COVID-19 is forcing changes in everything, including some long-standing and pretty strict employment rules and regulations. Things are not changing dramatically, but some adjustments to heavily regulated industries were bound to happen. It’s definitely not a free for all, but some employers are getting a little leeway.
Are you affected? Read on to find out.
Fingerprinting Requirements Waived for Medical Personnel
We’ve talked before about all of the companies that are still hiring in the midst of the national crisis. It’s not just the Amazons and the InstaCarts of the world– it’s also a lot of healthcare facilities like nursing homes, adult day care, even hospice.
Most of these medical positions are regulated and require fingerprint background checks before someone can start a job. Unfortunately, in many states, the department that conducts the fingerprinting is shut down because the process requires such close, personal contact. Now, some states are temporarily waiving the fingerprint background checks for these essential personnel.
Employers still have to conduct a name-based background check. If these checks come back clean, the new hires will be allowed to work while they wait for fingerprinting to come back online. The new rules do require additional supervision for any new hire who has not been able to complete the entire background screening process.
DOT Testing Requirement Changes
Rules are also changing a bit when it comes to DOT-regulated employers. There are a lot of drug and alcohol tests that are mandated by law – but now there are just as many reasons as to why they can’t get done!
Sometimes labs are unavailable, other times employees are afraid to go to a testing site because of social distancing. The Department of Transportation has issued guidance on how employers should proceed. Things are not changing when it comes to new hires -- no clean drug test means a new hire can’t drive. BUT – random testing can be postponed. Post-accident and reasonable suspicion can also be postponed as long as there is proper documentation and the delay is absolutely unavoidable.
You can find resources for DOT regulated employers on EBI’s COVID-19 HR Resources page.
Background Screening Is Not Immune To Changes
Like every other industry, background screening is going through some changes because of the coronavirus pandemic. Closed courthouses, lab issues, quarantined employees – they will all play a role in the next few months of screening. There is no doubt you have some questions about what you can expect going forward.
On Thursday, April 9th, at 2pm EST, EBI will be hosting a short webinar. This is your chance to get your questions answered by EBI’s Vice President of Compliance & Regulatory Affairs, Curt Schwall, and attorney Larry Henry. Sign up here.