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Verifile International Newsletter Issue #13

06 Oct 2015

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

Checks Online

From October 2015, we will start to add checks which were previously 'offline' to our system and you will soon be able to order them in the same way as our other online products. Some examples of these checks include Passport Validation, Investigative Directorships Search (UK), Media Search and CIFAS. You will also be able to monitor their progress on candidates' orders.

If you have any packages set up on the system which include offline checks, these will be updated to incorporate the new additions.

Results will be included in the final report alongside the other checks that we have completed for you.

For a full list of the new checks we are adding to the system this month, please click here.

Overseas Coverage

We have updated our overseas coverage for the following check types:

  • Criminal
  • Credit/ financial
  • Directorships
  • Driving licence (New addition)
  • Identity verification (New addition)
  • Company credit checks (New addition)

Over the past year we have worked hard to identify the sources and processes of driving licence, identity validation, and company credit checks in many countries. Whilst this is still a work in progress we have the pleasure to share with you our formal first version price list for these check types.

Below is the list of reports/ countries for which we have managed to reduce the fee.

These changes are effective from today so you can start taking advantage of all the new services and reduced costs immediately.

The following checks are now available for a reduced fee:

Criminal Records Checks
Antigua & Barbuda
Fiji Poland
Bahamas Germany Portugal
Barbados
Grenada
Singapore
Belize
Hungary
St Vincent & The Grenadines
Bermuda
Jamaica
Switzerland
Cayman islands
Latvia Taiwan
Cyprus, Republic of
Mauritius
Turks and Caicos Islands
Czech Republic Monaco
Virgin Islands, British
Denmark
Netherlands
Wallis and Futuna
Dominica, Commonwealth of
Northern Mariana Islands (Saipan)
 

Credit Records Checks
Czech Republic (Enhanced)
Finland Slovakia (Enhanced)
Denmark Norway Sweden (Basic)

Should you have any questions regarding any overseas checks, please do not hesitate to contact us on +44 (0)1234 339 350 or by email at service@verifile.co.uk

Employee Spotlight - Harpreet Nandha

H Nandha Employee Spotlight

Harpreet was introduced to Verifile 5 years ago by a friend, a Verifile employee, who told him all about an exciting, young company carrying out highly complex and unique work – and they were recruiting! At the time Harpreet was working in retail with a good career ahead, but knew this wasn’t the future for him. Intrigued and somewhat fascinated, Harpreet attended an interview to find out more, and the rest as they say is history. Harpreet joined Verifile as an HR Interviewer / Expeditor in the referencing team, where he has developed and progressed in parallel with the growth of the business. Harpreet worked as part of the team and quickly developed to a senior position. Today he is responsible for the whole team and has been recently selected to attend “Verifile 2020”, the Verifile Management Development programme.

Harpreet’s dedication and commitment to the team has really paid off. With slick processes and smart working, the referencing team play a crucial role within the overall service offered to Verifile clients. Keep up the good work Harpreet!

In this issue of the International Newsletter:

AFRICA/MIDDLE EAST  
SOUTH AFRICA

- SHOULD SOUTH AFRICAN OFFENDERS BE ABLE TO DUMP THEIR CRIMINAL RECORDS?

PAKISTAN

- THE FAR-REACHING IMPACT OF AXACT’S MISDEEDS

ASIA PACIFIC  
AUSTRALIA

- A BREACH WILL COST AN AUSTRALIAN BUSINESS $2.5M

- MORE AUSTRALIAN ‘WHITE-COLLAR’ WORKPLACES DRUG TESTING

- TERMINATION OF EMPLOYMENT FOR FAILING RANDOM DRUG TEST UPHELD

CHINA

- STRONG DEMAND FOR TALENT IN FIRST THREE MONTHS

HONG KONG

- PRIVACY COMMISSIONER CAUTIONS AGAINST EXCESSIVE COLLECTION AND USE OF BIOMETRIC DATA

INDIA

- HIRING CHALLENGES OF INDIA INC.

- THREE-FOURTHS OF COMPANIES TO INCREASE HR SPENDING

INDONESIA

- INDONESIA PUBLISHES PROPOSED DATA PROTECTION RULE

MALAYSIA

- DRAFT DATA SECURITY AND RETENTION STANDARDS ARE A POTENTIAL 'GAME CHANGER'

EUROPE

- EU GENERAL DATA PROTECTION REGULATION: TIMETABLE FOR TRILOGUE DISCUSSIONS

GERMANY

- GERMANY TOUGHENS UP ON DATA RETENTION

IRELAND

- STRONG INCREASE IN PROFESSIONAL JOB FIRST HALF OF YEAR

LUXEMBOURG

- NEW LUXEMBOURG BILL ON DATA RETENTION–CRIMINAL DATA

POLAND

- NEW MANDATORY PRIVACY AUDITS

SPAIN

- NEW DIRECTOR OF SPAIN’S DATA PROTECTION AUTHORITY ANNOUNCES HER STRATEGY

- DATA PROTECTION COMPLIANCE IN SPAIN

UNITED KINGDOM

- WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT THE LATEST REGULATION
CHANGES TO DATA PROTECTION

- 'BAN THE BOX' AND RESPONSIBLE BUSINESS

- SCOTLAND: EMPLOYERS URGED TO CONSIDER APPLICANTS WITH CRIMINAL RECORDS

- FRAUD CASE HIGHLIGHTS RECRUITMENT RISKS

- "EXTRAORDINARY" LAPSES IN CHECKS ON DOCTORS EXPOSED

- NEW DRUG DRIVING LAW EXPLAINED… THE ESSENTIAL INFO

- CAMERON’S IMMIGRATION BILL HAS CONSEQUENCES FOR HR

- ONE IN FOUR JOBSEEKERS ADMIT LYING ON CV

- CHILD SAFEGUARDING RULES FORCE RECRUITERS TO CHECK ALL CANDIDATES' COMPLIANCE

NORTH AMERICA  
CANADA

- INTERIM ORDER PERMITTING DRUG AND ALCOHOL TESTING TO CONTINUE UPHELD

CARIBBEAN

- BERMUDA TO PURSUE PRIVACY LAW

RUSSIA & EASTERN BLOC  
RUSSIA

- RUSSIA INTRODUCES A RIGHT TO BE FORGOTTEN

- RUSSIAN REGULATOR PUBLISHES DATA LOCALIZATION CLARIFICATIONS ONE MONTH BEFORE EFFECTIVE DATE

UNITED STATES

- EEOC USES ITS RECORD KEEPING REQUIREMENTS TO POLICE USE OF CRIMINAL BACKGROUND CHECKS

- SECURITY CHECK FIRM USIS ACCEPTS $30 MILLION FRAUD SETTLEMENT

- USING CRIMINAL CONVICTIONS IN THE HIRE PROCESS@ A HOBSON'S CHOICE FOR EMPLOYERS

- INSURER REQUIRED TO DEFEND AND INDEMNIFY FCRA ACTION DESPITE PENALTY EXCLUSIONS

- CHUCK E. CHEESE SETTLES BACKGROUND CHECK LAWSUIT FOR $1.75 MILLION

- DELAWARE ADDS TO GROWING PATCHWORK OF SOCIAL MEDIA LAWS

- MAINE ENACTS SOCIAL MEDIA PROTECTIONS FOR APPLICANTS AND EMPLOYERS

- SPOKEO, INC. V. ROBINS: PETITIONER ARGUES IF THERE IS NO ACTUAL INJURY-IN-FACT, PLAINTIFF LACKS STANDING TO SUE

- THE SUPREME COURT OF NEW JERSEY NARROWS THE STATE'S EXPUNGEMENT STATUTE

- EMPLOYEE'S POSITIVE RETURN-TO-DUTY DRUG TEST RESULT WARRANTED TERMINATION DESPITE EMPLOYER'S USE OF LOW CUTOFF CONCENTRATIONS

- LARGE EMPLOYERS PLANNING TO TIGHTLY MANAGE EMPLOYEE USE OF EXPENSIVE DRUGS

- MINNESOTA COURT OF APPEALS PROVIDES HELPFUL ROADMAP FOR EMPLOYERS WHO CONDUCT DRUG TESTING

- START WITH SECURITY: A GUIDE FOR BUSINESS, 10 PRACTICAL LESSONS BUSINESSES CAN LEARN FROM THE FTC'S 50+ DATA SECURITY SETTLEMENTS

- COMPANY FINED $600,000 FOR I-9 VIOLATIONS

- EMPLOYERS MIGHT WANT TO RETHINK THE I-9 REVIEW PROCESS

- E-VERIFY PROGRAM SET TO EXPIRE

 

Africa Middle East

South Africa 2

SHOULD SOUTH AFRICAN OFFENDERS BE ABLE TO DUMP THEIR CRIMINAL RECORDS?

In a recent speech, Minister Masutha brought up what he called “the acid test for the country’s correctional system”: “the successful social reintegration of offenders as law-abiding citizens”. He stated that during the 2014/2015 year, 212 parolees and probationers were given “start-up tools to enable them to open their own businesses”. The reason why such individuals would be encouraged to take an entrepreneurial route, other than a general employment problem, is clear: many South Africans balk at employing people with a criminal record. Masutha proposed beginning the discussion on a possible amendment to the Criminal Procedure Act to look at shortening the time in which a criminal record follows offenders around. He clarified that “our focus will remain on those who committed minor, and non-violent crimes”.

Read more

Pakistan

THE FAR-REACHING IMPACT OF AXACT’S MISDEEDS

Axact CEO, Shoaib Shaikh, used Axact’s platform to lecture his audiences on how the company would transform Pakistan. How Bol, the TV channel, will cause a social revolution. Now he stands arrested — accused of fraud and acquiring wealth by deception. Axact’s premises were stuffed with blank foreign degrees, bogus authentication certificates and other documentation, all now in the hands of the FIA as evidence in the investigation into this multimillion-dollar global fraud. If Axact’s management could provide an independently audited breakdown of each unit’s finances, it could hope to claw back some credibility but that is unlikely. The consequences of Axact’s crimes are far-reaching. The Internet age has made it easier for anyone to hide behind legal loopholes. An immoral act though, will always be immoral and illegitimate in any society.

Read more

Asia Pacific

 

Australia

DATA PROTECTION & PRIVACY

A BREACH WILL COST AN AUSTRALIAN BUSINESS $2.5M

Organised crime gangs are the biggest perpetrators of security breaches in Australia, while hacktivists and disgruntled employees factor in only a tiny fraction of crimes. Ninety-two percent of breaches are perpetrated by outsiders, of which 55% come from organised crime, followed by 21% by state-affiliated hackers and just 2% by activists and 1% by former employees. Some 14% of breaches are perpetrated by insiders, although this is rising. There's an overlap between external and outside perpetrators, who sometimes collude. In addition, weak or stolen credentials are the No.1 cause of breaches, responsible for more than three quarters of incidents. The average cost of a data breach to an Australian business is more than $2.5 million per year, and over the five years to 2014, the average breach involved more than 20,000 records.

Read more

ALCOHOL & DRUG SCREENING

MORE AUSTRALIAN ‘WHITE-COLLAR’ WORKPLACES DRUG TESTING

Workplace drug testing is on the rise among Australia’s white-collar workforces. The workplace drug testing industry – which is valued at around $80 million – sees an average annual growth of up to 20%. While the testing of mine site, transport and logistics workers remain the pillars in the Australian industry, experts are reportedly noticing an increase in demand from white-collar sectors. Much of this stems from companies attempting to prevent problems, which have in recent years been uncovered by rising incidences of random drug testing being carried out on drivers by police around the country. Andrew Liebie, national marketing director of Safe Work Laboratories said Australia still has a way to go before catching up with the U.S., where an estimated 70% of workers have to partake in drug testing.

Read more

TERMINATION OF EMPLOYMENT FOR FAILING RANDOM DRUG TEST UPHELD

Where safety is a critical component of an employee's duties, employers' drug and alcohol policies are more likely to be enforceable. The Full Bench of the Fair Work Commission recently upheld the termination of employment of an employee who returned a positive test for cannabis in a random drug test. Employer policies, which provide for disciplinary action including dismissal where an employee tests positive for cannabis may, at least in the context of safety critical work, be judged to be lawful and reasonable. Make sure your drug and alcohol policy expressly states that disciplinary action including dismissal will be taken where an employee fails to comply.

Read more

 

China

STRONG DEMAND FOR TALENT IN THE FIRST THREE MONTHS OF THE YEAR

The vast majority (91.8%) of surveyed companies on China’s mainland increased headcount during the first quarter of 2015; according to The RMG Recruitment Insider Survey, a nationwide quarterly revenue conducted by RMG Selection, a China-focused international recruitment and HR consultancy. A total of 99.1% of State-owned enterprises (SOE) hired new talent in the first three months of this year. Joint ventures, a form of foreign invested enterprise that is created through a partnership between foreign and Chinese investors, had the lowest hiring rate, but 81.8% of them had new vacancies. Despite SOEs being affected by an ongoing nationwide campaign against corruption, strong recruitment demand remains.

Read more

Hong Kong

PRIVACY COMMISSIONER CAUTIONS AGAINST EXCESSIVE COLLECTION AND USE OF BIOMETRIC DATA

Comprehensive guidance on the collection and use of biometric data, such as DNA, fingerprint and facial recognition data, was released by the Office of the Privacy Commissioner of Personal Data (PCPD). The Guidance on Collection and Use of Biometric Data (Guidance) was issued in response to increasing use of such data by organisations in Hong Kong. The Guidance was released the day before publication of the PCPD’s Investigation Report: Collection of Fingerprint Data by Queenix (Asia) Limited (Queenix) (Investigation Report), in which the Privacy Commissioner served an Enforcement Notice on Queenix for excessive collection of fingerprint data. The Investigation Report makes it clear that the PCPD considers the collection of biometric data to be a serious issue and unnecessary or excessive collection of such data will not be tolerated. The Guidance clarifies the PCPD’s position and what it considers to be acceptable use and practice of such data

Read more

India

EMPLOYMENT SCREENING NEWS

HIRING CHALLENGES OF INDIA INC.

According to a survey, around 69% and 53% of hiring managers face difficulties in finding the right talent for mid-level and senior management levels respectively. Hiring managers across industries are facing some serious problems in finding the right talent for their organisations. This holds true for hiring across levels, though the nature of difficulty is somewhat different at each level. As a consequence, India Inc. seems to be compromising while trying to hire talent. Around 58% of hiring managers agreed to have done so. For the jobseekers acquiring the right qualifications relevant for the job role or the sector, employers will increase their probability of getting hired. Employers should also try and support new staff in obtaining professional certifications in order to retain them for a longer period.

Read more

THREE-FOURTHS OF INDIAN COMPANIES PLAN TO INCREASE HR SPENDING

The years 2015–16 could spell great fortunes for all HR service providers. If a global survey by Deloitte gets it accurate, around 74% of Indian companies will increase their investment on HR in the next 12–18 months. The survey indicates that around 18% of Indian companies claim to have a plan to increase their HR budget by more than 5%, while a whopping 57% of Indian companies will augment their HR spend by 1–5%. Around 23% will maintain a status quo and only 3% will reduce their HR budget. India’s market seems to be on a positive note vis-à-vis other global companies as only 56% of the respondent companies plan to increase their HR budget, and 35% want to maintain a status quo. Around 8% of companies, globally, plan to decrease their budget.

Read more

Indonesia

INDONESIA PUBLISHES PROPOSED DATA PROTECTION RULE

On July 14, 2015, pursuant to an implementation requirement of Government Regulation 82 of 2012, the Indonesian government published the Draft Regulation of the Minister of Communication and Information (RPM) of the Protection of Personal Data in Electronic Systems (Proposed Regulation). The Proposed Regulation addresses the protection of personal data collected by a variety of government agencies, enumerates the rights of those whose personal data is collected and the obligations of users of Information Communication Technology. The government provided a 10-day comment period for the proposal and issued proposed guidelines for the registration of software to be used in “public services.”

Read more

Malaysia 2

DRAFT DATA SECURITY AND RETENTION STANDARDS ARE A POTENTIAL 'GAME CHANGER'

The Personal Data Protection Commission (PDPC) published its 'Public Consultation Paper No.1/2015', which seeks feedback on three draft standards relating to data security, data retention and data integrity (the Draft Standards). The PDPC has the authority under the Data Protection Regulations 2013 to produce standards which data users are legally obliged to comply with. However, this represents the first time the PDPC has opted to use this power. Tharishni Arumugam, Regional Privacy Counsel at Aon Asia Pacific said, "The Draft Standards might be a game changer for compliance obligations, but not necessarily in the right direction, especially given the PDPC's record of handling the implementation of the Personal Data Protection Act 2010 (PDPA).”

Read more

Europe

EU GENERAL DATA PROTECTION REGULATION: TIMETABLE FOR TRILOGUE DISCUSSIONS

The Group of the European People’s Party in the European Parliament released an updated timetable for agreeing on the proposed EU General Data Protection Regulation (the Regulation). The European Commission, European Parliament and the Council of the European Union will soon enter multilateral negotiations, known as the “trilogue,” to agree on the final text of the proposed Regulation. The trilogue will commence once the Council of the European Union, acting through the Justice and Home Affairs Council (the Council), has agreed on its common position, which is expected to be finalized imminently. The European Parliament also will publish a general roadmap for further trilogue meetings later in 2015.

Read more

Germany 2

GERMANY TOUGHENS UP ON DATA RETENTION

German policymakers have moved to strengthen data retention laws, insisting that information will only be stored in Germany, and for much shorter periods, after the European Court of Justice struck down EU legislation that required data storage for longer periods. In 2010, Germany's constitutional court struck down a previous data retention bill on grounds that it violated users' privacy by broadly collecting and storing data from all users. That law allowed for data storage in Germany, or other EU countries, for six months. The new draft bill states that data must be stored in Germany, which has been rocked by revelations over US data espionage since 2013.

Read more

Ireland

STRONG INCREASE IN PROFESSIONAL JOB IN FIRST HALF OF THE YEAR

The number of professional opportunities increased by 31% between January and June 2015, compared with the same six month period last year, according to the Morgan McKinley Irish Employment Monitor. There was a 19% increase in overall jobs coming onto the Irish market in June 2015, compared with the same month last year. Month-on-month, however, that figure decreased by 15%. In terms of demand, there was an increase in job adverts seeking professionals with Dutch, German, and French language ability. There has also been an increase in the number of employers looking for candidates with more than one language. “A renewed sense of confidence has been driving activity so far this year, particularly in finance, banking, and IT sectors,” said Karen O’Flaherty, COO for Morgan McKinley Ireland. “We cannot afford to become complacent, Ireland must continue investing in talent as well as having a competitive offering to attract talent from overseas.”

Read more

Luxembourg

NEW LUXEMBOURG BILL ON DATA RETENTION – CRIMINAL DATA

On January 7, 2015, the Luxembourg Ministry of Justice filed with the Chamber of Deputies bill n° 6763 (the Bill) modifying Article 67-1 of the Luxembourg Criminal Procedure Code (the Criminal Code) and Articles 5, 5-1 and 9 of the Act of May 30, 2005 laying down specific provisions for the protection of persons with regard to the processing of personal data in the electronic communications sector, as amended from time to time (the 2005 Privacy Act). By so doing, the Luxembourg government aims to comply with the Court of Justice of the European Union (the ECJ) ruling of April 8, 2014, the so-called “Digital Rights”, in joint cases C-293/12 – Digital Rights Ireland and C-594/12 – Seitlinger and Others, whereby the ECJ has declared the Data Retention Directive 2006/24/EC to be invalid. The Bill focuses on traffic data (Article 5 of the 2005 Privacy Act) and location data other than traffic data (Article 9 of the 2005 Privacy Act).

Read more

Poland

NEW MANDATORY PRIVACY AUDITS

The recent amendments to the Polish Act on the Protection of Personal Data (the "PPD") came into force on 1 January 2015. Among other things, they introduced mandatory internal data protection audits. We consider their impact on Polish data controllers and potential loopholes in this new law. The intention of the recent amendments to the PPD was to reduce the regulatory burden on entrepreneurs, but it is not clear if this is the effect in practice. Instead, the Regulation imposes new and onerous obligations on information security officers and indirectly also data controllers who have appointed such a person. The Regulation also fails to clearly describe which data controllers are subject to these audits. In practice, they may deter data controllers from making such an appointment given the potential additional audit obligations that will entail.

Read more

Spain

NEW DIRECTOR OF SPAIN’S DATA PROTECTION AUTHORITY ANNOUNCES HER STRATEGY

Following her appointment on 24 July, Mar España Martí, the new Director of Spain’s national Data Protection Authority (Agencia Española de Protección de Datos - AEPD), was introduced to the media at the AEPD’s office in Madrid by Justice Minister, Rafael Catalá. Martí announced her plans for her four-year term. She declared her intention to foster a proactive data protection culture in preparation for the EU General Data Protection Regulation. In her view, the AEPD has too often been perceived by stakeholders only as a sanctioning body and she declared that it is now time to demonstrate the commitment of Spanish society to the right to privacy. For this reason, the Agency needs to become more proactive and engage with public and private actors, and other stakeholders, including individuals, to foster innovation compatible with the respect for privacy. She will be looking for an equilibrium between the right to privacy and the demand for transparency and information.

Read more

DATA PROTECTION COMPLIANCE IN SPAIN

Spain has one of the most restrictive data protection regimes in the European Union (EU) and is also known to have some of the highest penalties (fines are up to € 600,000 per infringement). The Spanish Data Protection Agency (AEPD) has a reputation for being one of the fiercest of the EU and the penalties are not just on paper; in the last years, it has imposed fines of € 450,000, € 900,000 and € 1,400,000. The purpose of this article is to help companies operating in Spain to better understand how to meet the Spanish data protection requirements and not end up incurring the wrath of the data protection authority.

Read More

United Kingdom 2

DATA PROTECTION & PRIVACY

WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT THE LATEST REGULATION CHANGES TO DATA PROTECTION

The Data Protection Act 1998 was enacted to bring British law into line with the EU data protection directive of 1995. Since then, the rate at which technology has advanced has been astronomical, resulting in a surge of innovative ways in which businesses can commercially exploit personal data. The right to be forgotten is one of the latest changes that businesses need to contend with. What’s more, the world has become increasingly interconnected, the nature of data exchanges has become more globalised and the legislative approach across EU member states is widely acknowledged as being disjointed. In response to these changes, the European Commission has published proposals for the reform and harmonisation of EU data protection law. The regulation, a supposedly single comprehensive legal framework governing data protection, is expected to overhaul and replace existing legislation.

Read more

CRIMINAL RECORDS

'BAN THE BOX' AND RESPONSIBLE BUSINESS

Those who have made mistakes in life are up against significant blockers to re-enter the workplace, and are therefore likely to fall back into the world of crime. Business in the Community’s (BITC) ‘Ban the Box’ scheme is one solution helping offenders find skilled and sustainable work. This scheme removes the tick box, asking whether applicants have criminal convictions, and asks this question later in the application process, ensuring a fair assessment of the candidate from the get-go. Security and safety still remain high on the agenda for participating businesses, with the severity of the crime considered in the hiring process.

Read more

SCOTLAND: EMPLOYERS URGED TO CONSIDER APPLICANTS WITH CRIMINAL RECORDS

Scottish employers must do more to make sure individuals with criminal convictions are not excluded from the jobs market, Minister for Community Safety and Legal Affairs, Paul Wheelhouse, has urged. He warned those who have been through the justice system remain “one of the most marginalised groups in our labour market and, in fact, our society”. Wheelhouse was speaking at a summit to coincide with the launch of a consultation on proposals to amend legislation governing the disclosure of offences by those with criminal convictions. Wheelhouse stressed there is a need for attitudes within society to change with those who have been through the justice system supported to be “active responsible contributors to our communities”.

Read more

"EXTRAORDINARY" LAPSES IN CHECKS ON LOCUM NHS DOCTORS EXPOSED

A “fake doctor” was able to treat more than 3,000 patients thanks to “extraordinary” lapses in checks on locum medics working in the NHS, an investigation reveals. When the man, who had some medical training, but was not allowed to work unsupervised, was struck off by the General Medical Council (GMC), he stole the identity of a real medic, and obtained work at another NHS trust. The head of the Commons Health Select Committee called for action to better safeguard the public and ensure that failing doctors are not able to ply their trade by simply moving from place to place. Patient safety experts said the case demonstrated that checks on locums are not robust enough to protect the public. The banned medic has pleaded guilty to 22 offences of deception, fraud and visa offences.

Read more

ALCOHOL & DRUG SCREENING

NEW DRUG DRIVING LAW EXPLAINED… THE ESSENTIAL INFO

Since March, it has become an offence to drive while over a specified limit of drug use. This is similar to the drink driving laws and means police no longer need to show an impairment to driving due to drugs, simply that the driver is over the limit. Employers should ensure that any drivers who use a vehicle for work purposes are aware of this change to the law, and understand its implications. The offence carries a mandatory disqualification from driving and a maximum of six months' imprisonment. Such a controversial issue needs to be handled sensitively and many employers find it difficult to know what they can or should do when faced with an employee with a substance misuse problem.

Read more

IMMIGRATION

CAMERON’S IMMIGRATION BILL HAS FAR-REACHING CONSEQUENCES FOR HR, WARNS LEGAL EXPERT

A proposed immigration bill outlined by Prime Minister, David Cameron, could have far-reaching consequences for employers who recruit from outside of the EU, Kerry Garcia, head of immigration at law firm Stevens & Bolton’s said. The bill could change the rules and regulations around employing migrants. If the planned legislation comes into force, it is likely to impact businesses in sectors with a shortage of skilled workers, Garcia warned. A visa levy on businesses which use foreign workers is also being considered to help fund apprenticeships. "Sectors that have become over-reliant on migrant workers will be encouraged to train Brits instead,” said Cameron. “We’ll make it illegal for employment agencies to recruit solely from abroad without advertising those jobs in Britain and in English.”

Read more

EMPLOYMENT VERIFICATION & REFERENCE CHECKING

ONE IN FOUR JOBSEEKERS ADMIT LYING ON CV

Over a quarter (28%) of UK job hunters lie on their CV, according to new research from independent job board CV-Library. The survey revealed that, of those that admitted to lying, 9.2 percent said their false information was significant, suggesting that recruiters should be on their guard. “For businesses, this is just another reason to make sure they’re one step ahead when it comes to recruiting,” said Lee Biggins, managing director of CV-Library. From the findings, the number of people who admit to lying on their CV may actually seem surprisingly low but the research showed this could be due to ambiguity of what constitutes a lie.

Read more

VULNERABLE POPULATIONS, VOLUNTEER CHECKS & SEXUAL OFFENDERS

CHILD SAFEGUARDING RULES FORCE RECRUITERS TO CHECK ALL CANDIDATES' COMPLIANCE

Guidance around working with young children has seen recruiters change how they recruit and screen candidates, in some cases going through thousands of people on their books to check compliance. The Department for Education published guidance announcing 'disqualification by association' late last year and updated in February this year. This effectively bars people from working with children under the age of eight if they live or work in the same household as someone who is disqualified from working with young children. Lauren Thompson, Classpeople's compliance officer, said the disqualification by association requirement relies on self-disclosure, which means recruiters must ask candidates to provide information about someone who lives or works in their household.

Read more

North America

 

Canada 2


INTERIM ORDER PERMITTING DRUG AND ALCOHOL TESTING TO CONTINUE UPHELD

In Teck Coal Limited v United Steel, Paper and Forestry, Rubber, Manufacturing, Energy, Allied Industrial and Service Workers International Union, Local Union No 9346, 2014 CanLII 5829, the BC Labour Relations Board upheld the interim order of an arbitrator that had permitted the employer to continue testing pending a decision on the union’s grievance against the employer’s mandatory random alcohol and drug policy. The arbitrator had noted the existence of extensive and substantial evidence to support the employer’s case that testing led to a reduction of safety risk from a preventative standpoint. He had concluded that the risk of industrial accident carried greater potential for irreparable harm than the harm to employee privacy interests caused by continuation of drug and alcohol testing pending the hearing and decision. The Board held that the arbitrator had not erred in reaching that conclusion nor had he erred in distinguishing other arbitral cases on the facts.

Source: Norton Rose Fulbright blog network, click here to go to original Case Note

Caribbean

BERMUDA TO PURSUE PRIVACY LAW

Bermuda has become the sixth Caribbean nation to pursue privacy legislation after recently launching a draft model Personal Information Protection Act (PIPA) for public consultation. The review period, which began July 10, will last until Aug. 17 and follows a recent survey that found 97% of Bermuda residents believe the safeguarding of their personal information is “important,” the British territory's Department of E-Commerce said in a statement. The draft model lays out organizations' requirements to properly use and protect individual's personal data, whether held electronically or manually. It follows international standards and was drafted taking into account the territory's “economic interests, regulatory regime and unique characteristics,” according to the department.

Read more

Russia and Eastern Bloc

 

Russia

RUSSIA INTRODUCES A RIGHT TO BE FORGOTTEN

With the aim of keeping pace alongside European practice, the Russian President signed into law a bill amending the Federal Law “on information, information technologies and on protection of information” No. 149-FZ of 27 July 2006. This law introduces in Russia the so-called “right to be forgotten” or “right to oblivion” and will take effect on January 1, 2016. Under the Law, upon receiving a request from an individual, search engines must cease listing links to Internet pages with information on the individual where such information is: unlawfully disseminated; untrustworthy; outdated; or irrelevant. The Law includes exemptions that search engines can rely on when the information is about events reporting a crime and where the limitation period for criminal liability has not expired; as well as for crimes committed by an individual where their conviction record has not been erased. It is too early to predict the impact of the Law. However, major Russian search engines have already criticized the Law.

Read more

RUSSIAN REGULATOR PUBLISHES DATA LOCALIZATION CLARIFICATIONS ONE MONTH BEFORE SEPT. 1 EFFECTIVE DATE, PLUS OTHER DEVELOPMENTS

In September 2015, the Russian Data Localization Law will come into force, requiring organizations that collect personal data from individuals located in Russia to store that data within Russian territory. After many requests for compliance guidance since the law was enacted last summer, the Ministry of Communications, Roskomnadzor, the agency that oversees the Russian data protection authority which will be enforcing the law, published unofficial clarifications on its website that provide a view into how the Ministry believes organizations must comply with the law. While these clarifications are non-binding, they constitute the only written regulatory guidance that has been published to date. In addition to asking for guidance, this past year the business community has persistently lobbied the Russian government to postpone the effective date of the law at least to September 2016, the date of the law when initially passed. However, there are currently no plans for postponement.

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United States

EMPLOYMENT SCREENING NEWS

EEOC Uses its Record Keeping Requirements to Police Use of Criminal Background Checks

Did you know that the EEOC requires employers to keep all personnel and employment records for at least one year? Just as importantly, to the extent the employer uses a screening technique, like a pre-employment test, information on its impact on candidates by sex, race and ethnicity must be kept. These requirements are set forth in the EEOC's Uniform Guidelines on Employee Selection Procedures. In a recent case, the EEOC sued a Pennsylvania janitorial and facilities management company for failure to maintain disparate impact information relative to its use of criminal background checks.

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Security Check Firm USIS Accepts $30 Million Fraud Settlement

United States Investigations Services, the security firm which vetted Edward Snowden, has agreed to a fine of about $30 million to settle U.S. charges related to the way it conducted background checks on applicants for sensitive government jobs. The Justice Department said USIS engaged in practice internally called “dumping” or “flushing,” in which the company released the background checks of individuals to the U.S. Office of Personnel Management (OPM) and presented these cases as having been completed when, in fact, they were not. USIS had been the U.S. government’s largest private provider of security checks. “Shortcuts taken by any company that we have entrusted to conduct background investigations of future and current federal employees are unacceptable,” said Benjamin Mizer, head of the Justice Department’s civil division.

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Using Criminal Convictions in the Hire Process: A Hobson's Choice for Employers?

Is the government really telling employers that they are not allowed to disqualify an applicant because of past criminal activity? In a word, yes. That is increasingly becoming the case on the state level and has been the focus of federal enforcement efforts over the past several years, ever since the EEOC updated its guidance on this topic in 2012. This flurry of activity has made what was historically a simple hiring practice into a legal minefield. In short, restrictions on the use of criminal convictions are here to stay and likely will become even more restrictive over time. There is no sure-fire way to avoid a claim of discrimination. By putting the practices outlined in this article into place, however, companies will stand a far better chance in defending the practice when such a claim does arise.

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LEGAL ISSUES

Insurer Required to Defend and Indemnify FCRA Action Despite Penalty Exclusions

The New York Supreme Court has issued an opinion finding that an insurer has a duty to defend and indemnify a national background screening company in two FCRA actions despite the policy’s exclusions of fines and penalties. The plaintiffs sought statutory damages and alleged that a national background screening company willfully violated the FCRA. The central issue was whether the background screening company’s errors and omissions insurance policy required its insurer to defend and indemnify it. In its cross motion for summary judgment, the background screening company argued that under the policy, the insurer was required to defend and indemnify because the underlying claims constituted compensatory damages covered by the policy. This decision provides guidance on the interplay of insurance policies and claims under the FCRA.

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Delaware Adds to Growing Patchwork of Social Media Laws

On August 7, Delaware Governor Jack Markell signed a law to prohibit employers from interfering with the personal social media accounts of their prospective and current employees. The new law defines “personal social media” to encompass any account on a social networking site created and operated by a prospective or current employee exclusively for his or her personal use. The term does not include accounts created or operated by an employer and that are operated by an employee as part of his or her employment. The new law also forbids an employer from taking adverse action against a prospective or current employee for failing to comply with any of these requests or demands. The new Delaware law continues a growing trend across the country.

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Maine Enacts Social Media Protections for Applicants and Employees

Effective as of October 15, 2015, employers in Maine will be restricted in their ability to access the personal social media accounts of applicants and employees. Employers may not terminate, discipline or otherwise take adverse action against an employee, or reject an applicant, due to the employee’s or applicant’s refusal to cooperate with any prohibited request or demand. An employer who violates these prohibitions can be fined by Maine’s Department of Labor. The law provides that such fines will be not less than $100 for the first violation, not less than $250 for the second violation and not less than $500 for each subsequent violation. Maine is the twenty-third state to place restrictions on employers’ access to applicants’ and employees’ personal social media accounts.

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Spokeo, Inc. v. Robins: Petitioner Argues if There is No Actual Injury-in-Fact, Plaintiff Lacks Standing to Sue

Following the U.S. Supreme Court’s grant of certiorari on April 27, 2015 in Spokeo, Inc. v. Robins, No. 13-1339, the Petitioner has weighed in with their brief. As you may recall, the question before the Court has the potential to determine the future scope of congressional power, as well as consumer and workplace-related class actions: Does a plaintiff who suffers no concrete harm, but who instead alleges only a statutory violation, have standing to bring a claim on behalf of himself or a class of individuals? The Supreme Court’s decision in Spokeo is likely to dramatically affect employers, consumer reporting agencies, and other corporate defendants as well as class actions brought under various federal statutes. As Spokeo unfolds, employers should continue to closely monitor the developments in the case in light of the potential impact on prospective and current workplace and consumer litigation across a variety of federal statutes.

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The Supreme Court of New Jersey Narrows the State’s Expungement Statute

N.J.S.A 2C: 52-2(a) permits the Superior Court to expunge convictions of certain classes of offenses under certain enumerated circumstances. As one example, the applicant seeking the remedy must have been “convicted of a crime,” but “...not convicted of any prior or subsequent crime.” The statute also bars from eligibility those who plead guilty in one proceeding to multiple offenses committed within a short period of time. But what does this last limitation mean in practice? The Supreme Court of New Jersey addressed and answered this question In the Matter of the Expungement Petition of J.S. (A-84-13) and In the Matter of the Expungement of the Criminal Records of G.P.B, (A-2-14). So now while a quantum of doubt has been eliminated (and that is always a good thing), the statute is now more restrictive (and, for defense practitioners, this is decidedly not a good thing).

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DRUG & ALCOHOL SCREENING

Employee’s Positive Return-to-Duty Drug Test Result Warranted Termination Despite Employer’s Use of Low Cutoff Concentrations

A Texas oil refinery whose substance abuse policy said an employee “whose drug test is positive, regardless of the reasons for the test,” would be considered in violation of company policy and “will be terminated from employment” meant what it said, a labor arbitrator has concluded. The policy, along with an agreement requiring that an employee seeking assistance for a claimed drug problem abstain from drug use, justified the discharge of an employee who tested positive for marijuana on a return-to-duty drug test. “In this case,” the arbitrator wrote, “the Substance Abuse Policy and the Agreement for Continued Employment leave no room for arbitral discretion.” Coupled with the company’s consistent enforcement of its Agreement, the arbitrator could find no basis for overturning the discharge.

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Large Employers Planning to Tightly Manage Employee Use of Expensive Drugs

More than half of large employers in 2016 will aim to more tightly manage employees’ use of high-priced specialty drugs, one of the fastest-growing expenses in their health plans. Despite those efforts, companies still expect the cost of specialty drugs that are carefully administered to treat conditions such as cancer, HIV and hepatitis C to continue rising at a double-digit annual rate — well ahead of the pace for traditional pharmacy drugs or companies’ overall spending on health benefits, according to the National Business Group on Health. The group released a survey that found 55% of employers next year plan to direct employees to specialty pharmacies if they need drugs that can cost thousands of dollars for a single treatment. That share was up from a third in the group’s survey a year ago on companies’ plans for 2015 health plans.

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Minnesota Court of Appeals Provides Helpful Roadmap for Employers Who Conduct Drug Testing

The Minnesota Court of Appeals handed employers a rare win under the Minnesota Drug and Alcohol Testing in the Workplace Act, upholding dismissal of a wrongful discharge case after an employee who tested positive for drugs did not comply with the recommended treatment because he wanted to choose a different treatment program. The decision highlights how critical employer engagement is when complying with this statute, including after an employee tests positive. Even if an employer has a compliant policy and conducts testing in a compliant manner, it must still interact with the employee who tests positive to work out and agree on a treatment program, and then continue to monitor the status and ultimate completion of the program. Allowing the employee free reign to choose his or her own program can be problematic.

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DATA PROTECTION & PRIVACY

Start with Security: A Guide for Business, 10 Practical Lessons Businesses Can Learn from the FTC's 50+ Data Security Settlements

Effectively managing security is no accident. Smart companies consider security upfront, assess their options and make good business choices based on the nature of their business and the sensitivity of the information involved. It is essential to focus on the fundamentals of sound security as the FTC outlined in Protecting Personal Information: A Guide for Business. It is important to know the personal information you have in your files and on your computers, and you only store what you need for your business. You should have a plan for how you will protect your information stored, how to properly dispose of information and have a incident response plan in the event of a breach. The FTC has resources including an online tutorial to help you think through how those principles apply to your business.

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EVERIFY & IMMIGRATION ISSUES

Company Fined $600,000 for I-9 Violations

The Office of the Chief Administrative Hearing Officer (OCAHO) has ordered Hartmann Studio, Inc. to pay a fine of over $600,000, which is one of the largest fines that it has ever assessed for I-9 form violations not involving the knowing employment of undocumented workers. The violations were all substantive paperwork violations – the employer failing to sign Section 2 of the I-9 form, failing to timely prepare or present I-9 forms, failing to ensure employees properly completed Section 1 of the I-9 form, and failing to properly complete Section 3 of the I-9 form. ICE sought over $800,000 in penalties based upon an error rate of approximately 90%. However, OCAHO determined Hartmann’s conduct was not as bad as employers in three other recent cases and lowered the amount.

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Employers Might Want to Rethink the I-9 Review Process

A large clothing retailer recently entered into a settlement agreement with the Department of Justice (DOJ) following an allegation that the company discriminated against a non-US citizen in violation of federal immigration laws, including the Immigration and Nationality Act. The employer required the employee to produce a green card as part of the I-9 process. As a reminder, employers are not permitted to ask for a specific form of identification when collecting I-9’s. Employees can choose from the available options on the form, and employers must take what they get. The DOJ settlement includes a hefty back-pay award and DOJ monitoring of the company’s employment verification practices for the next two years. Companies should reevaluate and monitor their I-9 verification and re-verification practices.

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E-Verify Program Set to Expire

The E-Verify program is set to expire 9/30/15 unless it is reauthorized by Congress. So what does that mean for employers who use E-Verify? The program is administered by U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). It was created as the Basic Pilot program back in 1996, and over time it has been renamed E-Verify. Over the years it has been reauthorized by Congress for a set amount of time, usually at the last minute.

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