Background Screening Trends That Will Impact Employers in 2022
From new restrictive legislation around PII and more states legalizing cannabis to screening vendors and suppliers and county system issues, here are the top 10 issues that will affect Human Resources professionals over the next year.
- COVID-19 will Continue to Impact Drug Screening
While the country continues to recover from the impacts of COVID-19, supply and laboratory staffing issues will continue to impact drug screening suppliers. Additionally, new protocols implemented at some labs, such as no longer conducting Breath Alcohol Tests or Pulmonary Function Tests due to COVID restrictions, have limited applicants’ options while also creating a demand for more oral fluid testing kits. This has increased demand on an already strained supply chain, making it difficult for employers to comply with their drug-free workplace policies.
The good news is that while there is still an ongoing impact to labs nationwide, they have addressed the rising backlog with additional hours and weekend shifts and adding more staff to complete the testing.
Turnaround times on employment background checks has been significantly impacted this past year due to much the same reasons that drug screening has been impacted. Reduced staffing at courthouses, courthouse locations remaining closed longer than others, shortened hours of operation, access issues and a large backlog of requests have all impacted report turnaround times. While most counties are back up and running, others are still experiencing significant delays due to system failure and access issues, PII redaction legislation and even weather events.
When possible, employers may seek to switch their reports from delayed counties to a statewide search.
- Patchwork State and Local Laws will Continue to Challenge Employers
While the rest of the world slowed down, lawmakers passing legislation limiting information employers can obtain on potential hires did not.
New Ban the Box laws were enacted in St. Louis, Mo. In 2021, while Michigan and California moved forward with DOB redaction legislation. Michigan’s new rule limits the personally identifiable information (PII) to verify identity will impact research and reporting. While the new rule is in effect, its implementation is delayed until January 2022. Once in effect, CRA’s will not be able to verify the identity of a subject’s report.
- Companies will Continue to Modify Policies Around Legal Cannabis
In 2020, Nevada and New York City’s implemented a ban on pre-employment testing for marijuana. And with more than half the states passing laws that make cannabis legal for either medical or recreational use, or both, employers are grappling with how to address legal marijuana in their drug screening programs.
Additionally, marijuana remains a Schedule I substance under the Controlled Substance Act, making it illegal for any reason under federal law. The uncertainty surrounding marijuana’s status as legal or not, CBD use, and an employer’s obligation to provide accommodations will likely be addressed in future case law that will provide additional direction to employers. In the meantime, many are opting to exclude the marijuana results in their drug screen reports.
- Companies will be looking at screening their vendors and contractors.
With companies of all sizes struggling with staffing issues, many will choose to outsource various functions of their business. In doing so, the need for a comprehensive screening policy to cover the third-party vendors and contractors with whom they work will be vital in protecting their interests. B2B fraud costs businesses billions of dollars each year. Cases involving companies contracted by another company where a tragedy unfolds, and where the contracting company is held responsible have become more common.
Going forward, companies will not only need to assess their own screening criteria, but also that of their vendors and contractors. In addition to checking the viability and any past litigation, companies are also taking steps to ensure the same criteria they use for their employees is applied, whether it is for an employee vendor, or independent contractor is crucial for consistency in keeping the company, its employees, and its customers safe. Custom Vendor Screening Packages can make it easy for companies to add this piece of due diligence to their process.
- Applicants Have Higher Expectations Regarding the Candidate Experience
It’s a job seeker’s market and many companies are struggling to find qualified workers for open positions. The candidate experience is becoming increasingly important to keep applicants engaged during the hiring process. Leveraging new technology and integrated systems help to speed the process and removes roadblocks for employers and applicants, including mobile-friendly apps and text-to-apply communications. Employers must also be cognizant of their online reputation on popular job boards such as Indeed, LinkedIn and Glassdoor as applicants can post negative reviews of the hiring process.
- Continuous Monitoring Becomes More Commonplace
Monitoring programs will be increasingly popular with employers. Second chance (also called fair chance) hiring programs are becoming more popular with employers who are willing to hire applicants that have a criminal record. There are an estimated 70 million Americans with arrest or conviction records that create significant barriers to reintegration into society. Monitoring programs are popular with this hiring practice as it alerts employers to reportable criminal activity AFTER an employee is hired.
However, continuous monitoring programs require continuous compliance. Employers must ensure that they have the employees’ consent to continue to conduct background screenings throughout their employment. Policies should reflect clearly when the screenings will occur and why and apply equally to all employees.
- PBSA Will Continue to Fight DOB Redaction Legislation
Legislation significantly impacting the screening industry and employers who run background checks continued through this past year. A change in Court Rules in Michigan that limits the Personally Identifiable Information (PII) provided by the courts is impacting public records research and reporting. This new rule is currently in effect. However, its implementation is delayed until January 2022.
California has taken it a step further with a decision by its Court of Appeals that has resulted in CA courts refusing to respond to research requests, limiting the number of queries that can be made in person, and limiting the amount of PII provided when a potential record is found. The Professional Background Screening Association is fighting the legislation on behalf of the screening industry.
- Remote Workforce Remains Popular
The pandemic caused companies to shift how they do business day-to-day, with many offices moving to a remote workforce. In a survey by PwC, 41% of remote workers do not want to go back into the office. Employers are adding flexible work schedules as a low-cost way as perks to attract and retain top talent.
As with fair chance hiring practices, monitoring programs are increasing in popularity with remote workforces.
- Social Media Screening will Continue to Increase in Popularity
Increasingly, employees are seen as the brand ambassadors of the company they work for and their online persona can reflect back on that company, especially for C-suite level executives and other management positions. Social Media Screening is on the rise for companies as they seek to protect their reputation and identify any potential red flags. Approximately 54% of hiring managers who screen candidates via social networks said they’d found information that causes them not to hire a candidate, according to the CareerBuilder survey.
However, social media screening can be a land mind for FCRA compliance issues when conducted in-house. Using a third-party background screening company can run the check and flag only information that falls within four reportable categories.
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This article is for informational purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice. For guidelines specific to your industry and locale, please contact your legal counsel.
AmericanChecked is a nationally accredited global and comprehensive background screening provider. We work with each client to build screening packages that are specific to their needs. Every customer is a VIP and our team of 100% FCRA-certified, customer service-focused staff is dedicated to ensuring that we “make your day” every day!