The conclusion of 2020 is approaching quickly. I cannot believe it is already Fall. Before you know it, the holidays and New Year will be here and gone. It is also that time of year when many organizations are reviewing best practices and policy revisions for the year to come. We here at Alliance, send our staff to the annual background screening conference, PBSA, however this year it was virtual. Our goal is to share a few takeaways, from the conference, as you start to review your best practices for 2021.
#1) Social issues continue to bring topics such as Diversity, Belonging and Inclusion to the forefront. Could your practices and policies reflect implicit or unconscious bias? This includes gender/sex, racial, age groups, cognitive or educational, are just a few areas. Review and audit your practices and policies and make changes, as needed.
#2) General service expectations. As you review your background screening practices and policies (annually) be sure your screening agency is aware of any changes or new expectations. If your policies stipulate a 7-year history or that you do not consider misdemeanor convictions, be sure to communicate this to your screening partner.
#3) Applicant Consent and Disclosures. Annually, you should review and update, as needed, your applicant consent and disclosure forms. If you use an online applicant ordering tool with your vendor, be sure to provide them copies to make available to your applicants. (This is old news but be sure your disclosures do not include any extra language, disclaimers, or state notices. You cannot indemnify yourself, so you should not list any indemnification on forms. Finally, these forms must be solely on their own. You cannot combine the consent and disclosure language with your application for employment or any other forms.)
#4) Applicant Notices. In addition to the Federal notices, many states and municipalities have additional notices. You should be providing these notices to your applicants, where applicable, and documenting any required procedures, i.e.: New York’s Article 23A.
#5) Security. As COVID continues to be an ongoing issue, without an exact timeline, many organizations are forced to be flexible and move office-based positions remotely. There are many surveys and articles already suggesting many of these positions will remain remote. No matter the result, be sure to have a refresher course regarding your security policies and practices with your remote and office-based HR teams, especially in today’s world of phishing schemes and cyber-attacks.
“Best practices” are not done once a year, but daily to help ensure a safe and compliant organization. Hopefully, our areas of review, listed above, will give you some food for thought. Feel free to reach out to our team to discuss any areas we can assist you and your organization.
Jolene Johnston Vice President/Chief Operating Officer
Note: This article is intended to provide general information and should be not be interpreted as legal advice.