A proposed stimulus package could handcuff background screeners and employers, mandatory sexual harassment training, and why members of the military have a different kind of target on them these days. It’s all in EBI’s Screening News Weekly Wrap.
Second Stimulus Could Change FCRA
Congress is working on a bill that could potentially change how Consumer Reporting Agencies (CRAs) are allowed to report criminal history during national emergencies like the COVID-19 pandemic. The House has already passed their version of the HEROES Act, which is essentially a second round of economic stimulus, following in the footsteps of the CARES Act.
This second round of legislation could dramatically reduce the amount of information an employer can get on applicants through traditional background checks during a national crisis. If the HEROES Act passes the Senate as it is now written, in addition to giving households up to $6,000 in stimulus money, it could place a temporary muzzle on background screeners.
The HEROES Act would add language to the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) that reads, “No person may furnish any adverse item of information (except information related to a felony criminal conviction) relating to a consumer that was the result of any action or inaction that occurred during a covered period.”
Normally, under the FCRA, background screeners are allowed to furnish adverse information like criminal charges, arrests, active warrants, and misdemeanor convictions for up to seven years. The HEROES Act would only allow the reporting of felony convictions. That means employers will be losing access to pertinent information that they are legally allowed to consider during the hiring process.
Again, the changes would only be upheld during a major disaster like COVID-19. The Senate started committee discussions earlier this week. We will let you know if and when they vote.
Illinois Mandates Sexual Harassment Training
In the midst of all of the COVID-19 challenges, employers in Illinois now have to create and implement an annual sexual harassment prevention training program by the end of the year. The new training is mandated by the Illinois Workplace Transparency Act (WTA).
By the end of 2020, every employee in the state must receive the training, and they must repeat it every year.
Employers are allowed to create their own programs, as long as they meet certain minimum requirements like defining sexual harassment, explaining local and federal laws, and outlining how the employer will prevent or investigate alleged harassment. The Illinois Department of Human Rights (IDHR) released a model Sexual Harassment Prevention Training Guide to help employers.
Everyone in the workplace is required to complete the training, including interns, part-time workers, and independent contractors. Restaurants and bars are required to provide training in English and Spanish.
Failing to comply with the new law will cost employers up to $5,000 for each offense.
Military Members Targeted
Scammers have been a common topic during the pandemic, and they continue taking advantage of people. The Federal Trade Commission says it already has more than 20,300 fraud complaints relating to COVID-19. Those complaints represent nearly $16 million in losses during this calendar year alone.
If you serve – or have ever served your country – you need to keep an even closer eye on your accounts and triple check before donating money to anyone.
Research shows that military families, both active duty and retired, are twice as likely as civilians to be targeted, and they are 76 percent more likely to report that someone has tried to fraudulently access their bank accounts. They are also 22 percent more likely to report that their stolen information has been used to open a new credit card.
Veterans are also at risk for being scammed into donating to fake charities claiming to benefit military families. Fraud prevention specialists recommend checking out give.org or charitynavigator.org before making any donations.