Screening News Weekly Wrap: February 14th, 2020

Screening News Weekly Wrap: February 14th, 2020

By Tricia O'Connor

It’s Valentine’s Day! A day for love, lollipops, and loyalty. It’s also the perfect time to remind you cheaters never win. Especially if you try to cheat your way into a job. Drug testing, employment eligibility verification, and even banning discussions about salary, are leveling the playing field for many job hopefuls. At first glance, some might argue these pre-employment safeguards are making it harder for candidates to land jobs. But if you look closely, these measures are beneficial to skilled workers and the companies who seek them.

The EBI Screening News Weekly Wrap presented by Jennifer Gladstone shows us why.

Show Me the Money

Hiring managers are banned from talking about so many things these days. First, you couldn’t talk about criminal history (aka ban the box), then social media was off the table. Now, salary bans are sweeping the nation.

Twenty states and 20 cities have salary bans in place. Massachusetts was the first to adopt this type of law in 2016. More states and local governments are expected to implement salary bans  in 2020.

Keep it Quiet

Salary ban laws forbid employers from asking job applicants about past pay. Some even forbid you from disciplining an employee who talks about their pay with coworkers.

The goal is to close the gender pay gap by not basing future pay on past compensation. Instead, employers are encouraged to create a salary based on the skills the applicant possesses. Curt Schwall, Vice President of Compliance and Regulatory Affairs at EBI, says the laws are a positive step to reduce the wage gap.

“Applicants and employees will be offered pay commensurate with their experience and job demands and not on the salary they have earned in the past, which may be influenced by external factors.”

Researchers at the University of Minnesota and MIT recently published a study examining what happens when employers don’t know an applicant’s compensation history. Researchers found that employers:

  • Considered more candidates for each job
  • Asked 13% more questions in interviews
  • Focused more on applicants’ skills

The cherry on top – candidates who received job offers got more money than expected.

Bigger Picture

At the federal level, the House passed the Paycheck Fairness Act last year. The measure would impose a federal salary ban. Critics say these laws increase business costs for employers. The bill is not expected to pass the Senate.

However, the research team behind the study says the results show a salary ban improves compensation for people with low wage history (the group the law was intended to assist) and does not inhibit a business’s ability to hire.

ICYMI: Google, Disney, and the U.S. Women’s Soccer Team are all embroiled in gender-pay discrimination lawsuits. Salary bans might help prevent these lawsuits in the future. Read more about them… and what else made our list in EBI’s Top 5 Background Screening Trends for 2020.

Defrauding Drug Tests

Drug screening is one of the most important and reliable solutions you can use as part of your pre-employment screening process. Substance abusers are more likely to be late or absent, are less productive, and are more likely to be involved in a workplace accident. They are also more likely to file a workers’ compensation claim.

In Iowa, there is a troubling trend among job applicants trying to mask their substance use. Members of the Iowa Association of Business & Industry say some job applicants are buying synthetic urine and urine additives online and are using them to circumvent drug and alcohol tests.

Cheaters Never Win

That’s prompted both the Iowa state Senate and House to explore if cheating on a drug test is a criminal offense. Both chambers are working on separate bills that would make cheating this way a misdemeanor. The punishments range from 30 days in jail to monetary fines upwards of $600.

Union representatives say this measure would punish applicants twice because the applicant is already being punished by not getting the job. They say making it a crime goes too far.

At this point, the proposed laws only apply to the private sector, but there is already talk about expanding to the public sector as well.

No matter the laws pertaining to the punishment of cheating on drug tests, the National Safety Council says employers should continue making substance screening part of their health plan. Some industries with high rates of safety sensitive positions, like transportation, already have strict drug testing policies and punishments that help keep workplaces safe.

Employment Eligibility

After a long wait, the Department of Homeland Security has released the new Form I-9. The old form – which is used to verify the identity and employment status for all new hires – expired on August 31st, 2019. Since the new form was not ready, employers were told to keep using the expired one until further notice.

The new Form I-9 simplifies some of the sections and clarifies who can act as an authorized representative on behalf of an employer. Each newly hired employee must complete and sign Section 1 of the Form I-9 no later than his or her first day of employment.

E-Verify, Explained

E-Verify is a federal program that takes the information from the Form I-9 and compares it to data held by the Social Security Administration and/or Homeland Security to confirm the new hire really is the person they are claiming to be. It is an internet-based system that is voluntary for most employers. E-Verify does not replace the Form I-9 process; it is an additional tool to help employers confirm their employees are authorized to work in the U.S.

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, something he touched on during his State of the Union address. Screening News Network previously reported Pennsylvania and Arizona both recently passed laws requiring construction companies to use E-Verify to check the employment eligibility of every new hire.

Grace Period

Employers have until April 30th to switch over to the revised form. Failing to properly utilize the Form I-9 can result in steep fines and even criminal prosecution for employers. The new form is available here.

However, EBI has heard from our clients that completing the Form I-9 can be a headache. So, we drafted The Form I-9: The Definitive Guide for HR Professionals. This guide should help clear up any confusion.

EBI is here to help with your Form I-9 questions. Submit your question to EBI’s “Ask an Expert” and we may feature it in an upcoming segment.


Ban the Box Compliance Drug Testing I-9 & E-Verify Screening News Network

About the Author

Tricia O'Connor

Tricia O'Connor

Writer. Digital marketer. Storyteller. An award-winning writer and editor, Tricia O'Connor is the Marketing Content Manager at EBI. Tricia worked as a broadcast and print journalist for nearly two decades writing and producing programming for high-profile networks like ESPN Radio, History Channel, and Hallmark Channel, as well as contributing editorial work to publications nationwide. Tricia joined the EBI marketing team in 2019 and is responsible for content strategy, development, and engagement. Tricia earned a master's degree in journalism from the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University and is a proud undergraduate alumna of Wheaton College in Massachusetts.

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