Advocacy Day: NAPBS Heads to the Hill [Video]

Jennifer Gladstone

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AdvocacyDayImage.jpgThe Screening News Network went to Capitol Hill for an inside look at the annual National Association of Professional Background Screeners (NAPBS) Advocacy Day. Find out what they do and why.

 Jennifer Gladstone // Screening News Network

Welcome to Washington D.C! NAPBS is here on the Hill to lobby -- not just for the background screening industry, but for employers and anyone else who understands what background screening can provide.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

 

Related: The Definitive Guide to Pre-Employment Background Screening

 

More than 70 members took part in the event, making 2016’s Advocacy Day the biggest yet.  

 

Bob Capwell // Employment Background Investigations 

You get a chance to talk to your congressman, your senator, kind of weigh in on what’s going on on the hill.

We are here to advocate on behalf of our employers and our clients. We want to make sure they can hire safe employees.

 

Many have been here before, and they took away one very important lesson: a short visit can have a huge impact.  

 

Bruce Berg // Berg Consulting Group

One year I was in a group that went up to see the new Consumer Finance Protection Board, and they were just beginning their whole process -- they were just moving into their building. So we got to talk to them about the industry and what we do and how professional we are, and why if they have an issue that relates to our industry, they should come and talk to NAPBS to get the straight scoop, or at least our perspective on it.

 

Our reception is usually very warm. Senators and Representatives are very aware of the security background screening provides and they are receptive to ideas that help keep workplaces safe. But sometimes, the NAPBS mission runs directly counter a lawmaker’s pet project.

 

Camille Gamble // Verifed Persons Inc

When I did advocacy day a couple of years ago we were able to get in front of my congressman, who is in my district, who had written a bill, that if it had passed, would have prevented credit checks for employment.

I was a constituent, so he agreed to meet with us because of me, so I think that helped.

 

Sometimes NAPBS members ask lawmakers to change just a word or two of text within a bill to avoid unintended consequences. Camille’s Congressman, Steve Cohen of Tennessee, had just introduced a bill to outlaw the use of credit checks for employment purposes. The bill specifically referred to the use of “Credit Scores”- which was a red flag for his constituent.

 

Camille Gamble // Verified Persons Inc

Even the wording, I believe, in the bill, said "Credit Score," which that right there alone lets you know that that is not what we do. There is no credit score in an employment credit report, so just educating him on that was important.

He didn’t really side with us, but he heard our side of the story, which is better than nothing.

 

This year’s attendees had three main points they wanted to discuss.

First, they made sure lawmakers were aware of EEOC hiring guidance that is in direct conflict with some state employment laws that prohibit hiring someone convicted of a crime. There is legislation pending that would protect employers from facing disparate impact lawsuits from the government in these situations, and the groups asked each lawmaker to support the bills.

The groups also explained to lawmakers why legislation that requires pre-employment background checks should not limit the searches to just the FBI Fingerprint Database, but should also include a provision to allow Consumer Reporting Agencies to conduct the check through other channels.

 

Bruce Berg // Berg Consulting Group

State legislators and Federal legislators think that that is the gold standard -- the fingerprint check and we have to explain to them that it is a standard, but it’s not the gold standard. You need to use a professional background screener to do all this work.

 

Related Whitepaper: Can you Trust the FBI Criminal Records Database? 

 

Bob Capwell // Employment Background Investigations

So we are really educating them saying if there is a bill out there that says, hey, do an FBI database search and that’s the only thing in the bill -- that’s just not right, it’s not comprehensive -- it’s going to leave Americans at risk.

 

The third discussion point was the Fair Chance Act -- essentially a national Ban the Box law. The NAPBS position is that background screeners are in favor of a uniform system to replace the many different state solutions, as long as it doesn’t require the employer to wait until after they’ve made a job offer before being allowed to do a background check.

 

Related: How Long Does a Good Background Check Take? 

 

Bob Capwell // Employment Background Investigations

It’s too early in the application process. We should be able to ask that question, but certainly we don’t want to discriminate against applicants.

It’s important that everybody has an opportunity -- a fair opportunity -- to get a job, but we need to understand that there are some risks around that. So not every job is right for every individual.  

 

We might not see concrete changes anytime soon, but the hope is, lawmakers will have a different perspective when future legislation crosses their desks.

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Jennifer Gladstone

Posted By: Jennifer Gladstone

Jennifer Gladstone is a news anchor and journalist with more than 20 years of experience in front of the camera. She's worked in several markets, large and small, and has performed nearly every task needed in a newsroom. As EBI’s Screening News Editor, she keeps EBI’s customers and blog subscribers up to date on the latest screening news and legislative alerts affecting companies of all sizes.

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