In Part One of our Top Background Check Questions series, we dove into some background check basics, such as:
If you’re new to screening or want a refresher on background checks in general, Part One is a great place to start.
But if you’re looking for more specific information, we’re digging deeper into some of the more complex questions about background screening with Part Two below.
There are many other kinds of background checks besides criminal record searches. Generally, a certain type of check is used when the information to be provided relates to the position being filled. For example, if an employer is hiring a sales representative who will drive throughout a sales territory, then a check of that person’s driving record is appropriate. Conversely, if that same employer were hiring a receptionist who worked only in the office, a driving record check would not be appropriate because it is not relevant to the receptionist position.
In addition to criminal record searches, other types of common background checks include:
The impact of legalization and decriminalization of marijuana is complex and rapidly evolving. Marijuana (cannabis) is illegal under the US Controlled Substances Act but legal in 39 US states/territories for medicinal use and 17 US states/territories for recreational use. Employers also need to be aware of the US Americans with Disabilities Act in balancing the need for a safe, drug-free workplace with the legal use of marijuana to alleviate disability-related pain and suffering.
Not surprisingly, several cases related to the legal use of marijuana have been brought to court. In these cases, the employer’s right to enforce certain drug-free workplace policies has been challenged. Thus far results have been mixed with some courts holding firm to the illegal nature of cannabis under federal law while other courts have considered other relevant factors such as disability.
Generally, all laws and ordinances provide exceptions for certain types of positions, such as police and firefighters, healthcare workers, individuals providing care to children and vulnerable adults, and positions where drug testing is required under federal or state law.
As of April 02, 2021, the following states and territories have enacted laws legalizing medical and/or recreational marijuana use.
There is limited case law addressing marijuana in the workplace. This quandary for employers will continue to grow as more states and jurisdictions enact laws regarding marijuana use and testing. Qualified legal assistance is well-advised and EBI can connect employers with experienced legal counsel. For additional information on how employers can address their drug-free workplace programs, view EBI’s on-demand webinar, “Preparing for a Drug-Free Post-Pandemic Workplace.”
Screening outside the US has become increasingly common in the past decade. It is driven by the frequency with which individuals live and work in countries other than their home country and by employers seeking the benefits of screening throughout their global organization. Note that the information available from other countries, and the process required to obtain it, varies from country to country.
Screening requirements within and outside the US share many attributes. These include (unfortunately) a lack of consistency in law, regulation, and access requirements. Just as the US has a patchwork of federal, state, municipal, and industry-specific laws and regulations, regions and countries outside the US typically have unique requirements.
From an overall perspective, screening outside the US is likely to have longer turnaround times, a higher price point, and require special forms. Professional screening companies will be knowledgeable about screening and compliance requirements in countries around the world. Additionally, they will frequently have in-country partners who are experienced and knowledgeable regarding local and regional information sources and specific access protocols.
A policy statement is usually part of the overall screening program and refers to the principles used to set direction in an organization. For example, a screening policy might include “Company ABC considers the safety of employees and customers paramount. For that reason, we conduct background screening on all workers.”
The screening program often includes step-by-step procedures to be followed when conducting the screening. The screening program defines the purpose, components, responsibilities, and processes for conducting background screening in the organization.
Here are three questions to consider as you build or review your internal screening process:
Examining how your applicant screening process (if you have one) works in its existing state from 360 degrees can give you great insight. You might consider walking through the process as both an applicant and as an HR professional. Do you find redundancies? Are there gaps or inefficiencies? Is the process streamlined, technologically sound, and accurate? Does it help you identify the best candidate for the job?
One of the biggest choices you’ll need to make is deciding who will perform the background screening process. Is your HR department capable and staffed well enough to handle the workload? Or are they already overworked and stressed out in this COVID-19 pandemic? Are they up to date on compliance trainings, federal regulations, and the evolving hiring law landscape?
If you do make any changes to your screening policy, it’s important to ensure you’re still within the boundaries of the law. If you are already partnered with a CRA, you may want to inquire about their compliance efforts and measures. In an environment where every hire is meaningful to your survival, mitigating risk is a top priority.
Screening providers who prepare background reports and employers who use those reports are required to handle screening reports securely and confidentially. For employers, background reports are often managed by the Human Resources and/or Security Department. The only instances in which a background report should become public information is when the subject of the report chooses to make the report public or when the report must be provided to a third party under legal subpoena.
The laws and regulations that govern background screening evolve rapidly. More than ever before, employers need an expert screening partner who stays on the cusp of compliance to keep them informed and up to date.
That’s why our EBI compliance team created the Employer’s Guide to Background Screening: An HR Survival Guide – Vol. II. This FREE guide answers nearly 100 of your most pressing background check questions so you can get started on your screening journey. Download your copy today!
For nearly 30 years, EBI has delivered industry-leading comprehensive background check and drug testing solutions for modern talent acquisition. Our goal is to make screening safer and smarter with our full suite of solutions. If you’re interested in learning why we’re the most awarded screening firm in the industry, reach out to one of our EBI team members.
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.