Business of all sizes are struggling with how to respond to COVID-19. Nearly every aspect of business operation is being affected by this pandemic. The fields of human resources and talent acquisition are experiencing chaotic changes. Some businesses have been forced to halt hiring completely, while others are ramping up recruiting to meet increased demands.
Despite where they stand in this challenging business environment, the one thing they have in common is questions about how to handle the background check process.
Through it all, EBI has remained 100% operational with a fully remote workforce and no impact on our ability to service our clients and candidates. All our clients – whether long time or new – continue to receive the background check, drug testing, verifications, and Form I-9 services they need. EBI continues to deliver the fast and accurate results we’re known for.
Additionally, our US based Customer Care team remains fully staffed. Therefore, there is no negative impact on our operations or service caused by this pandemic. We can also assure our clients we will not be affected by overseas governmental decisions and regulations regarding coronavirus response.
Concerned clients are working daily with EBI’s highly skilled Client Care Advocates to have their most pressing questions answered swiftly and accurately. “Clients are calling about everything,” says Jamel Smith, Customer Care Supervisor at EBI. “The ability to access current criminal records, perform education verifications, and how to fill out Form I-9s seem to the most pressing issues for employers.”
Here are some of the most common questions we’re helping clients resolve during this challenging time.
EBI Answer: Even though the face of hiring seems to be changing rapidly during this crisis, one thing that isn’t changing is the federal requirement to fill out and maintain Form I-9s for all new hires. But there are a few changes to that requirement, as well as E-Verify, that will make things a bit easier.
Form I-9 – Normally, an employer is required to physically inspect documents presented by a new hire in order to fill out section two of the Form I-9. Since most businesses are implementing a remote workforce, the government is suspending the “in person” requirement. For the next 60 days, or until the end of the national emergency, employers may inspect the documents over a video chat app like Zoom or Skype. As soon as the crisis is over, employers will be required to go back and inspect all those documents in person.
E-Verify – Industries mandated to use E-Verify in addition to their Form I-9s are still required to create a case for each new hire within the first three business days. If they are delayed because of the coronavirus, there is a dropdown menu that allows you to choose “COVID-19” as the reason for the delay.
The Social Security Administration offices are closed to the public. This is an issue for employers who receive Tentative Nonconfirmations (TNCs). Normally employers have 8 working days. That is suspended until the end of the crisis. If you have a new hire who is unable to get a Social Security Number because of the SSA closures, you will have to suspend the creation of the E-Verify case until they are able to get a SSN.
EBI Answer: Access to the coronavirus swab test in the United States is still limited. At this time, most laboratories and drug screening vendors are not authorized to collect specimens or perform the test themselves. One of our major vendors, LabCorp, has supplied us with this message:
“Samples must be collected and test must be ordered by a physician or authorized healthcare provider and sent to LabCorp; LabCorp personnel are not able to collect the specimens in patient service centers.”
Therefore, EBI is not currently able to offer this as a testing option in our clients’ packages, but we are actively pursuing a long-term solution to implement when appropriate.
“We believe testing will be critical to ensure healthy workplaces moving forward,” says Rebecca Roberts, Vice President and General Manager of Occupational Health Services Group at EBI.
We will certainly keep our clients informed as this situation evolves.
EBI Answer: Absolutely. While EBI remains 100% operational and able to fulfill all background check and drug testing requirements for any new candidates or employees who undergo continuous screening, we understand some clients may need to pause their hiring pipeline. Rest assured, even if we have begun screening some of your candidates, we can pause your program and resume it whenever you’re ready.
This is an especially helpful service to our clients who rely on international operations and travel. This pandemic is global and we understand the virus doesn’t respect boundaries. EBI knows each country is responding to COVID-19 with measures it feels best protect its citizens. As such, we will be flexible with our clients who have international connections and help them re-implement their screening procedures accordingly.
As always, we will communicate all pertinent updates as this pandemic evolves. Updates on court closures or other delays will continue to be available on our client dashboard. We will also be communicating important information via email, social media, and the EBI Screening News Network.
EBI is committed to doing everything we can to avoid any disruption to the services we provide and the health and safety of the community. If you have any questions at all, please feel free to contact our Customer Care Support Team at 1.800.324.7700.
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.