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.
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Jury Awards Nearly $70.6 Million in Yacht Rape Case
A stewardess on board the Endless Summer yacht, docked at Universal Marine Center in Fort Lauderdale in 2015, was awarded nearly $70.6 million in damages after she sued the yacht’s owner following an incident involving the yacht’s deckhand. Rafael Dowgwillowicz-Nowicki was arrested and charged with four counts of sexual battery after the woman reported he entered her cabin drunk and forced her to have sex with him, threatening to kill her if she did not go along with it. The lawsuit alleged that the yacht’s owner failed to provide proper security for the victim.
Salary History Question Off Limits on Job Applications: What
Should Employers Do to Stay Compliant?
California recently joined a growing number of cities and states to pass a law that bans salary history questions. Prompted by concerns about gender- and race-based wage discrimination, the law is designed to prevent employers from using past compensation as a basis for current salary and benefits negotiations with job applicants. According to the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), 7,050 equal pay discrimination charges were filed against employers over a six-year time span. Employers can ensure compliance by removing all questions relating to salary history from job applications; revising screening and interviewing methods; and training hiring managers to ask the right questions.
Does Your State Ban the Box with Job Applications? What You Need to Know
As of September, more than 150 cities and counties and 29 states have adopted laws that limit what employers can ask job applicants. The “ban the box” legislation is designed to give individuals with a criminal history a fair chance at employment. The law, however, goes beyond requiring employers to remove a check box from application forms. It is important for businesses to become familiar with state and local laws, implement an attorney-approved, state-specific job application and modify hiring procedures to delay any criminal history inquiries until legally allowed.
EEOC’s Background Check Guidance Suffers Loss in Texas Federal Court
In early February, a federal judge enjoined the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) and U.S. Attorney General from enforcing against the State of Texas the EEOC’s 2012 Enforcement Guidance on the Consideration of Arrest and Conviction Records in Employment Decisions Under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (the “Guidance.”) The summary judgment was granted for the State of Texas on the basis of the EEOC’s issuance of the Guidance without providing notice to the public and an opportunity to comment, as required under the Administrative Procedures Act (APA). The EEOC continues to press lawsuits against employers concerning the use of criminal records for hiring and other employment purposes.
Kansas City, Missouri, Enacts Ban-the-Box-Plus Ordinance
In early February, the Kansas City, Missouri City Council passed restrictions on employers’ inquiries into, and use of, criminal record information. Effective June 9, 2018, employers may not inquire about an applicant’s criminal history until after it has been determined that the individual is otherwise qualified for the position, and only after the applicant has been interviewed for the position. Before the effective date, employers are advised to revise job applications, interview guidelines and policies; review and make necessary changes to the sequence and timing of asking about an applicant’s criminal history; and implement guidelines and documentation that comply with the new Ordinance.
Can Employers Legally Give a Bad Reference
Stephen Shore, partner at Ogletree Deakins International LLP, said that, while some employers often may shy away from giving a bad reference out of concern for a law suit, someone going to court over this situation is very rare. At the same time, he added, it is in an employer’s best interest that an outgoing employee find re-employment as soon as possible and a positive review can help secure a job. Either way, offering a truthful, objective commentary about the employee that can be defended with evidence, if necessary, is the best way to arm up against lawsuits.
This month, Maine has become the first jurisdiction in the nation to protect workers from adverse employment action based on their use of marijuana and marijuana products. The “Question 1 – An Act to Legalize Marijuana” (The Act) was approved in November by Maine voters, which would permit the recreational use, retail sale and taxation of marijuana. The anti-discrimination provisions of the Act prohibit employers from refusing to employ or otherwise penalizing any person age 21 or older based on that person’s “consuming marijuana outside … the employer’s … property.” The Act does, however, allow employers to prohibit the use and possession of marijuana and marijuana products “in the workplace” and to “discipline employees who are under the influence of marijuana in the workplace.”
The True Cost of Marijuana Legalization
CNN Money recently reported that $18 billion in tax revenue could be created if marijuana were legalized nationwide. But the benefits – both in terms of crime rates, health and revenue – are under scrutiny. Bills on the federal level have been introduced in both the House and the Senate that would not only allow marijuana-focused businesses to use the banking system, but would also remove marijuana as a Schedule I substance. Doing so may have detrimental effects on disability and worker’s compensation claims, drug testing, rent cost and litigation. Supporting the legalization of marijuana could lead to, among other ill effects, inconsistent work quality, poor concentration and lack of focus, and lowered productivity or erratic work patterns.
Opioids, Marijuana and Substance Abuse Issues Present Both Familiar and Groundbreaking Challenges to Employers
With the advent of marijuana decriminalization and expanded use for medicinal purposes, the legal and human challenges regarding the opioid crisis also are expanding. One of the most challenging issues is knowing how and when to address an employee who appears to be struggling with an addiction issue. If the employer does choose to confront the employee, who denies addiction and refuses assistance, clear expectations for behavior and performance should be made clear. Other considerations include the return of an employee after rehab is completed, struggling family members and recreational or medicinal use of marijuana. Employers can prepare by enacting an employee assistance program (EAP), reviewing benefits offerings, updating policies and involving employees in community service or educational programs around mental health wellbeing.
DATA PROTECTION & PRIVACY
6 Steps to Put HR on Track for GDPR Compliance with Employee Data
Workday’s chief privacy officer has offered six steps to help human resource teams bring employee data up to speed with the upcoming General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). The deadline for compliance is May 25, but as many as 50% of companies affected will not be fully prepared. Those affected should start by inventorying the personal data that they currently have on employees. Corralling this pertinent information into one system is critical, as is determining who will have access. Communicating with and training employees about the GDPR will help to ensure compliance and it is helpful for companies to keep in mind that compliance will not only boost productivity and performance, but increase trust with employees and customers.
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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