The Big Apple gets the nation’s first “vaccine passport,” Iowa goes after cheaters, and Illinois makes it harder for employers to turn away ex-offenders. It’s all in today’s EBI Screening News Update.
Talk of a “vaccine passport” has been floating around for several weeks now and seems to be getting louder as more Americans get their COVID-19 shots. The very first one is already available in New York City.
The “Excelsior Pass” is an app that will allow New Yorkers to prove they have been vaccinated or have recently received a negative COVID-19 test. It was launched last Friday. The goal is to have venues that are hosting large gatherings, from stadiums to wedding receptions, scan people’s QR codes before letting them enter.
Governor Andrew Cuomo says this tool will help NYC reopen securely.
The European Union has already been using a similar app in the hope that travel and tourism can recover in 2021. Theirs is called the “Digital Green Certificate,” and allows people to travel and access services that are otherwise still locked down.
While travel lovers are itchy to get back out there, privacy experts have serious concerns regarding any kind of “passport.” First of all, you are dealing with medical information. Asking people about a medical test or procedure before granting access raises serious concerns. There is also the question of cybersecurity. The NYC app uses blockchain, but data breaches are real. Another concern is how a vaccine passport would offer exemptions to avoid discriminating against those who are unable to be vaccinated.
While cheating has always been morally wrong, it is now officially illegal to cheat on a drug or alcohol test in Iowa. The new law, House File 283, makes it a crime to use synthetic urine or any urine additives that can circumvent workplace safety screening.
Not only is using a substance to cheat illegal, but the bill also makes it a crime to knowingly use another person’s urine, or your own urine that was collected earlier, to defraud a test.
The new law does not address other testing methods including breath, saliva, and blood testing, but cheating on these is a lot more complicated.
The anti-cheating law covers both public and private employers. If caught the charge would be a simple misdemeanor that would carry up to 30 days in jail and a fine from $65-$625 for the first violation.
A new background screening law in Illinois limits employers’ ability to consider criminal convictions when making employment decisions.
The new bill, recently signed by Governor J.B. Pritzker, amends the Illinois Human Rights Act (IHRA), the Illinois Equal Pay Act, and the Illinois Business Corporation Act.
As with other Ban the Box legislation, employers must still carefully look at factors like how much time has passed since the conviction, the applicant’s age at the time, and rehabilitation efforts.
But under the amended law, they can only deny a job to an ex-offender if they can prove there is a “substantial relationship” between the criminal offense and the job, or the employer feels the individual poses an “unreasonable risk” to the property or safety of the workforce, customers, or members of the public.
All adverse action rules still apply. The new law took effect immediately.
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.