6 Growing Employment Background Check Trends for 2018
17 Feb 2018
With the economy booming, a new president, an evolving employment landscape, and record-low unemployment rates across the country, HR professionals had their hands full with recruiting efforts in 2017. Background screening will continue to be a critical component of the hiring process, but look to 2018 for a few new trends to emerge. This year it’s important to stay up to date on current and developing issues so you are knowledgeable about employment background checks and remain FCRA compliant. Be smart and keep these topics top of mind.
The Growing Gig Economy
The American workforce is experiencing a transformation. The gig economy is growing, and HR needs to adapt to keep up with it. The gig economy is defined as a labor market characterized by the prevalence of short-term contracts or freelance work as opposed to permanent jobs. Some HR professionals are opting to skip employment background checks for these types of contingent workers since they aren’t permanent hires. This can be a big mistake that puts the entire organization at risk. You may have to adjust your hiring procedures to accommodate short-term employees and large volumes of gig workers, but it’s a proactive measure that’s worth the effort.
Ban the Box
Ban-the-box legislation is growing in cities and states throughout the country. This refers to laws that make it illegal to include a checkbox on an initial application that inquires about criminal history. The reason for this movement is to ensure candidates have a fair chance at employment, as a checkbox can cause unnecessary discrimination early on in the hiring process. The Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) offers a great resource for ban-the-box laws by state or municipality. It’s important to be aware of current laws as well as any being considered by local governments regarding how and when during the interview process you can inquire about criminal history, including when to run an employment background check.
Prescription Drug Testing
In October 2017,President Trump directed the Department of Health and Human Services to declare theopioid crisisa public health emergency. These drugs have become an epidemic in the United States, affecting people of every race and socioeconomic background. For HR, expect to put new focus on drug testing in 2018 and make it a part of your employment screening process, if it isn’t already. Reach out to your screening provider to learn what drugs are being screened and if adjustments need to be made to flag synthetic and semi-synthetic opiates like oxycodone.
Immigration and I-9 Forms
Another focus of President Trump has been immigration. To avoid hiring risks, you must always properly fill outForm I-9. Many HR pros opt to use E-Verify, and this may become mandatory in the future. Congress has proposed the Legal Workforce Actto require mandatory E-Verify use by every employer in the U.S. to cut down on illegal hiring practices. Stay tuned on the development of this legislation and be sure to collect the proper documentation forFormI-9 for each individual you hire within three days of their start date. As of now, all I-9 forms must be kept for at least three years after the employee’s hire date or one year after termination, whichever is later.
You probably have a set screening process for new hires. In 2018 and beyond, more companies will adopt continual screening policies. This means organizations may screen during the prehire process as well as afterward. Companies might require mandatory screening at certain employment milestones (such as a 2-year anniversary or any time during a promotion). Companies might also list specific scenarios that would trigger a rescreen (such as after a certain number of unexcused absences). If you decide to adopt continual screening policies, be aware of EEOC regulations to ensure you aren’t being discriminatory. Remember, you must always get permission to run a background check, including rescreens of current employees, to be FCRA compliant (with very few exceptions such as suspicion of misconduct).
Credential and Salary Verification
As it becomes easier to forge educational and certification documents, it will become increasingly important to make credential verification part of your employment background check. However, one aspect of the verification process you may have to cut is inquiring about salary history, whether you do so by asking the candidate or previous employers. What an employee made in the past holds no weight on what you should offer them, proponents of the laws believe. New York City recently joined states like California, Delaware, and Massachusetts that already have laws banning salary history questions. The goal of these laws is to break the cycle of pay inequity between genders and races. As pay equity receives growing attention, look to laws like these to spread to other cities and states.