The background screening industry hasn’t always been the same and over the years there have been a number of scenarios that have impacted hiring standards and practices for employers. As background screening is here to stay, employers have to ensure they are maintaining compliance with their hiring practices to keep their workplace safe and void of any risks. Some key trends that cause changes in practices and that employers should be aware of include the following:
Instant Background Checks
A growing trend with the employment screening industry is the use of commercially compiled databases, also known as instant background checks or “national criminal database searches.” These types of checks are a quicker way of running background checks and may save a few dollars, but many employers are unaware of their true inaccuracy and credibility. Since they aren’t corroborated against any official county court record, they can often return with error-filled information as they are not from a verified source. Employers who choose to use an instant background check can face greater risks of fines and lawsuits as the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) requires specific guidelines to be followed. DISA Global Solutions uses a more encompassing check by using the information derived from a database search to source jurisdictions where applicants may have a history, then pairs it with information from other products or services to verify the data.
Frequently employers will pair background screening procedures with drug and alcohol testing, whether that’s pre-employment, Randoms, etc., which can affect an individual’s eligibility to obtain and/or hold a job. Some industries hold safety-sensitive positions, which are regulated by the Department of Transportation (DOT) and require different standards for background screening procedures. Employers who have an employee who is regulated under the DOT are required to obtain DOT drug and alcohol testing history. With the legalization of marijuana changing state-by-state, this is often a vital procedure for employers, especially those with safety-sensitive positions. As the laws surrounding the legalization of medical and recreational marijuana change, employers need to ensure that their employees are not under the influence or using drugs while on the job, which could pose a great hazard in the workplace. The DOT has specific regulations set in place for safety-sensitive employees and updates to the latest policies so employers can maintain compliance. By obtaining an employee’s DOT drug and alcohol testing history, the employer is able to gain a better understanding of the individual and analyze any former marks against their testing history which could pose a risk in their workplace.
The September 11th terrorist attacks left an impact on background screening procedures by adding provisions to the way government sanctions list checks are ran. The Patriot Act Search was passed in 2001 in response to the attacks to improve the abilities of U.S. law enforcement in detecting and deterring terrorism. This act simply expanded the processes that were already in place for drug dealers and organized crime. For employers hiring for safety-sensitive positions this helps set higher standards as it prevents individuals with certain criminal histories from entering the workplace. DISA uses the following grading scale ranging from 00 to 07 when running criminal history checks to determine if the applicant is on a government sanctions list. A hit of 07 will indicate that the person was found to be on the current government sanctions list (specially designated nationals, terrorists, narcotics traffickers, blocked persons, etc.). If the person is applying for a safety-sensitive position and the background check reveals that they are on a government sanctions list, they would not be deemed as an acceptable candidate for the position.
DISA’s Contractors Consortium (DCC) Criminal Grading Requirements
00 – Clear record
01 – Non-violent misdemeanors
02 – Violent misdemeanors
03 – Lesser felonies
04 – Felonies in 03 and misdemeanors in 02
05 – Higher felonies 06 – Felonies in 05 and misdemeanors in 02
07 – Patriot Act hits or invalid SSN
As background screening practices evolve over time, it’s important that employers remain up-to-date on the latest changes. DISA offers comprehensive background screening solutions so that you’ll always stay abreast with the current state laws, procedure amendments, and how to maintain best practices. Our professionals can assist you with creating a custom background screening package that meets all your industry needs and remain compliant.