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Verifile International Newsletter Issue #12

04 Aug 2015
Welcome to our August edition of the International Newsletter 2015 which we hope you find helpful in keeping up to date.

In this issue of the International Newsletter:

WORLDWIDE NEWS

- International Solutions - Marijuana:  Legal, Available and Dangerous

AFRICA/MIDDLE EAST

- Africa:  Developing Privacy

- Privacy Laws in Africa and the Middle East - June 2015

NIGERIA

- National Identity Number Mandatory from September

SOUTH AFRICA

- Criminal Record Expungement:  Saving Grace or Catastrophic Lapse in Judgment?

- The Biggest Liars Revealed

- Fake Qualifications:  The Snake in the Grass

ASIA PACIFIC  
AUSTRALIA

- Are 21 Reference Checks Too Many?

CHINA

- China Mulls Privacy Protection, Further Curbs on Internet

INDIA

- Fake Degree-Holder Appears for Cops' Recruitment Test

- India Education Minister to Face Court over Fake Degree

- Man gets Sack 25 Years after he got Job with Fake Certificates

NEW ZEALAND

- Rising Numbers Failing Pre-Employment Drug Screening

THAILAND

- Thailand's Education Ministry Orders Mandatory Criminal Background Checks for Foreign Teachers

EUROPE

- The Concept of Personal Data Revisited

- Justifying Data Uses - From Consent to Legitimate Interests

- Article 29 Working Party Issues Updated Guidance on BCRs

- Europe's Highest Court Delays Decision in Safe Harbor Case

FINLAND

- Employee Privacy and Protection of Trade Secrets at Odds in Finland

NETHERLANDS

- Substantially Increased Sanctioning Powers of the Dutch Data Protection Authority

UNITED KINGDOM

- The Government's Anti-Corruption Plan

- HR's Checklist for Dealing with Substance Misuse in a Workforce

- Tens of Thousands of Foreign Criminals Arrested in UK have Police Records in their own Country

NORTH AMERICA  
CANADA

- New Police Record Checks Reforms Introduced

- Highlights of the Canada Digital Privacy Act 2015

- Random Drug and Alcohol Policy Struck Down

UNITED STATES

- NYC Mayor Signs Law Banning Credit Checks

- Home Depot Reaches $1.8 million Class Action Settlement over Background Checks

- Koch Industries Decision to 'Ban the Box' Signalsl Broad, Growing Appeal for Fair-Hiring Practices

- Laborer Files Discrimination Charge Against Apple

- Oregon House Passes 'Ban the Box' Bill, Aimed at Helping Ex-Cons Get Jobs

- Connecticut Enacts Employee Online Privacy Law

- What Will Legal Marijuana Cost Employers?

- Marijuana in the Workplace

- Workplace Drug Testing in the Era of Legal Marijuana

 

World wide news

 

 

INTERNATIONAL SOLUTIONS - MARIJUANA: LEGAL, AVAILABLE AND DANGEROUS

 

Marijuana is, by far, the most commonly used illicit drug in the world. According to the World Drug Report, in 2013 there were 180.6 million marijuana users worldwide. The aggressive movement in the United States to legalize pot has not only resulted in the dramatic increase of people using marijuana and testing positive in workplace drug tests, but it has created confusion and concern among employers. Companies still have an obligation to ensure their workplaces are safe, secure and profitable, yet employees under the influence of pot are less safe and less productive than their non-using co-workers, which places people at risk and exposes employers to potentially expensive legal liability. Employers worldwide have a vested interest in understanding the legal status of marijuana in the country where they conduct business.

Read more

 

 

Africa Middle East

DATA PROTECTION & PRIVACY

AFRICA: DEVELOPING PRIVACY

Africa has been making progress in the data protection arena. Currently there are 9 countries with regulators in place, 12 countries with data protection laws in force, and 14 countries where laws have been drafted or announced. Niger has drafted a data protection bill which incorporates the Economic Community of West Africa (ECOWAS) model law on data protection. The Moroccan data protection authority (CNDP) and the Belgian data protection authority signed a protocol in 2009 establishing a framework of cooperation on cross border data protection issues, representing the first international cooperation agreement signed by the CNDP. Nigeria does not currently have a data protection law but The National Cyber Security Policy and Strategy was signed by the Nigerian President in February 2015 and contains a framework for the implementation of data protection legislation.

Read more

PRIVACY LAWS IN AFRICA AND THE MIDDLE EAST - JUNE 2015

The privacy landscape in Africa and the Middle East, which has already changed remarkably in the past few years alone, may be on the verge of another transformation after the adoption in June 2014 of the African Union (AU) Convention on cybersecurity and data protection. The number of countries in the region may multiply far beyond the 18 countries that already have comprehensive privacy laws regulating the collection and use of personal information by the private sector. Now with the adoption of the AU Convention, which still must be ratified by 15 of the 54 member states, more countries in Africa may adopt laws to implement the AU Convention’s comprehensive (and European Union-like) privacy framework. Many of the existing regimes in the region are still in their formative stages, in large part because the regulators are not yet in place; however, in some of the countries with the more established privacy regimes, the regulators have been stepping up their enforcement efforts.

Read more

 

Nigeria

NATIONAL IDENTITY NUMBER MANDATORY FROM SEPTEMBER

From September 1, the National Identity Number (NIN) shall become mandatory for all transactions involving the identification of individuals in the country. To that end, the National Identity Management Commission (NIMC), which is in charge of NIN issuance, has urged Nigerians to avail themselves the opportunity of enrolling in the national identity database to get their NIN. These transactions, pursuant to section 27 (1) and (2) of the NIMC Act, 2007 include application for, and issuance of International Passport, opening of individual and/or group bank accounts. Also affected are all consumer credits, purchase of insurance policies, purchase, transfer and registration of land by any individual, National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS), such transactions that have social security implications, registration of voters, payment of taxes and pensions, among others.

Read more

 South Africa 2

CRIMINAL RECORDS

CRIMINAL RECORD EXPUNGEMENT: SAVING GRACE OR CATASTROPHIC LAPSE IN JUDGMENT?

Another stark reminder of how seriously our justice system takes qualifications fraud presented itself when former police spokesperson, Vincent Mdunge was sentenced to five years imprisonment. Mdunge was caught red-handed when he presented a fake matric certificate in order to further his studies at UNISA and gain promotion in the police. While the Judge acknowledged that he was a first time offender, she still threw the proverbial book at him during sentencing. How then is it possible that the criminal record expungement debate has reared its head again, with the possibility of even further amendments to the law? It seems contradictory to allow for more criminal record expungement while we deliver a rightfully heavy blow to those that lie on their CVs to get the jobs that they aren’t qualified for. A poorly thought out criminal record expungement process could have disastrous consequences.

Read more

DIPLOMA MILLS, FAKE DEGREES, FAKE REFERENCES & FAKE REFERENCES

THE BIGGEST LIARS REVEALED

According to Ina van der Merwe, Director and CEO, Managed Integrity Evaluation (MIE), qualification fraud is fast becoming a significant problem in South Africa - increasing by 200% over the last five years (2009 – 2014) and impacting even the highest executive levels. “The massive increase in the last five years refers to qualifications we have found to be falsified, invalid or inconsistent. This includes those which have been purchased from a ‘degree mill, altered or simply included on a CV with no physical or recorded evidence,” van der Merwe explains. “Unfortunately, as these fraudsters enter the workforce, a number of honest and legitimately qualified individuals are side-lined for the respective position,” she adds. The biggest culprits? Van der Merwe shares that the sector recording the highest percentage of qualification fraud is the trade industry.

Read more

FAKE QUALIFICATIONS: THE SNAKE IN THE GRASS

Fraud in the workplace is so prevalent across the South African labour market that it has become something of a culture, where (more often than not) people lie about their qualifications, their work experience or pad their CVs with falsified information. According to the PricewaterhouseCoopers Global Economic Crime Survey 2014, South Africa is leading the world when it comes to the level of fraud, bribery and corruption occurring in the boardroom. There has also been an increase in degree fraud because of the ease with which fraudulent degrees and diplomas can be acquired through online degree mills. The simplest solution is for companies to introduce a comprehensive Pre-Employment Screening process which will not only validate the employee’s qualifications, but also give a fairly accurate idea of their levels of ethics and integrity.

Read more

Asia Pacific

 

Australia

ARE 21 REFERENCE CHECKS TOO MANY?

Coming from a business background I was shocked by a conversation I had with a recruitment manager of one of the leading AFL clubs as to the extent they go to in relation to recruitment practices. He said in one instance they had interviewed 21 people (referees) who were colleagues, friends or associates of a recruit to establish whether he was the right fit. The selection of recruits into football clubs has become a big business with some clubs having as many as five or six staff dedicated to recruitment alone. Getting that alignment can be more difficult the bigger the organisation, but I would challenge businesses as to how often we have the clarity and commitment to a set of behaviours that make us willing to interview 21 referees to make sure we make the right choice.

Read more

China

CHINA MULLS PRIVACY PROTECTION, FURTHER CURBS ON INTERNET

Chinese authorities have proposed a sweeping but vaguely worded Internet security law that would strengthen protection of private information, ban hacking activities and also allow authorities to restrict Internet access to maintain public order. China’s government considers cybersecurity to be crucial to national security, and espouses the concept of Internet sovereignty, treating its portion of cyberspace as its territory. The proposed law says Internet operators must take necessary steps to close security loopholes to prevent possible cyber attacks. It also criminalizes any hacking activity. The draft says Internet operators are obligated to protect users’ personal data. It also requires that users register their real names to receive Internet service. Yet, members of the Chinese public are worried that their right to speech may be further curtailed in the name of national security.

Read more

India

DIPLOMA MILLS, FAKE DEGREES, FAKE REFERENCES & FAKE REFERENCES

FAKE DEGREE-HOLDER APPEARS FOR COPS’ RECRUITMENT TEST

Pakistan’s Inspector General of Police (ICP) ordered the completion of the digitalization of criminal records at all police stations to ensure the launch of its centralized biometric database by May 10, 2015. The Deputy Inspector General of Police (DIG) Crime Investigation Agency (CIA) also confirmed that he had established a connection with the National Database and Registration Authority. The NADRA link will make it possible to view the details of all arrested suspects, as well as access fingerprints and other essential detail. The database’s main server will be housed at the Central Police Office, where it will also be accessible to the IGP Sindh, IG Karachi and other senior police officers.

Read more

INDIA EDUCATION MINISTER TO FACE COURT OVER FAKE DEGREE

A Delhi court agreed to hear a complaint alleging that India’s education minister lied about her college degree, triggering calls for her resignation. The petition claims federal Education Minister Smriti Irani made contradictory declarations about her college degree in different years to electoral authorities. The complaint says that in 2004 Irani said she had an arts degree but in 2014 — ahead of the general elections — she claimed she had pursued a degree in commerce. “Cognisance is taken. The matter be now fixed for pre-summoning evidence on August 28,” said judge Akash Jain. The case has sparked strong demands from opposition leaders from both the AAP and Congress Party for Irani’s resignation, saying she had no “moral or constitutional or legal” right to continue as education minister.

Read more

MAN GETS SACK 25 YEARS AFTER HE GOT JOB WITH FAKE CERTIFICATE

The Supreme Court, which generally repels challenges to appointments in service after lapse of long period of time, made an exception in the case of Khub Ram, who was appointed as a checker in Haryana Roadways in 1990. Fake certificates submitted in support of work experience led to Khub Ram's dismissal from government service more than 25 years later, despite earning two promotions for good work. A bench of justices FMI Kalifulla and Shiva Kirti Singh said the experience certificates, which were essential for getting the job, were faulty on two counts. "Had the appellant not committed such acts for obtaining selection and appointment, we could have considered the issue of delay as well as judgments supporting such a claim," said Justice Singh.

Read more

New Zealand

RISING NUMBERS FAILING PRE-EMPLOYMENT DRUG SCREENING 

Jobseekers in New Zealand’s Bay of Plenty are failing pre-employment drug tests. At the same time the country’s Drug Detection Agency figures showed 4.8% of all pre-employment drug tests were positive in 2014. Phil van Syp, managing director of 1st Call Recruitment, said most of those tested positive to cannabis in a urine test. "About 20% to 30% fail depending on the sort of roles. We do a lot of [road laying] and people seem to think that it is okay.” Kirk Hardy, CEO of the Drug Detection Agency, said businesses want to implement drug and alcohol policies due to high-profile accidents and tragedies involving someone who may have been using drugs.

Read more

Thailand

THAILAND’S EDUCATION MINISTRY ORDERS MANDATORY CRIMINAL BACKGROUND CHECKS FOR FOREIGN TEACHERS

Education Ministry official announced that all School administrators have been instructed to run background checks on foreigners applying for work as teachers to weed out convicted pedophiles. Assistant Minister Thirakiat Charoensethasilp said the directive was sent to every educational institution in the country after the British embassy recently received a report that a British national with a record of child sexual abuse in the UK had applied for a job as a foreign-language teacher in Thailand. Additionally, in the case of British applicants, schools were advised to check the UK’s Association of Chief Police Officers’ (ACRO) Criminal Records Office website to determine if they have a criminal record and require they present an ACRO police certificate.

Read more

 

Europe

DATA PROTECTION & PRIVACY

THE CONCEPT OF PERSONAL DATA REVISITED

Along with the concept of personal data, as opposed to anonymous data, the Regulation introduces a third category, that of pseudonymous data. Pseudonymous data is information that no longer allows the identification of an individual without additional information and is kept separate from it. In exchange for the lower level of privacy intrusion, the applicable requirements are less stringent. At the moment the standards according to which data is considered as anonymous or pseudonymous are established by the DPAs at a national level. Once the Regulation comes into force, the requirements and the applicable regime will become more uniform and this will provide greater legal certainty.

Read more

JUSTIFYING DATA USES – FROM CONSENT TO LEGITIMATE INTERESTS

Under the Data Protection Directive, each instance of data processing requires a legal justification – a “ground for processing”. This fundamental feature of EU data protection law remains unchanged under the draft Regulation. However, the bar for showing the existence of certain grounds for processing will be set higher, particularly in relation to consent. Businesses will need to review existing templates and procedures to ensure any consents are clearly distinguished. Businesses processing personal data of minors under 13 on the basis of consents will need to prepare strategies for obtaining guardian consents or authorizations. Employers need to minimise the need for obtaining employee or other similarly positioned data subjects’ consent.

Read more

ARTICLE 29 WORKING PARTY ISSUES UPDATED GUIDANCE ON BCRS

On May 22, 2015, the Article 29 Working Party published an update to its explanatory document regarding the use of Binding Corporate Rules (BCRs) by data processors (WP204). The original explanatory document was published on April 19, 2013 and identified two scenarios in which a non-EU processor, processing personal data received under BCRs, should notify the controller and the relevant data protection authorities (DPAs) in the event of a legally binding request for the personal data. Although the Working Party’s guidance provides helpful clarification, there remains a number of unresolved questions. BCRs for processors remain an evolving area of EU data protection law, and it is likely that we will see further guidance on these issues from DPAs and the Working Party as increasing numbers of processors begin to use BCRs.

Read more

EUROPE’S HIGHEST COURT DELAYS DECISION IN SAFE HARBOR CASE

On June 9, 2015, Max Schrems tweeted that the advocate general of the European Court of Justice (ECJ) will delay his opinion in Europe v. Facebook, a case challenging the U.S.-EU Safe Harbor Framework. The delay may allow the U.S. and EU to conclude their negotiations regarding updating the Safe Harbor Framework before the ECJ issues an opinion that could impact the Framework. Although certain issues concerning the national security exemptions to the U.S.-EU Safe Harbor Framework still need to be resolved, the negotiations are expected to be concluded within weeks. In his case against Facebook, Schrems challenges the Irish Data Protection Commissioner’s claim that the Safe Harbor agreement precluded the agency from stopping data transfers from Ireland to the U.S. by Facebook.

Read more

 Finland

EMPLOYEE PRIVACY AND PROTECTION OF TRADE SECRETS AT ODDS IN FINLAND

Significant security threats often come from within: according to a security risk study by the Finnish Central Chamber of Commerce (2012), around 20% of large Finnish companies reported that a former employee had illegally copied files and confidential information during employment. Some 20% of the companies did not even know whether such infringements had taken place. Statistics suggest that companies rarely act on their suspicions. These results are very likely a reflection of strict Finnish privacy laws, which make internal security threats quite difficult to monitor. A company considering acting on its suspicions also faces significant legal barriers, often making it difficult to prove malpractice. Without effective rules prescribing acceptable grounds and procedures for internal investigations, Finnish companies will remain largely impotent to fully safeguard their trade secrets.

Read more

 Netherlands

SUBSTANTIALLY INCREASED SANCTIONING POWERS OF THE DUTCH DATA PROTECTION AUTHORITY

A newly passed bill in the Netherlands has increased the fining power of the Dutch Data Protection Authority (DPA) to up to EUR 810,000 or 10% of an organization’s annual worldwide turnover. The Dutch legislature passed the bill amending the Dutch Data Protection Act (Wet bescherming persoonsgegevens; (WBP)). New fines may be imposed for non-compliance with various obligations of the WBP. The DPA will have the discretion to decide whether a situation justifies either a fixed fine or a fine relative to a company’s revenue. The possibility of issuing a fine relative to a company’s turnover is necessary for the DPA to have an effective enforcement tool in place when dealing with (very) large international organizations, for which the threat of a EUR 810,000 fine would not be sufficiently dissuasive. Currently, the DPA is only authorized to impose an administrative fine of EUR 4,500 for failure to register data processing with the DPA. 

Read more

United Kingdom 2

EMPLOYMENT SCREENING NEWS

THE GOVERNMENT'S ANTI-CORRUPTION PLAN

On December 18 2014 the UK government published its Anti-corruption Plan. The plan recognises that bribery and corruption are major issues across the public and private sectors and seeks to make the United Kingdom a leader in the global effort to combat them. The plan gives the National Crime Agency (NCA) the lead role in the fight against corruption and promises the creation of a new central bribery and corruption unit under the aegis of the NCA that will be tasked with boosting the UK response to cases of international corruption and acting as a centre for excellence. Some have read into this an indication of the future of the Serious Fraud Office (SFO) and have used it to consider whether the SFO should continue in its existing form, or alternatively be remodelled to meet envisaged changes to the investigation and prosecution of economic crime.

Read more (Requires Free Subscription)

ALCOHOL & DRUG SCREENING

FOREIGN CRIMINALS DATA TAKEN OFF POLICE RECORDS

Thousands of foreign criminals who have been convicted of offences outside England and Wales have had their DNA profiles and fingerprint details deleted from British police databases. Alastair MacGregor QC, the biometrics commissioner, has warned the Home Office that this “obviously unsatisfactory state of affairs” might be putting the public at unnecessary risk. The commissioner says there is a gap in the law as a result of new rules designed to remove DNA profiles and fingerprints of innocent people from the police national computer. This gap means the biometric details of those arrested but not charged with an offence in Britain cannot be held indefinitely solely because they have been convicted of an offence outside England and Wales.

Read more

HR'S CHECKLIST FOR DEALING WITH SUBSTANCE MISUSE IN A WORKFORCE

An employee's use of illegal drugs, whether at work or at home, can affect relationships with colleagues, increase absence, reduce productivity and cause an unsafe working environment. The possession of illegal drugs, and buying or selling them, also exposes employees to the risk of criminal charges. Employers have a legal duty to ensure, as far as reasonably practicable, the health, safety and welfare of all their employees. This involves providing a safe place (and systems) of work. What this requires of the employer will depend on the nature of the business and the particular role of the employee concerned. The Information Commissioner's Office has issued good practice guidance which contains some recommendations for situations where drug testing will or will not be acceptable.

Read more

TENS OF THOUSANDS OF FOREIGN CRIMINALS ARRESTED IN UK HAVE POLICE RECORDS IN THEIR OWN COUNTRY

Nearly 30,000 foreigners arrested in Britain over the past year turned out to have police records in their own country. And that’s just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the growing influx of criminals – including murderers and rapists – crossing our borders with ease. Because a Sunday Mirror investigation revealed that out of a shocking total of 190,000 foreign nationals arrested here in the last 12 months, fewer than half (46%) had their homeland backgrounds checked by police forces. The frightening figures from criminal records office ACRO, emerge in the wake of a series of terrifying crimes carried out by migrant offenders who have hidden their past from British authorities. And Labour’s Shadow Immigration Minister David Hanson vowed to raise the ACRO figures with Home Secretary Theresa May.

Read more

North America

 

Canada 2

CRIMINAL RECORDS

NEW POLICE RECORD CHECKS REFORMS INTRODUCED

On June 3, 2015, the Ontario government introduced Bill 113, the Police Record Checks Reform Act, 2015, legislation that would, if passed, implement a new process governing requests for searches of the Canadian Police Information Centre databases, or other police databases, in connection with screening an individual for certain purposes. Among other things, the Bill would: authorize Ontario police services to offer three types of records checks: criminal record checks, criminal record and judicial matters checks and vulnerable sector checks and limit and standardize the types of information that are authorized for disclosure in respect of each type of check. Persons or organizations that willfully contravene certain provisions of the Act would be guilty of an offence and liable to a fine of not more than $5,000.

Read more

DATA PROTECTION & PRIVACY

HIGHLIGHTS OF THE CANADA DIGITAL PRIVACY ACT 2015

On June 18, 2015, the Canadian Parliament passed the Digital Privacy Act (DPA), Senate Bill S-4, into law. The DPA amends Canada’s federal data protection statute, the Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act (PIPEDA) in important respects, including introducing a new data breach notification requirement (which is not yet in force) and making other material changes to PIPEDA. This post summarizes key changes to PIPEDA brought about by the DPA.

Read more

ALCOHOL & DRUG SCREENING

RANDOM DRUG AND ALCOHOL POLICY STRUCK DOWN

An Alberta arbitration board allowed the union’s policy grievance and struck down the employer’s random drug and alcohol testing policy in Unifor, Local 707A v Suncor Energy Inc, 2014 CanLII 23034. The policy was part of an array of measures adopted by Suncor to ensure the safety of its
workforce in an admittedly hazardous workplace. A majority of the board held that Suncor had failed to show an existing problem at the worksite and in the bargaining unit that would justify the intrusive nature of the random testing. The policy was held to be unreasonable.

Read more

 United States

LEGAL ISSUES

NYC Mayor Signs Law Banning Credit Checks

NYC Mayor Bill DeBlasio signed a bill (Int. 0261-2014) that amends the City’s Human Rights Law to prohibit most employers from inquiring into or considering a prospective or current employee’s credit history when making employment decisions. The law will take effect on September 3, 2015. NYC’s new law is among the broadest bans in the nation and will effectively eliminate the use of credit history for many employers in the City. NYC employers should start to review their background check policies and make any necessary changes. The price for non-compliance is steep, as the law affords aggrieved applicants and employees a private right of action with the promise of generous remedies.

Read more

Home Depot Reaches $1.8M Class Action Settlement Over Background Checks

A $1.8 million class action settlement has been reached to resolve charges against Home Depot over allegedly violating the FCRA by not having proper background check forms for its job applicants. According to the agreement, Class Members will receive anywhere from $15 to $100. The proposed class includes about 120,000 individuals who applied for jobs with Home Depot, in which the alleged illegal background check forms were used, beginning in April 24, 2011 to May 11, 2015. “In addition to this monetary relief, Home Depot has agreed to no longer use the offending forms, and to use a background check form that complies with the FCRA,” the motion to approve the Home Depot class action settlement says. According to the Home Depot class action lawsuit, the retailer “violated the FCRA by including releases of liability in their preauthorization background and/or credit check disclosure forms.”

Read more

Koch Industries Decision to ‘Ban The Box’ Signals Broad, Growing Appeal for Fair-Hiring Practices

Koch Industries, Inc.’s announcement that it will remove conviction history questions from its job applications is the latest sign that momentum for criminal justice reform and fair-hiring practices is building on both sides of the political aisle and across the business community. Koch Industries, a major funder and advocate of criminal justice reform, joins Walmart, Target, Home Depot, Bed Bath & Beyond, and other large national employers in adopting ban-the-box. “The fact that more and more of our nation’s major employers—including a company like Koch Industries that is synonymous with conservative politics—are choosing to embrace fair-chance hiring policies shows that this is an idea with broad appeal whose time has come,” said Christine Owens, executive director of the National Employment Law Project.

Read more

Laborer Files Discrimination Charge Against Apple

A construction worker who lost his job on Apple’s new campus because of a 2008 felony conviction said he filed a complaint with the EEOC alleging discrimination. The complaint could trigger an investigation of the tech giant’s hiring practices, which became the subject of controversy when Apple was barring felons from construction jobs. If the commission sues, it could chart legal territory regarding criminal histories and employment. The commission has sued companies like BMW and Dollar General for their hiring practices involving criminal background checks. Those cases are still pending. But experts say there have been relatively few legal challenges. “It is somewhat an underdeveloped area of the law,” said Lisa Klerman, director of the USC Gould School of Law Mediation Clinic.

Read more

Oregon House Passes 'Ban the Box' Bill, Aimed at Helping Ex-Cons Get Jobs

The House approved a bill to ban employers from asking about a job candidate's criminal history on an application. The bill is a watered-down version from what lawmakers first proposed. The original House Bill would have prohibited employers from conducting a background check before a conditional job offer; the amended version allows them to discuss an applicant's criminal record at an interview. Democratic supporters say the new version still gives applicants a chance to discuss their criminal record face to face with employers. Portland Mayor Charlie Hales recently pushed for a similar city ordinance but tabled it after business groups expressed concern that it would burden employers.

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Connecticut Enacts Employee Online Privacy Law

On May 19, Gov. Dannel P. Malloy signed into law Public Act No. 15-6, titled "An Act Concerning Employee Online Privacy."  The act applies to both employees and job applicants and prohibits employers from requiring or requesting employees or applicants to (1) provide the employer with a user name, password, or other means to access the employee's or applicant's personal online account (such as e-mail, social media and retail-based Internet websites); (2) authenticate or access a personal online account in the presence of the employer's representative; or (3) invite, or accept an invitation from, the employer to join a group affiliated with any personal online account. The act is effective October 1.

Read more

What Will Legal Marijuana Cost Employers?

Some 23 states have legalized medical marijuana, four plus the District of Columbia have legalized the drug for recreational use. This growth in the marijuana industry creates two sets of problems for employers: increased marijuana use – and all the costs this brings in the form of accidents and lost productivity – and costly litigation.

Employers face costly litigation as case law surrounding legal marijuana develops. There are several things employers can do to protect themselves.

1)       Stay up to date with the changing legal landscape and adjust your workplace    policies accordingly.

2)       Remember that marijuana is still illegal under federal law.

3)       Band together with other employers to monitor state legislation.

4)       Take action with legislators to ensure workplace protections are included in any marijuana laws.

5)       Educate your workforce about the dangers marijuana poses to children, families, and the workplace.

6)       Challenge the notion that marijuana is medicine, or you may soon be paying for it in your health insurance program. No marijuana medicines being sold in states that legalized them have been approved by FDA as pure, safe, or effective. Doctors cannot prescribe them and pharmacies cannot sell them.

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Marijuana in the Workplace

Colorado and Washington, as well as the District of Columbia, have enacted laws legalizing the recreational use of marijuana. Those jurisdictions and twenty-one other states have also legalized the use of medical marijuana. Meanwhile, U.S. Code still outlaws the use of marijuana, and programs funded by or under the direction of the federal government mandate drug testing that includes testing for marijuana. The Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine published an article that presents a good overview of the issues associated with the use of marijuana in the workplace. Given the complex environment surrounding marijuana use, legal and illegal, employers need to assess the risks associated with the use of marijuana and other impairment-causing substances, create policies and develop plans. 

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Workplace Drug Testing in the Era of Legal Marijuana

The passage of public ballot and legislative initiatives has resulted in medical marijuana laws in 23 states and the District of Columbia and approval of legal recreational use of marijuana by adults in Colorado and Washington in 2012, and in Alaska, Oregon, and the District of Columbia in 2014. This shift in drug policy has created significant concern and confusion for many employers, employees, and job applicants about workplace drug testing in general and testing for marijuana specifically.

This report provides guidance for employers about drug testing employees and job applicants for marijuana use in the workplace in the context of the current legal environment. It also discusses improvements in the science and technology of drug testing not only for marijuana but for other drugs of abuse. The recommendations made in this report to update workplace drug testing respond to the rapidly changing drug abuse environment in the workplace.

Read more
 

 


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