Updating You On Recent Changes In Background Screening Legislation

Striving to provide accurate, timely, and helpful information for your individualized employment screening needs.

Court Allows Class Action Suit against Walmart for Background Check Violations

A California court has certify that five million Walmart applicants may bring a lawsuit against Walmart for violating the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA).  The Plaintiffs allege that Walmart violated federal and state law by not properly acquiring consent by the applicant to conduct the background check, and providing proper federal and legal notices and…

California Pre-Adverse Action Letters Job Hiring Requirements

New CA Law Regarding Pre-Adverse Action Letters When an employer plans to take adverse action based on information provided in a background check, they must engage in the pre-adverse action process. This means that the employer must send a copy of the background screening report and FCRA “Summary of Rights” to the applicant, allow them…

Stanford University Sued for Improper Disclosure Forms

Stanford University Sued for Improper Disclosure Forms Employers are still being held liable for violating the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA). When it came down to “providing a clear and conspicuous disclosure in writing in a standalone document before the report has been pulled that a consumer report may be obtained for employment purposes; and…

California Upholds Employers’ Right to Use Credit Reports for Employment Decisions

Employers in the State of California are allowed to use credit reports in making employment-related decisions. A failed bill would have halted employers from being allowed to utilize credit reports, with only two exceptions: When the use is “substantially job-related”, meaning that the position being sought would give the applicant direct access to cash, assets,…

Amendment to the City & County of San Francisco Fair Chance Ordinance

Amendment to the City & County of San Francisco Fair Chance Ordinance The San Francisco Board of Supervisors passed an amendment to the city and county Fair Chance Ordinance (FCO) in April 2018. The official law took effect on October 1, 2018. The new amendment broadened the scope of the ordinance to cover all employers…

Duty of Employers When Rejecting Candidates Due to Background Screening Results

Duty of Employers When Rejecting Candidates Due to Background Screening Results When employers elect to utilize results of an employment background check in making a hiring decision, they must follow federal law to ensure they are not violating consumer protection rights. This is especially important when rejecting candidates due to background screening results. The Fair Credit…

TSA Pushes for Removal of Passenger Security Airport Checkpoints

TSA Considers Removing Security Checkpoints At Small Airports The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) is discussing the possibility of the removal of passenger security checkpoints at over 150 small to medium-sized airports across the United States. Due to the terrorist attacks that occurred on September 11, 2001, TSA’s presence has been felt in every airport nationwide.…

Hawaii SB 2351: Law Protecting Compensation History

Hawaii SB 2351: Law Protecting Compensation History The 50th state in the union has passed a law prohibiting employers from inquiring about applicants’ previous wages earned. On Thursday, July 5, 2018, Hawaii Governor David Y. Ige signed into law Senate Bill 2351, which generally prohibits Hawaii employers from asking applicants about their compensation history. This…

Massachusetts Attorney General Fines Employers for Ban-the-Box Violations

Massachusetts Attorney General Fines Employers for Ban-the-Box Violations Attorney General Maura Healey is now enforcing the state of Massachusetts’ “Ban-the-Box” law, which prohibits employers in the state from inquiring about applicants’ previous criminal convictions on the employment application. The investigation of Ban-the-Box violations is aimed at more than 70 businesses from the Cambridge and Boston…

Inquiries About Previous Wages Banned in Connecticut

Connecticut Employers Cannot Make Inquiries About Previous Wages As the “Ban the Box” laws spread like “wild fire,” so do the trends for employers no longer being allowed to ask about or use previous wages earned when compensating new hires. As a part of the “Equal Pay for Equal Work” movement, Connecticut employers may no…

Target Corporation Successful in Defending Class Action FCRA Lawsuit

Target Corporation Successful in Defending Class Action FCRA Lawsuit In 2015, a job applicant challenged Target Corporation’s disclosure form and filed a putative class action FCRA lawsuit known as Just v. Target Corporation, Case No. 15-cv-04117. This case claimed that Target Corporation’s addition of certain statements in their disclosure and authorization form are not factually related…

HB 1298 Fair Chance Act Passed in Washington

HB 1298 Fair Chance Act Passed in Washington The trend is now complete on the West Coast with Washington joining both California and Oregon with implementing a statewide “ban the box” statute on behalf of the Fair Chance Act. On March 13, 2018, Governor Jay Inslee signed into law the Fair Chance Act for the…

Recreational Marijuana Laws for Maine Affect Employers

Maine Implementing Recreational Marijuana Laws On February 01, 2018, Maine became the first jurisdiction in the nation to implement protections for employees from adverse employment action based on their use of marijuana. Voters approved the recreational marijuana laws (IB 2015, c. 5, “An Act to Legalize Marijuana”) on November 08, 2016. This is scheduled to…

Ban the Box Laws for Employment Applications Adopted in Virginia

Ban the Box Laws Finally Adopted by Virginia Virginia has recently been added to the list of states who have adopted ban the box laws on state employment applications. On January 19, 2018, the Virginia Senate voted 23 to 16 to prohibit the State from asking on employment applications about previous criminal arrests and/or convictions.…

Department of Transportation (DoT) Amends Drug Testing Requirements

The Department of Transportation (DoT) has approved its final rule on amending its current employee drug testing program for DoT-regulated employers. The new rule issued on Monday, January 23, 2017 will include certain semi-synthetic opioids to its drug testing panel, due to a national epidemic of opiate abuse. This new rule follows the recently revised…

Disclosure and Authorization Forms Do Not Need Release of Liability

Disclosure and Authorization Forms Do Not Need Release of Liability The 9th Circuit Court of Appeals’ ruling on Friday, January 20, 2017 opened the flood gates for litigation brought against employers for non-compliant disclosure and authorization forms. Syed v. M-I, LLC is the case that became the model for plaintiffs’ attorneys to use when alleging…

Texas Challenges EEOC Criminal Background Check Guidance

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit dealt the EEOC a major blow in regards to their 2012 “Enforcement Guidance on the Consideration of Arrest and Conviction Records in Employment under Title VII,” otherwise known as their criminal background check guidance. On June 27, 2016, the court remanded back to the district court…

Massachusetts Court Allows Woman to Sue Employer for Marijuana Use

A major precedent has been set by the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court. On Monday, July 17, 2017, the court ruled that a woman who had been terminated due to testing positive for marijuana (which was prescribed to her) can sue her former employer for handicap discrimination. The court rejected the former employer’s claim that she…

Janitorial Service Held Liable For Not Hiring African-American Applicants

A large janitorial service, Diversified Maintenance Systems, LLC, has recently been hit with a class action lawsuit brought on by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) for refusing to hire African-American candidates and reprimanding opposing employees. The EEOC alleges that Diversified Maintenance Systems, LLC subjected their existing African-American employees to racial slurs and other discriminatory…

Top 5 Background Screening Trends in the 1st QT of 2017

1. Ban the box is spreading like wild fire! Fair Chance Hiring laws have been passed in almost every single state from the east coast to the west coast. Employers really need to grasp the entire scope of these laws: When can an employer inquire about previous criminal activity?   Are the proper disclosure and…

Drug Screening State Laws that Could Pose Issues for Nationwide Companies

Multi-state employers that implement a drug screening program must be aware of state laws regulating the types of testing that are required, when employers can test, and what they can test for. Below are certain state compliance laws that employers must adhere to: 7 states specifically permit hair testing (FL, LA, MD, NV, NC, OK,…

Los Angeles Passes Ban-the-Box Ordinance

On December 19th Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti signed into law Assembly Bill 218. The new bill titled Los Angeles Fair Chance Initiative for Hiring will prohibit employers in Los Angeles from inquiring about previous criminal activity until a conditional job offer has been made. This means that employers may no longer ask on an…

Background Checks for Drivers of Transportation Network Companies

Background Checks for Drivers of Transportation Network Companies Governor Jerry Brown approved Assembly Bill 1289 on September 28, 2016 and confirmed that it would add new laws to the Public Utilities Code to further regulate Transportation Network Companies. The new California law, AB 1289 that takes effect Sunday, January 1, 2017 will require criminal background checks for drivers…

Employers in Massachusetts May No Longer Inquire About Previous Salary History During an Interview

Employers in Massachusetts may no longer inquire about previous salary history during an interview. The pay equity law requires commonwealth employers to compensate men and women equally based on comparable work. The law also prohibits employers from asking job applicants about their salary history as part of the screening process. Lt. Governor Karyn Polito says…

SEPTA Willfully Violated the Fair Credit Reporting Act

New Federal lawsuit alleges that Southeastern Pennsylvania Authority Transit Authority (SEPTA) willfully violated the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) and state law by utilizing criminal records that exceed the 7 year reporting period set forth in the FCRA. The class action suit levied against the nation’s sixth largest public transportation system claims that SEPTA rejected…

Philadelphia Amends “Ban the Box” Law

Philadelphia Amends Ban-the-Box Law Philadelphia was one of the first cities to adopt the ban-the-box law back in 2012 (Fair Criminal Records Screening Standards), which affected employers with 10 or more employees. The law specifically stated that employers may conduct a criminal background check after the first initial interview, and any time before that would…

House and Senate Pass Legislation Clarifying Red Flags Rule

Washington, DC – The House of Representative’s passed the Red Flag Program Clarification Act of 2010 to clarify a burdensome regulation by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) which would have required small businesses to undertake costly measures to prevent identity theft. It passed the Senate by Unanimous Consent on November 30, 2010 and is now…

Child Safety Pilot Program

On December 30, 2010 President Obama extended the Child Safety Pilot Program. This program allows organizations that work with children to request fingerprint background checks for all potential volunteers. The screening is performed by utilizing the FBI’s nationwide fingerprint database. According to Adam B Schiff (Democrat-California) who has sponsored the bill, more than 90,000 background…

Diploma Mills Legislation

Diploma Mills Legislation The State of Idaho has approved a bill to make it easier for the Idaho Board of Education to identify fraudulent education providers, otherwise known as “diploma mills”. The bill helps the Idaho Board of Education issue cease-and-desist orders against companies violating the legislation. A degree based purely on one’s life experience…

Georgia Passes Illegal Immigration Reform and Enforcement Act

On May 13, 2011, Georgia passed the Illegal Immigration Reform and Enforcement Act which now requires private employers to first register and use the Federal government’s E-Verify system before issuing or renewing business licenses or occupational tax certificates. E-Verify is a program managed by the Department of Homeland Security in conjunction with the Social Security…

Proposed Background Checks for D.C. Applicants

Rep. Darrell Issa (Republican – California) introduced a bill on Monday that would institute background checks for Washington D.C. applicants. Due to the increase in “outrageous abuses” in local D.C. government, Rep. Issa, who also chairs the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, would like to follow the model used at the federal level. The…

Fair Employment Opportunity Act of 2011

H.R. 2501: Fair Employment Opportunity Act of 2011 A new bill prohibiting employers from discriminating against an individual based on a history of unemployment has been introduced to the House of Representatives. The Fair Employment Opportunity Act of 2011 states that it shall be an unlawful practice for an employer to: Refuse to consider for…

California Assembly Bill 22

Effective January 1, 2012, California will be the seventh state to pass law limiting employers from using credit reports for employment purposes. Assembly Bill 22 states that employers may request credit reports only if the applicant is being considered for one of the following: A managerial position A position in the state Department of Justice…

Employment Acceleration Act

California Governor Jerry Brown has signed into law Senate Bill 1236, known as the Employment Acceleration Act of 2011. This bill will prohibit the state, or a city, county, or special district, from requiring an employer—other than one of those government entities mentioned—to use an electronic employment verification system (a federal system that allows employers…

Internet Dating Safety Act HB 4083

Illinois is considering a new law that would require online dating sites to clearly and conspicuously disclose to its users that they conduct criminal background checks on all users. The bill was introduced by Michelle Mussman (Democrat – Schaumburg) and would also require online dating services to provide a safety awareness notification to all members…

Maryland Close to Passing Law Prohibiting Employers from asking for Facebook Login Information

Maryland will likely become the first state in the U.S. to ban employers from asking job applicants for their login information to their social media accounts, including Facebook profiles. Governor Martin O’Malley (Democrat) is expected to sign the new legislation that was also supported by the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU). The legislation is opposed…

Vermont Implements Law Restricting Credit Reports

Vermont is now the eighth U.S. state to implement a law restricting employers from using applicant credit reports for employment purposes. Senate Bill 95, which will take effect July 1, 2012, only exempts Vermont employers from the new provisions if one or more of the following conditions are applicable: The information is required by state…

California Bill would Assist Felons in Getting Employment

  Legislators in the State of California are considering three new bills that would make it easier for convicted criminals to gain employment. The first proposed bill would allow former prisoners to request having their criminal records expunged once they have completed their sentences. The second proposed bill would follow the “ban the box” legislation…

New Jersey School Bus Safety and Child Protection Act

This is a follow up to a blog I posted on October 27, 2011 entitled “School Bus Safety Laws to Tighten in New Jersey”. School districts throughout the State of New Jersey may soon require volunteers to be screened for criminal records before clearing them to work with children. The pending bill, tentatively named the…

New Law Requiring Veterinarians to be Screened

A new California law will go into effect on January 1, 2013 that requires veterinary associations to screen potential members for any drug and or alcohol felony convictions. AB1839/Business & Professions Code 4836.1 specifically states that: Access to controlled substances by veterinary assistants under this section is limited to persons who have undergone a background…

HR 2865 Fairness Accuracy in Employment Background Checks of 2013

A new bill has been introduced that would provide safeguards to ensure accurate record information is utilized when accessing the Federal Bureau of Investigation criminal record system. The law would require Attorney Generals to promptly correct any inaccurate information found on the FBI criminal record system or delete incomplete records (incomplete records would be cases…

California SB 530 and AB 218

California SB 530 California SB 530 was introduced by Assemblyman Roger Dickinson and would prohibit state and local government from requiring job applicants to disclose previous criminal history until later in the hiring process. This law follows a nationwide trend of other states and cities who have adopted similar legislation known as “Ban the Box”,…

EEOC & FTC Provide Tips On Backgrounds

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) and the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) recently provided tips on the use of employment background checks. Earlier this month both agencies co-published two documents explaining how the agencies respective laws apply to background checks conducted for employment purposes. One document is intended for employers and the other is for…

Former Background Investigator Charged with Falsifying Reports

A former background investigator employed by United States Investigations Services (USIS) has pled guilty to a charge relating to his falsification of work on background investigations of federal contractors and employees. Brian T. Rapier worked on a contract for the U.S. Office of Personnel Management (OPM) between June 2009 and April 2010. It’s reported that…

EEOC Receives Criticism from GOP

Republicans on a House Education and Workforce subcommittee criticized the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) for the EEOC’s relentless attack on employers they feel are using background checks to discriminate against job applicants. At an oversight hearing on June 10, panel chairman Rep. Tim Walberg (R-Mich.) said that the EEOC’s guidance on employers’ use of…

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