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Verifile Newsletter Issue #27

08 Feb 2018

Welcome to our February newsletter 2018 designed to help you stay up to date.​

Topics include:

-       Launch of a global ‘Identity and Address Verification’ service

-       International price list update

-       International product changes

-       Identity checks for Standard and Enhanced, England and Wales checks

-       Turnaround times for UK criminal checks

-       Verifile Awarded BS7858 NSI Gold Award for Security Screening

 

LAUNCH OF A ‘GLOBAL IDENTITY AND ADDRESS VERIFICATION’ SERVICE

We are pleased to announce the launch of our new GLOBAL ‘Identity and Address Verification’ service, covering over 3.2 billion citizens worldwide. The new service allows you to verify a candidate's identity iincluding their residential address by cross-referencing their personal information against a variety of government and proprietary sources. With a name, date of birth and address you will be able to quickly and conveniently authenticate individuals as the majority of reports are ready within 1 working day. These checks can be found under the ‘Identity Verification’ section when ordering. For information on coverage, please contact us.

 

INTERNATIONAL PRICE LIST UPDATE

Our overseas (non-UK) coverage and price list will be updated on 19th February. 

Over the past year we have continued to identify new sources and processes for our international checks, and below is a summary of over 100 additional checks added since our last update. We now have a more complete coverage of African countries with checks, including identity card and passport validation, driving licence status, criminal record, bankruptcy and civil litigation.

We have also enhanced many processes and improved our turnaround times for many of our international checks.

  • Criminal
  • Credit/Financial
  • Directorships
  • Identity Verification
  • Driving Licence
  • Company Credit Checks

For a summary of the new checks available and price changes, plus our new price lists, please contact us. 

 

INTERNATIONAL PRODUCT CHANGES

We would like to bring the following changes to your particular attention. If you would like us to send you current documentation for any of the checks listed, please request via service@verifile.co.uk.

Luxembourg & Monaco Criminal Check
Results for these checks will be sent directly to your candidates going forward. The government agencies issuing these certificates introduced this change to their procedures, and unfortunately, third parties are no longer able to receive the certificate directly.  

Northern Mariana Islands Criminal Check
New instructions and application form is now in place to reflect simplified requirements.

Namibia Directorship Check
This search is unavailable at present due to a process change at source. 

Russia Criminal Check
New Power of Attorney form is now in place to reflect the change of the Government institution’s name.

Colombia Criminal Check
A new instruction is now in place to reflect the scope of this service. A Criminal Certificate from Colombian Police is now a Subject Access Request. However, we can still provide a Good Conduct Certificate from Procuraduría Nacional de la Nación.

 

IDENTITY CHECKS FOR STANDARD AND ENHANCED UK CRIMINAL CHECK

The documents that need to be seen during the face to face identity check for criminal record checks (Standard and Enhanced) in England & Wales are changing. Although you will still be able to use most of the document types you have previously used such as passports and driving licences, the full list of options is changing in February. This change has been made by the Disclosure and Barring Service, which is the organisation that searches for convictions and relevant information on the Police National Computer.

The new document list will be presented to candidates on their online screening. To assist you with completing the face to face identity check we have created an ID Check Guide that can be found in the ‘Help Guides’ section after Verifile log in. 

 

TURNAROUND TIMES FOR UK CRIMINAL CHECKS

We’d like to share some stats on our UK criminal record checks over the last 6 months.

  • You will see that the turnaround times for the new Basic England and Wales check can be extremely fast with an average of just over 1 calendar day and a median of 0. 
  • Turnaround times for Enhanced England and Wales checks have reduced significantly with the average for certificates with convictions being half what it was for the first 6 months of last year.  

As we are now past the DBS transition date, criminal checks for England and Wales based candidates should now use the new Basic England and Wales check. Rehabilitation periods are applied per region and the rehabilitation periods can differ significantly between regions.  

Plus, the turnaround times for England and Wales Checks are so much faster! 

For guidance on which check to use for who, please refer to the ‘Help Guides’ section after Verifile log in, or contact our Client Service Team on +44(0) 1234 339 350 or your Account Manager. 

England and Wales Checks

UK Criminal Record

Check Types

Candidates with convictions (%)

Without convictions (calendar days)

With convictions (calendar days)

Average

Median

Average

Median

Basic, England & Wales

2.44

1.24

1*

9.00

8

Standard, England & Wales

10.10

4.55

4

30.10

27

Enhanced, England & Wales

10.29

8.27

5

30.58

28

Scotland Checks

UK Criminal Record

Check Types

Candidates with convictions (%)

Without convictions (calendar days)

With convictions (calendar days)

Average

Median

Average

Median

Basic, Scotland - Indicative

1.30

4.51

4

6.23

5

Basic, Scotland

7.87

7.55

7

9.34

8

* Median data is displayed in whole days.  Many checks are being completed in as little as half an hour.

Turnaround times were calculated from the moment the relevant government agency accepted the order. We have eliminated the time it takes to collect the required information from candidates due to the high variance between clients on the time taken and the quality of information submitted to us at the start of the process.

 

VERIFILE AWARDED BS7858 NSI GOLD AWARD FOR SECURITY SCREENING

Verifile is pleased to announce that we have been awarded the highest NSI Award for Security Screening Services.  The NSI Gold Award highlights that we provide the very best in processes, procedures and quality.  We are one of only five companies in the UK to achieve this highly sought-after award.

What is the NSI Gold Award?

The Gold Award combines our ISO 9001 Quality Management System, the British Standard 7858 and the NSI Code of Practise for the provision of Security Screening Services.  The award demonstrates our expert knowledge of the BS 7858 and our ability to provide employers in all industries with the highest quality industry specific products and services they may require.

What this means to you?

To demonstrate our commitment to the highest level of protection of your data, Verifile personnel have all been screened to this industry standard; it is a pre-requisite for joining our team.  This approach to background screening is beneficial in any environment where the safety of goods, property and most importantly people are valuable.  For sectors where data security, access to sensitive or confidential information and contracts are essential, the BS 7858 for screening is highly recommended.  If you are trying to win new contracts and work with partners who need to feel secure, rest assured in the knowledge we offer screening services that are compliant with this British Standard.

Summary

Being awarded this additional certification is evidence of our continued drive to add value to the services we provide.  We help organisations embrace employment screening as a core component of their recruitment strategy; combining proven expertise, technology and control over every part of the screening process.  By doing this, we are able to provide the most robust data in the industry, whilst also providing customers with support and guidance on their screening journey.

 

Should you need any help and guidance, please contact us on +44 (0)1234 339 350 or by email at service@verifile.co.uk, or contact your Account Manager.

Regards
The Verifile Team

 

You will find below news from around the world:-

WORLDWIDE NEWS

- Article 29 Working Party Published Guidelines on Transparency Under the GDPR

Article 29 Working Party Publishes Guidance On Consent Under The GDPR

- GDPR Guidance May Not Be Out Until April

- How to Manage Changes to Employee Rights under GDPR

- Risky Business:  HR Data under GDPR

AFRICA & MIDDLE EAST  
SOUTH AFRICA

- Why Companies Don't Always Test for Alcohol. And Why They Should 

ASIA PACIFIC  

- Work Rights Checks:  Is Your Business Complying With its Immigration Obligations?

- Fake Nurse Jailed after Doing Shifts at Hospitals across Australia

CHINA

- Are You Concerned about the Personal Credit System and Privacy Provisions in China?  You Should Be!

- Big Data Meets Big Brother as China Moves to Rate its Citizens

INDIA

- Laws Governing Pre-Emptive Screening of Employees in India

JAPAN

- EU Sees Data Transfer Deal with Japan Early Next Year

NEPAL

- Eight Arrested for Running Fake Certificate Racket

PHILLIPINES

- Phillipines Joins APEC Network of Privacy Enforcement Authorities

SINGAPORE

- Singapore Moots Stricter Use of National ID, Bill to Ease Data-Sharing Within Government

SOUTH KOREA

- EU and South Korea Intensify Data Protection Cooperation Efforts

TAIWAN

- Taiwan Increases Background Screening Requirement for Foreigner Teachers

EUROPE

 

- Accelerated GDPR Bill "Limited In Scope"

THE NETHERLANDS

- Dutch Government Introduces GDPR Implementation Bill

UNITED KINGDOM

- 'Staggering' Trade in Fake Degrees Revealed

NORTH AMERICA  
CANADA

- Do you believe Everything in a Candidate's CV?

- Court Upholds Workplace Drug Policy

- HR Leaders Fret over Lazy Cannabis Laws

- Major Employer Wins Drug Testing Battle

- Canada:  Cannabis Legalization in Canada - Nuisance or Business Opportunity?

UNITED STATES

- AZ Bans the Box for Initial Stage Agency Job Applications

- Albany County, New York, Passes Salary History Ban

- FINRA Slams J.P. Morgan Securities Over Background Check Failures

- Avis Settles FCRA Background Check Lawsuit for $2.7 Million

- Consumer Reporting Agency Accused of Violating FCRA

- Fix NICS Act to Enhance Compliance to Ensure Accuracy of Existing Background Check System for Firearms Purchases Introduced

- Waffle House Job Applicants Consolidate Background Check Class Action

- DOT Updates Drug Testing Panel to include Opioids

- FMCSA Expands Its Drug Testing Panel Effective January 1, 2018

- Employers Can Expect New Problems When Recreational Marijuana Hits New Jersey

- As Ban the Box Spreads, Private Employers Still Have Questions

- In the Continuing Battle Over Standing, Fair Credit Reporting Act Class Action Plaintiffs Must Show Actual Injury for Failure to Provide Stand Alone Notice

- Alert:  California's Statewide "Ban the Box" Law Goes into Effect January 1

- States and Cities Line Up to Ban Salary History Questions

- Title VII Concerning Employer Criminal Records Checks

- The Impact of the HHS and DOT Regulatory Updates on State Drug Testing

- PHMSA Raises Random Drug Testing Rate to 50% for 2018

- DOT Notice Provides Guidance on How the Use of Medical Marijuana Will Affect Drug Testing Results

- New I-9 FAQs on Transgender Employees, E-Verify Time Zone Issues, Closing Cases, and More!


World wide news

 

ARTICLE 29 WORKING PARTY PUBLISHED GUIDELINES ON TRANSPARENCY UNDER THE GDPR

The Article 29 Working Party has published its guidelines on transparency under Regulation 2016/679. The Guidelines aim to provide practical guidance and clarification on the transparency obligations introduced by the EU General Data Protection Regulation that require controllers to provide certain information to data subjects regarding the processing of their personal data. Key takeaways from the Guidelines include how data requests must be clearly distinguished from other information; processing information should be provided in a layered structure; clear and plain language must be used; information may be provided orally; controllers should provide data subjects with an overview of the consequences of the processing as it affects them, and more.

Read more

ARTICLE 29 WORKING PARTY PUBLISHES GUIDANCE ON CONSENT UNDER THE GDPR 

The EU’s Article 29 Working Party has adopted guidelines on the meaning of consent under the EU General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). In this Guidance, consent should be a reversible decision where a degree of control must remain with the data subject. The Guidance provides additional detail on what is necessary to ensure that consent satisfies the requirements of the GDPR. It includes information on whether consent is freely given, specific, informed, and clear affirmative action on consent. It also details the meaning of explicit consent; how consent is demonstrated,; and provides guidance on children’s consent, meaning, the GDPR requires parental consent in relation to the processing of children’s personal data in the context of information society services offered directly to children. 

Read more

GDPR GUIDANCE MAY NOT BE OUT UNTIL APRIL 

GDPR compliance, is fast approaching, and despite UK firms’ general optimism, guidance on how to approach the regulations may not be released until next April. The Article 29 Working Party announced that it has only just began its consultation on GDPR, which closes on January 27, 2018. The UK Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) had originally pledged to publish consent guidance for GDPR in June 2017, but it was delayed, as well. At the time ICO claimed that it was waiting for the Article 29 Working Part, which involved one member from each EU member state, to release its consent guidance. In order to ensure smooth compliance, several industry associations have urged the Government and ICO to align itself as closely as possible with the EU on data protection policy. 

Read more

HOW TO MANAGE CHANGES TO EMPLOYEE RIGHTS UNDER GDPR 

Almost half (47%) of UK office workers don’t know whether their company is taking action to comply with the new European General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), according to research from Fellowes. However, with the regulation intending to enhance individuals’ rights over their data, employers may want to consider how to manage GDPR in respect to employee data. GDPR requires that all employers are data controllers of employee personal data, which will require significant changes to the way HR manages information. According to Fellowes, employers should also set up an internal process for their employees to raise requests, and for the HR department to have the opportunity to reply.  

Read more

RISKY BUSINESS: HR DATA UNDER GDPR 

Any company that extrapolates data – whether it’s from customers, partners or employees – will need to identify legal grounds for processing that data, under the incoming General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). HR departments are often flagged as a high risk to the business in GDPR audits, according to Matthew Holman, Principal at EMW LAW, and must consider all avenues when processing employee data. He adds that gone are the days of HR simply relying on a standard clause buried deep within an employment contract whereby the employee gives blanket consent to the processing of their personal and sensitive data. HR teams should consider whether they can document a good justification that will stand the test of scrutiny, including what sort of personal data is involved, how many employees are affected, whether employees are likely to be surprised or upset about the processing if they were to find out about it, and more.

Read more

 

Africa Middle East

South Africa 2

WHY COMPANIES DON'T ALWAYS TEST FOR ALCOHOL. AND WHY THEY SHOULD 

Although alcohol and substance testing forms part of the health and safety policies and procedures in many industries, there are still a great number of organizations that do not employ the same cautionary practice, potentially resulting in significant loss to a business. The Occupational Health and Safety (OHS) Act General Safety Regulation 2A states that every employer is obligated to stop persons from entering or remaining at work if they appear to be under the influence of intoxicating liquor or drugs.  In some industries, organizations are subjected to annual and spot audits on their health and safety practices. As a rule, testing should form a regular part of every business’s health and safety policy, yet many organizations are fearful of implementing alcohol and drug testing because they believe it’s difficult and costly, in addition to concerns over liability and legal ramifications. However, many reputable providers of drug and alcohol testing equipment offer services to assist organizations with the process. 

Read more

Asia Pacific

Australia

WORK RIGHTS CHECKS: IS YOUR BUSINESS COMPLYING WITH ITS IMMIGRATION OBLIGATIONS? 

Even if you do not sponsor non-citizen workers, your business has obligations under the Migration Act 1958 that includes penalties for any person who allows a non-citizen to work, or who refers a non-citizen to work in circumstances where that non-citizen does not have appropriate work rights. The penalties begin with an administrative warning and include financial and/or criminal penalties. Every employer must take reasonable steps to ensure that every person working for them has appropriate work rights. It also means recruitment and labor hire companies must ensure that any person they put forward to work has appropriate work rights and understands all limitations to those work rights. 

Read more

FAKE NURSE JAILED AFTER DOING SHIFTS AT HOSPITALS ACROSS AUSTRALIA

The Northern Territory Supreme Court recently sentenced a 32-year-old woman to four years in jail after she falsely claimed to be a registered nurse and worked at Royal Darwin Hospital (RDH). Pleading not guilty to 10 offences, Nicholas Crawford entered himself as a high-level agency nurse on an Australia-wide database and worked several shifts at RDH.

Read more

 

China

ARE YOU CONCERNED ABOUT THE PERSONAL CREDIT SYSTEM AND PRIVACY PROVISIONS IN CHINA? YOU SHOULD BE! 

The People’s Republic of China is making progress in implementing its mandatory “social credit system,” and is advising multinational businesses in China to be aware of it. The social credit system is a national credit score for each citizen and business, and is one that reflects more than just creditworthiness. While the system is voluntary during an initial pilot stage, and run by nominally private entities, the Chinese government has indicated that by 2020 it will have established fundamental laws, regulations and standard systems for social credit and will give complete rein to mechanisms to encourage compliance. Media sources have indicated that the government will at that point officially control the system, which will then be mandatory.  Local governments are also presently working to set up their own social credit systems. Information collected in the systems of local governments, government agencies, and private entities will eventually be funneled into a national database. 

Read more

BIG DATA MEETS BIG BROTHER AS CHINA MOVES TO RATE ITS CITIZENS

In June, the State Council of China published a document that introduced the idea of implementing a national trust score that would rate its citizens. This Social Credit System would rate the trustworthiness of its 1.3 billion citizens and is intended to build a culture of sincerity. This system, which will become mandatory by 2020, has been compared to “Yelp reviews with the nanny state watching over your shoulder.” Big players in the plan include China Rapid Finance, a partner of the social-network Tencent and developer of WeChat, Sesame Credit, which is run by insurance and loan company Ant Financial Services Group. This group also owns AliPay, a payment system used for buying online and paying for things like taxes, school fees and retail stores. The resulting repercussions of the system’s findings are simple: If trust is broken in one place, restrictions are imposed everything, from slower internet speeds, to restricted access to restaurants and nightclubs. 

Read more

 

India

LAWS GOVERNING PRE-EMPTIVE SCREENING OF EMPLOYEES IN INDIA 

With no dedicated law governing pre-emptive screening in India, employers must rely on general laws to be sure they are making the right selection for a job selection. The country’s biggest problem with pre-emptive screening is the possible non-compliance with privacy norms. Until recently, employers have not faced any legal repercussions regarding pre-emptive screening, but India is slowly maturing to an advanced regime in privacy laws. A nine-judge bench of the Hon’ble Supreme Court (SC) recently was constituted to consider whether privacy is a fundamental right, delivering a unanimous verdict that the right to privacy is protected as an “intrinsic part of the right to life and personal liberty.” 

Read more

 

Japan

EU SEES DATA TRANSFER DEAL WITH JAPAN EARLY NEXT YEAR 

The European Union aims to conclude a deal to allow businesses to seamlessly transfer personal data between the bloc and Japan by early next year, building on the recent agreement on a free trade pact. Cross-border data flows are key to most businesses, however, strict EU data protection rules forbid companies from storing Europeans’ information on servers in countries deemed to have an inadequate level of privacy, meaning firms have to rely on other more complex legal contracts. Yet, EU Justice Commissioner Vera Jourova has announced the EU is committed to adopting a decision to declare Japan’s data protection framework “adequate” by early next year. 

Read more

 

Nepal

EIGHT ARRESTED FOR RUNNING FAKE CERTIFICATE RACKET 

Kathmandu Police have busted a forgery racket involving eight persons and have seized a large amount of fake government seals. The suspects allegedly produced and sold migration and provisional certificates of Plus Two level and transcripts of the National Examination Board.

The suspects allegedly maintained a system where some were assigned to find potential clients while the others forged the seals and signatures. Police have allegedly seized dozens of forged papers, certificates and equipment that the suspects used in the process. The suspects will be charged with forging government seal and signature forgery.  

Read more

Phillipines

PHILLIPINES JOINS APEC NETWORK OF PRIVACY ENFORCEMENT AUTHORITIES

The Philippines has joined the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Cross-Border Privacy Enforcement Arrangement (CPEA), becoming the 11th Privacy Enforcement Authority (PEA) of the network. The Philippines joined other APEC economies in the network including Australia, Canada, Hong Kong, Japan, Mexico, New Zealand, South Korea, and the United States. The network is under the Cross-Border Privacy Rules (CBPR) System, a regional, multilateral initiative that facilitates information sharing, provides mechanisms to promote effective cross-border privacy cooperation, and encourages information sharing and cooperation with authorities outside the 21 APEC- member economies. Joining the CPEA also opens opportunities for the Philippine government to cooperate with other countries on information sharing and to help resolve issues regarding data privacy.  

Read more

Singapore 

SINGAPORE MOOTS STRICTER USE OF NATIONAL ID, BILL TO EASE DATA-SHARING WITHIN GOVERNMENT

The Singapore government is reviewing guidelines that limit the use of national identification numbers. The revisions to the advisory guidelines in the country’s Personal Data Protection Act (PDPA) pertain specifically to the collection, use and disclosure of NRIC numbers. The numbers, which are unique to each Singapore resident, currently are used widely to facilitate various functions, including gaining entry to buildings and signing up for customer loyalty programmes. A bill recently introduced in Singapore will support the government’s effort to better enable public sector agencies to share data with one another. The Public Sector (Governance) Act 2018 also will enable government agencies to share data amongst themselves as permitted under the data-sharing directive. 

Read more

South Korea

EU AND SOUTH KOREA INTENSIFY DATA PROTECTION COOPERATION EFFORTS

Officials representing Korean Commissioner for Justice, Consumers and Gender Equality, the Korea Communications Commission (KCC), and the Korea Internet & Security Agency (KISA) met in Brussels to exchange views on ways to further strengthen cooperation between the EU and Korea on data protection and data flows issues. The discussions recognized the work done by the KCC, KISA and the Directorate-General for Justice and Consumers of the European Commission, which has significantly strengthened the mutual understanding of the EU and Korean data protection systems. 

Both sides acknowledged that recent reforms of their respective privacy legislation have further increased the convergence between the EU and Korean data protection systems, which rests notably on a core set of data protection principles, enforceable individual rights and oversight by independent authorities. This offers new opportunities to further facilitate data exchanges, including through an adequacy finding. They agreed to intensify the efforts towards swiftly achieving this common objective in 2018.

Read more

Taiwan

TAIWAN INCREASES BACKGROUND SCREENING REQUIREMENT FOR FOREIGNER TEACHERS

The Supplementary Education Act will require Taiwanese teachers to submit police criminal record certificates and a “certificate of good conduct” for foreigners applying for work at cram schools in Taiwan. According to the Workforce Development Agency, the latter certificate must apply nationwide and is a document that proves that an applicant does not have a record of criminal offenses. In the United States, this FBI Identity History Summary could take 10-12 weeks to be processed. The background check applies to cram schools only and to those teachers who are applying for the first time. It also applies to teachers who have applied since June 16 or who have yet to complete their application process from an earlier date.

Read more

Europe

 

 France

ACCELERATED GDPR BILL “LIMITED IN SCOPE”

The Ministry of Justice has published a draft law to amend Act No. 78-17 on Data Processing, Data Files and Individual Liberties in light of the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) as well as the Data Protection Directive with Respect to Law Enforcement (Directive (EU). Marc Lempérière, Partner at Almain Avocats, noted that the draft law is “limited in its scope and leaves the task of redrafting the entire Act to the Government through ordinance procedures to increase its legibility and remedy problems of coherence with the rest of French legislation.” Therefore, French citizens will need to read the GDPR and the Act together to determine which legislative provisions are applicable. Lempérière noted that the draft law provides for prior authorizations for the use of genetic or biometric data by public authorities, allows data subjects to entrust the defense of their interests regarding infringements of the GDPR before the French data protection authority to associations, and that the French Government will issue a decree listing the data processing that are exempt from the obligation to notify data breaches in view of the risk this may represent to national security.

Read more 

Netherlands

DUTCH GOVERNMENT INTRODUCES GDPR IMPLEMENTATION BILL

The Dutch government has sent the GDPR Implementation Bill to the Parliament. The main theme of the bill is that the GDPR is implemented in a "policy-neutral manner,” meaning that the bill continues all current law, insofar as is allowed under the GDPR. The bill also re-establishes the Dutch Data Protection Authority (DPA) and governs its organization and additional powers. It also notes that the DPA will also be allowed to enforce the GDPR and the Implementation Act. One important part of the bill is several exceptions for the processing of special data in The Netherlands. While the current Data Protection Act contains specific exceptions per type of special data to be processed by a specific category of controllers or limit the processing of such data to specific purposes, all such exceptions are maintained in this bill.

Read more

United Kingdom

'STAGGERING' TRADE IN FAKE DEGREES REVEALED

Thousands of UK nationals have bought fake degrees from a multi-million pound "diploma mill" in Pakistan, a BBC Radio 4's File on Four programme investigation has found. Buyers include NHS consultants, nurses and a large defence contractor.

According to documents seen by BBC Radio 4's File on Four programme, more than 3,000 fake Axact qualifications were sold to UK-based buyers in 2013 and 2014, including master's degrees, doctorates and PhDs. The Department for Education said it was taking "decisive action to crack down on degree fraud" that "cheats genuine learners."

The General Medical Council (GMC) said it was up to employers to verify any qualifications additional to medical degrees. But Higher Education Degree Datacheck (HEDD) chief executive Jayne Rowley said only 20% of UK employers ran proper checks on applicants' qualifications.

And while purchasing a fake diploma was not illegal in the UK, using one to apply for employment constituted fraud by misrepresentation and could result in a 10-year prison sentence.

Read more

North America

Canada 2

DO YOU BELIEVE EVERYTHING IN A CANDIDATE’S CV? 

The Recruitment Risk Index by Xref recently found that 97% of Canadians denied asking a referee to exaggerate on their behalf but 68% of employers said they were convinced they were being lied to when they checked the references by phone. The survey said that 38% of those surveyed have been named by a friend for employment reference, but 50% suggest it’s more important to put forth a “good reference” versus a direct manager. Results also revealed that Facebook has more use for employers than LinkedIn or Google, those 30-49 are more likely to exaggerate details and millennial jobseekers are among the most anxious of those surveyed.

Read more

COURT UPHOLDS WORKPLACE DRUG POLICY 

The latest iteration regarding the debate over drug and alcohol testing in the workplace recently came in the form of a decision from the Alberta Court of Appeal in Suncor Energy Inc. and Unifor Local 707A. In 2012, Suncor began implementing random testing for workers in safety-sensitive positions at various sites. The arbitration panel that was implemented by Unifor, who grieved the testing as an infringement on the workers’ privacy, rejected Suncor’s argument, finding that evidence of a widespread substance abuse problem was not specific to a particular group of employees in question. But, in his judicial review, Justice Nixon found that the arbitration panel improperly focused on the lack of direct connection between Suncor’s evidence. The matter will return to the courts for fresh adjudication. 

Read more

HR LEADERS FRET OVER LAZY CANNABIS LAWS 

Employers and HR professionals are beginning to wonder how the legal changes regarding marijuana will affect the workforce. When recreational cannabis use becomes legal, will employers be required to allow the drug to be used on breaks? And how will work performance and disciplinary procedures change as a result? Because the definition of impairment has not clearly been provided, human resources officers are having trouble revising policies regarding the use of marijuana on the job.  

Read more

CANADA: CANNABIS LEGALIZATION IN CANADA – NUISANCE OR BUSINESS OPPORTUNITY? 

Canada will see the legal use and regulation of cannabis for recreational purposes become the norm sooner rather than later, but this change in law presents a host of new challenges and opportunities for individuals and businesses. The Cannabis Act, introduced by the federal government to regulate the production, distribution, sale and possession of cannabis, also sets out penalties for those acting outside the legal framework. While some see cannabis legalization as a public nuisance with the potential to cause damage to residences in which it is grown, others are seeing its distribution as a money-making opportunity, with a potential market size of $23 billion. 

Read more

United States

AZ BANS THE BOX FOR INITIAL STAGE AGENCY JOB APPLICATIONS

In November, Arizona Governor Doug Ducey signed an Executive Order that would provide more opportunities for Arizonans with criminal records. The Order prohibits state agencies from initially questioning applicants about their criminal records. Although it still allows state agencies to check the applicant’s criminal record after the applicant has received an initial interview, it does not apply to private Arizona employers. The state joins 29 others that are a part of the “Ban the Box” movement that prevents employers from asking about criminal records. 

Read more

ALBANY COUNTY, NEW YORK, PASSES SALARY HISTORY BAN

Albany County, New York, recently voted to amend the Albany County Human Rights Law to prohibit employers from requiring job applicants to provide prior or current salary information before offering them employment. The bill, which was signed into law in early November, will go into effect 30 days after it is filed with the New York Secretary of State. The law will prohibit employers with four or more employees and employment agencies from screening applicants based on their current or prior wages and prevents them from requiring that an applicant’s prior wages satisfy minimum or maximum criteria. It also prohibits employers from requesting or requiring that applicants disclose salary history information as a condition of being interviewed or considered for employment, and from seeking information about the current or prior salary of an applicant from his or her current or former employers. 

Read more

FINRA SLAMS J.P. MORGAN SECURITIES OVER BACKGROUND CHECK FAILURES

J.P. Morgan recently was fined $1.25 million by the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) for failing to conduct “timely or adequate background checks” on about 95% of its registered associated persons. The company failed to fingerprint 2,000 of its non-registered associated persons in a timely manner, preventing the firm from determining whether those persons could have been deemed unsuitable to work at the firm. In addition, the firm limited its screening to criminal convictions specified in federal banking laws and an internally created list for other non-registered associated persons. In total, FINRA alleged J.P. Morgan did not appropriately screen 8,600 individuals for all felony convictions or for disciplinary actions by financial regulators. 

Read more

AVIS SETTLES FCRA BACKGROUND CHECK LAWSUIT FOR $2.7 MILLION

Car rental company Avis recently filed its memorandum in support of final approval of a $2.7 million class action settlement to solve Fair Credit Reporting Act claims related to its background screening practices. Plaintiff Angela Fuller filed the suit, Angela Fuller v. Avis Budget Car Rental LLC, et al., No. 2:15-cv-03856, in June 2015, claiming she lost a job with Avis because of improper background check practices. She claims the company failed to provide an adverse action notice and stand-alone disclosure, as well as demonstrated improper reliance on a 1985 citation for alcohol possession. The class consists of 45,000 individuals who will receive cash payments of $20 to $695.

Read more

CONSUMER REPORTING AGENCY ACCUSED OF VIOLATING FCRA

Plaintiff Adam Alessi recently filed a complaint in U.S. District court for the Eastern District of California Sacramento Division against Equifax Information Services LLC, Experian Information Solutions Inc. and Herbert P. Sears Co. Inc., alleging they failed to take adequate steps to verify information. Alessi claims he suffered damages by loss of credit, loss of ability to purchase and benefit from credit, and the humiliation of credit denial when the defendants failed to follow procedures to assure maximum possible accuracy in preparation of his credit report. 

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FIX NICS ACT TO ENHANCE COMPLIANCE TO ENSURE ACCURACY OF EXISTING BACKGROUND CHECK SYSTEM FOR FIREARMS PURCHASES INTRODUCED

The Fix NICS Act recently was introduced by eight U.S. Senators to ensure federal and state authorities comply with existing law and accurately report relevant criminal history records to the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS). The bill directs more federal funding to the accurate reporting of domestic violence records, while penalizing federal agencies who fail to properly report relevant records.The Fix NICS Act requires federal agencies and states to produce NICS implantation plans focused on uploading all information to the background check system showing that a person is prohibited from purchasing or possessing firearms under current law, and holds agencies accountable for failing to do so. It will also reward states that comply with new regulations and reauthorizes and improves important law enforcement programs. 

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WAFFLE HOUSE JOB APPLICANTS CONSOLIDATE BACKGROUND CHECK CLASS ACTION

A class action lawsuit has been filed by Waffle House job applicants who claim the company violated the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA). The complaint consolidates claims brought by 23 plaintiffs in two Waffle House class action lawsuits filed earlier this year. Waffle House has been accused of using background checks to make employment decisions without giving job applicants the required notice and opportunity to explain or correct the information in those background checks. The first claim was filed in April and alleges that background screening company Public Data provided cheap services without FCRA compliance. In the second lawsuit, a 20-year employee claims he was denied a new job after he was never given the chance to explain or correct findings of a background check. 

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DOT UPDATES DRUG TESTING PANEL TO INCLUDE OPIOIDS

Effective January 1, 2018, opioids will be included in the drug testing program of the Federal Department of Transportation (DOT). Testing will now include hydrocodone, hydromorphone, oxymorphone and oxycodone and applies not only to specimen testing validity values, but also to initial and confirmatory testing values. Methylendioxyamphetamine has been added as an initial test analyte, while methylenedioxyethylamphetamine has been removed as a confirmatory test analyte. The revisions harmonize DOT testing with the US Department of Health and Human Services’ (HHS) Mandatory Guidelines that were revised earlier this year. 

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FMCSA EXPANDS ITS DRUG TESTING PANEL EFFECTIVE JANUARY 1, 2018

The U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration will expand its drug testing panel to include four synthetic opioid drugs: hydrocodone, hydromorphone, oxycodone and oxymorphone. Methylenedioxyethylamphetamine has been removed as a confirmatory test analyte, while methylenedioxyamphetamine has been added as an initial test analyte. The changes will coincide with recent changes to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Mandatory Guidelines for Federal Workplace Drug Testing Programs, which take effect Jan. 1. The addition of opioid drugs is intended to address the nationwide epidemic of prescription painkiller abuse. 

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EMPLOYERS CAN EXPECT NEW PROBLEMS WHEN RECREATIONAL MARIJUANA HITS NEW JERSEY

Until recently, cannabis use in the state of New Jersey has been limited to medicinal purposes only, under the Compassionate Use Medical Marijuana Act (CUMMA). But changes in administration could bring with it the legalization of recreational use of marijuana in 2018. Bill S3195 will allow for the possession of up to one ounce of dried marijuana, 16 ounces of edible cannabis products and 72 ounces of cannabis in liquid form. Like CUMMA, though, the bill does not require any New Jersey employer to permit or accommodate marijuana use in the workplace, but it does create a separate cause of action making it unlawful for employers to take “any adverse employment action” against an employee merely because that person uses marijuana. 

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AS BAN THE BOX SPREADS, PRIVATE EMPLOYERS STILL HAVE QUESTIONS

Fuelled by the “ban the box” movement that removed the box that asks about criminal history in 29 states and 150 counties or cities, many small businesses are considering fair chance employment. The Center for Economic and Policy Research has revealed that when people with records can’t find employment, the gross domestic product (GDP) is affected by up to $87 billion per year. But many small businesses fear that fair-hiring laws will expose them to litigation when they choose not to hire a candidate. The National Bureau of Economic Research has added to the argument against banning the box, revealing that banning the box means that employers now are making biased assumptions, hurting the chances of minority candidates. 

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IN THE CONTINUING BATTLE OVER STANDING, FAIR CREDIT REPORTING ACT CLASS ACTION PLAINTIFFS MUST SHOW ACTUAL INJURY FOR FAILURE TO PROVIDE STAND ALONE NOTICE

Employers who don’t comply with regulations of the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA), including for violations like failure to provide notice to applicants in a stand-alone format and getting written permission before running the background check, could face expensive and time-consuming class action lawsuits of up to $1,000 per violation. But, after the “concrete injury” Supreme Court decision in Spokeo, Inc. v. Robins, federal courts have a heightened sensitivity to standing issues and have a new sense of protection as a result. If no harm can be demonstrated, employers can breathe easy, even if they have made a mistake.

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ALERT:  CALIFORNIA'S STATEWIDE "BAN THE BOX" LAW GOES INTO EFFECT JANUARY 1

In January 2018, California will join several other states and major cities who have prohibited private employers from asking candidates about their criminal histories before an offer has been made. Inquiries will be acceptable only after an offer has been made. More specifically, the law makes it unlawful for California employers with five or more employees to include any questions regarding conviction history; inquire into or consider an applicant’s criminal history before a conditional offer has been made; and consider, distribute, or disseminate information relating to arrests that didn’t result in conviction, referral to a diversion program or convictions that have been sealed, dismissed, expunged or statutorily erased. 

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STATES AND CITIES LINE UP TO BAN SALARY HISTORY QUESTIONS

While the laws regarding asking job applicants about their salary histories vary between jurisdictions, they generally aim to prevent employers from asking salary-related questions or from screening job candidates based on salary histories until after an offer is formally made. Some laws include the prohibition of contacting an applicant’s former company without the candidate’s written consent and, in California, employers must provide applicants with the pay scale assigned to the relevant position. States, cities, counties and localities that have put into place or have plans to implement such laws include Delaware, Albany County, California, Puerto Rico, San Francisco, Massachusetts, and Philadelphia. 

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TITLE VII CONCERNING EMPLOYER CRIMINAL RECORDS CHECKS

Following the 2012 Equal Employment Opportunity Commission’s (EEOC) update, “Enforcement Guidance on the Consideration of Arrest and Conviction Records in Employment Decisions Under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964,” the EEOC has continued to enforce activities relating to employment criminal records checks. The EEOC suit against Dollar General signifies the resolve to continue to litigate broad background-check-related cases notwithstanding its very public failings in other such cases. The court left open the possibility that the EEOC may have further identified “the less discriminatory alternative” practices (LDAs) via its expert once Dollar General’s expert explains why its policy regarding African-American applicants is job-related and consistent with business necessity.

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THE IMPACT OF THE HHS AND DOT REGULATORY UPDATES ON STATE DRUG TESTING

The Federal Department of Transportation (DOT) recently issued a final ruling to its alcohol and drug testing regulations, which will go into effect on Jan. 1, 2018. The revisions harmonize DOT testing regulations with the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), which published new regulations that modify mandated federal drug testing programs in October. These organizations have an impact on more than 20 states, due to the wording of many state drug testing laws that require compliance with federal guidelines, such as Kansas, Louisiana and Puerto Rico, which require Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration guidelines. Businesses are advised to become aware of state laws and requirements.

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PHMSA RAISES RANDOM DRUG TESTING RATE TO 50% FOR 2018

The U.S. Department of Transportation’s Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) will increase its minimum random drug testing rate by 50% for the upcoming calendar year. Those who operate gas, hazardous liquid, and carbon dioxide pipelines and operators of liquefied natural gas facilities will be required to randomly select and test a percentage of all covered employees. In 2016, the random drug test positive test rate was greater than 1%. 

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DOT NOTICE PROVIDES GUIDANCE ON HOW THE USE OF MEDICAL MARIJUANA WILL AFFECT DRUG TESTING RESULTS

In an updated “Medical Marijuana Notice,” the Department of Transportation (DOT) stated that the use of medical marijuana, pursuant to state law, does not constitute a legitimate medical reason for a positive drug test. The Notice makes it clear that marijuana remains illegal under federal law and DOT expects that Medical Review Officers (MROs) will treat its use as illegal. In addition, “MROs will not verify a drug test as negative based upon information that a physician recommended that the employee use ‘medical marijuana.’” As such, even when a non-DOT regulated employee tells the MRO that he or she is certified to use medicinal marijuana, the test results still will be certified as positive. 

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NEW I-9 FAQS ON TRANSGENDER EMPLOYEES, E-VERIFY TIME ZONE ISSUES, CLOSING CASES AND MORE!

Five recent Form I-9 and E-Verify updates will lead to changes in compliance procedures and processes for the upcoming year. The United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has confirmed updates and changes regarding “Form I-9 and Transgender Employees,” space issues for “Additional Other Last Names Used,” “E-Verify Time Zone Guidance,” “E-Verify TNC Guidance,” and “E-Verify Automation Guidance.” 

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