The New Year is fast approaching and with it brings lots of expected changes for the background screening industry. New medicinal and recreational marijuana laws will have big implications for employers and employees alike, and E-Verify will take center stage as part of President Donald Trump’s immigration reform.
This week’s EBI Screening News Weekly Wrap presented by Jennifer Gladstone sheds light on these upcoming changes, and also explores expanded efforts to help more U.S. military veterans land jobs.
New Marijuana Laws Weed Out Bad Hires
Managing pot smoking among employees just got a little easier in Illinois, thanks to a revised Recreational Cannabis Law by the state’s General Assembly.
On January 1st, 2020, adults who are over the age of 21 will be able to possess, use, and even grow cannabis legally. The initial law passed in June allowed employers to maintain and enforce drug-free workplace programs, but there was concern the Act wouldn’t protect them from legal action if they refused to hire someone – or fired a current employee - based on a positive marijuana test.
In response to the concern, the General Assembly quickly passed another bill revising the language. Now, employers have some cover if they make an employment decision based on a “good faith belief” that use of the now legal drug by an employee caused, or could cause, problems on the job.
Having an effective drug testing policy and properly documented job descriptions are two keys to an effective workplace drug program in this fast-changing legal environment, says one of our EBI compliance experts.
“As we continue to see the growing number of states legalizing medicinal and recreational marijuana around the country, it will be of the utmost importance for employers to update their company workplace policies accordingly to remain compliant for each state where they operate. In addition to updating those policies, employers should also carefully review their documented job descriptions, so jobs considered to be safety sensitive are properly documented.”
-Curt Schwall, EBI Vice President of Compliance and Regulatory Affairs
Employees in Illinois will still have some recourse if they believe adverse action decisions were made in bad faith. The move is seen as a benefit to employers as the new era of legalized marijuana moves forward.
Thank You for Your Service
EBI is a proud partner of LinkedIn Talent Hub, LinkedIn’s Applicant Tracking System. So when our colleagues at LinkedIn recently published the Veteran Opportunity Report, we couldn’t help but salute and promote their efforts to help former service members find work in the private sector.
Challenges in the workplace
The report shows there are about 22-million military veterans in the U.S., and another 200-thousand people who retire from military service every year. That creates a huge swell of talent available each year to employers. However, the problem is many hiring managers don’t understand how a veteran’s skills translate into the workplace.
That disconnect has led to a roughly 70-percent veteran underemployment rate, shows the report. This is especially troubling when you look closely at their job history and education. Veterans have on average four or more years of experience and are 160% more likely to have a graduate degree compared to a civilian applying for the same job. Veterans also stay with their employers longer and are more likely to be promoted earlier than those who have not served.
So, if we know the effect – rampant veteran underemployment -, what’s the cause? And then, what can we do about it?
One of the biggest takeaways from the LinkedIn report is employers pigeon hole veterans into roles like security, logistics, and government jobs. In most cases, hiring managers and recruiters don’t do this on purpose. The term is “unintentional funneling” and it happens for several reasons:
- HR pros assume the veteran wants to continue along the same path they held in the military
- Misconceptions military service is less relevant than corporate experience
- Veterans have a smaller civilian referral peer group (many people land their first job through word-of-mouth connections)
However, the report shows more than half of veterans want to pursue a different career field once they retire from service.
Here’s how recruiters and veterans can work together to fill this gap and find meaningful work.
Recruiters should undergo some training that broadens their knowledge of military positions and the qualities needed to fill those roles. They should also stop relying on military job titles – those titles are often filled with jargon – and instead read the job descriptions. Then, they might more easily see how the hard- or soft-skills a veteran possesses from their military job can translate into a new career path.
On the flip side, veterans need straightforward guidance on crafting resumes, answering interview questions, and understanding how to articulate the soft-skills they learned in the military. Veterans could also consider joining networking groups that expand their referral group.
ICYMI: Hanging up your uniform? EBI helps veterans transition to the civilian workplace.
A Critical Step to Protect PII
As we close out 2019 and welcome in the New Year, we’d be remiss if we didn’t remind you about revisiting your employment verification process. On January 2nd, the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services will do its annual purge of historical E-Verify records that are 10 years or older.
The USCIS expunges these records to reduce security threats associated with the retention of so much PII – or Personally Identifiable Information.
That means if you have not printed out the E-Verify case verification number for each of your Form I-9s, you need to do so before the records are deleted.
What is E-Verify, anyway?
In case you’re not familiar with E-Verify, it is a federal system used to authenticate a person’s Social Security Number and ensure they are eligible to work in the United States. E-Verify is the second step of a two-step employment verification process. Completing the Form I-9 is the first step. This form confirms a new hire is either a U.S. citizen or is in the country legally and has proof they’re allowed to work.
E-Verify will likely be a hot topic throughout 2020, as it is part of President Donald Trump’s effort to overhaul U.S. immigration law. As reported in Screening News Network, Pennsylvania and Arizona both recently passed laws requiring construction companies to use E-Verify to check the employment eligibility of every new hire.
Stay tuned to EBI for the top five HR trends you need to know for 2020! We’ll be posting that blog soon.
Need a refresher on how to download records reports in E-Verify? Click here for help.