COVID-19 Update: Despite court closures in many areas, Sterling is still able to complete criminal checks with minimal disruption thanks to our proprietary end-to-end automation that allows us to access court information. For additional info on how Sterling is handling the COVID-19 situation, please visit our COVID-19 page.

August 11th, 2016 | Sterling

Massachusetts Enacts New Legislation Affecting Background Screening

Massachusetts Enacts New Legislation Affecting Background Screening

Massachusetts, while home to many American staples such as Harvard, Salem and the Boston Red Sox, ranks among the smallest states in the US. Despite its size, it’s making a big impact when it comes the world of background screening. Over the course of the past couple of weeks, the state has made two big announcements changing the way employers need to think when it comes to their background screening needs.

The first change relates to the common job application question, “what’s your current salary?” It’s a simple question that can cause uneasiness for all parties; the candidates feel it may affect their potential negotiation strategy, while employers feel it may give them an advantage when determining what to offer their candidate. However, according to CNN Money, a new law has been passed stating that “employers will have to wait until after they extend a formal offer, that includes compensation, to ask about a potential hire’s salary history. The law, which goes into effect July 2018, also allows workers to openly discuss their salaries without retaliation from their employer.”

The main reason behind this change is to close the wage-gap between genders, noting that “women earned 82 cents for every dollar a male earned in 2014” in Massachusetts, which is three cents higher when compared to the national level of 79 cents. When it comes to pre-screening your employees it is crucial to ensure that you’re remaining compliant to avoid potential lawsuits and respect the laws put into place for candidates.

In addition to this law, the Massachusetts Governor’s office signed a new bill putting a framework in place for Transportation Network Companies (TNC), such as Uber and Lyft. As of August 5, 2016, the bill “provides for the Massachusetts Department of Public Utilities (DPU) to have regulatory authority over TNCs, establishes minimum disqualifying offenses for drivers, and requires companies to maintain active rosters of their drivers who must undergo a full state Criminal Offender Record Information (CORI) background check, including sex offender registry status, and a bi-annual national commercial background check conducted by the TNC company,” according to the press release.

The release goes on to state that:

“With the signing of this bill into law, we in Massachusetts have created a framework for the TNC industry to continue to grow and thrive in the Commonwealth, while producing a bill that is second to none when it comes to public safety and consumer protections,” said Joint Committee on Financial Services Chair, State Representative Aaron Michlewitz (D-Boston). “It is my belief that other states who have not yet dealt with this issue will look to Massachusetts as the model as they undertake their own legislation with regard to TNCs…”

With the recent changes in Massachusetts law, or any state for that matter, it is crucial to stay up-to-date on the latest backgrounds screening trends, laws and compliance standards. Regardless of where your program currently stands, we’re here to help you with all of your background screening needs. And a great place to start is by signing up for our newsletter, bringing you industry updates and best practices for screening employment every month.

In addition, you can download our Background Screening 101 eBook to help you get started.

Background Screening 101 eBook

This publication is for informational purposes only and nothing contained in it should be construed as legal advice. We expressly disclaim any warranty or responsibility for damages arising out this information. We encourage you to consult with legal counsel regarding your specific needs. We do not undertake any duty to update previously posted materials.