a background check. The vendor who was assigned the task reported a robbery charge that did not result in a conviction, which had been dismissed. The report was thrown away after the plaintiff submitted a dispute, but he failed to return the requested references and was no longer considered. The Court determined Black suffered no harm as the result of GIS’ alleged violation of the FCRA.

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Ohio Court Throws Out FCRA Case Based on Initial Grade

Plaintiff Deloris Reid disclosed that she had been convicted of a misdemeanor assault a year before applying with grocery retailer Kroger. She filed a putative class action suit in the Southern District of Ohio under the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) after General Information Solutions, Inc. (GIS) discovered a separate felony conviction during her background check. Reid disputed the report and GIS later determined that the charged had been reduced to a misdemeanor. Reid still was ineligible for hire based on the temporal proximity of her misdemeanor assault conviction. The Court rejected her resulting argument that Kroger violated the FCRA by taking an adverse action without providing her with a copy of her initial background check and description of her FCRA rights, finding that the grade was only preliminary.

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June 2018
DRUG SCREENING
June 2018

Workforce Drug Positivity at Highest Rate in a Decade, Finds Analysis of More than 10 Million Drug Test Results

The 30th year of the Drug-Free Workplace Act and the Quest Diagnostics Drug Testing Index (DTI) continues to demonstrate that drug positivity rates are on the rise. For instance, the positivity rate for cocaine has increased for the fifth year in a row in the general United States workforce, while methamphetamine use has skyrocketed in the Midwest and South regions. Important to note was the decline in positivity rates for opiates in the general U.S. workforce in urine drug testing. The Centers for Disease Control has noted that the overall national opioid prescribing rate in 2017 fell to the lowest in 10 years. It should come as no surprise that marijuana positivity continued to increase in the general workforce due to the new legalization statues.

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Drug Using Employee? Better Conduct An “Individualized Assessment” Before You Fire!

A one-size-fits-all approach to employee termination as the result of positive drug tests simply isn’t realistic. A recent lawsuit was settled in South Carolina for $5,000, after the termination of a teacher, who disclosed information regarding his prior opiate addiction and participation in a supervised medication-assisted treatment program. The employer also must face a consent decree, ordered by the Court, which will last five years and requires the business to amend its written drug use policy, create an Americans With Disabilities Act-compliant procedure, provide annual training and report to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) the identities of all applicants who were denied employment and those who were terminated due to current or past alcohol, drug or substance use.

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2018 Worksite Enforcement Investigations Already Double 2017 Total

The U.S. Immigration & Customs Enforcement (ICE) has reportedly doubled the number of audits that it conducted during the entire 2017 fiscal year. In May, the agency’s Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) unit reported opening 3,510 worksite investigations in the current fiscal year, which includes 2,282 employer I-9 audits, 594 criminal and 619 administrative worksite-related arrests. Those in violation of the law could face both criminal and civil penalties, which last year resulted in $97.6 million in judicial forfeitures, fines and restitution, and $7.8 million in civil fines.


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June 2018
IMMIGRATION & eVERIFY ISSUES
June 2018

2018 Worksite Enforcement Investigations Already Double 2017 Total

The U.S. Immigration & Customs Enforcement (ICE) has reportedly doubled the number of audits that it conducted during the entire 2017 fiscal year. In May, the agency’s Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) unit reported opening 3,510 worksite investigations in the current fiscal year, which includes 2,282 employer I-9 audits, 594 criminal and 619 administrative worksite-related arrests. Those in violation of the law could face both criminal and civil penalties, which last year resulted in $97.6 million in judicial forfeitures, fines and restitution, and $7.8 million in civil fines.


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June 2018

Disclaimer: All information presented is for information purposes only and is not intended to provide professional or legal advice regarding actions to take in any situation. Nationwide Screening Services makes no representations for any products or services that are mentioned and accepts no responsibility for any actions or consequences taken without the guidance of a licensed attorney or professional consultant


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