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.

March 22nd, 2017 | Debbie Lamb, Sterling Talent Solutions

Leveraging Technology for The Continually Changing Regulatory Landscape

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The background screening industry is highly regulated by rules which protect both prospective candidates and the background screening companies. The industry is regulated by legislation on all levels of government from federal to state to local districts. The variety of rules can be overwhelming to an employer, and if regulations are not complied with properly, an organization might have to deal with penalties. To ensure the rights of applicants and employees are respected, organizations should be aware of their obligations and develop background checking policies that take into account their particular needs, risk tolerance and legal obligations. The key to minimizing the legal risk associated with background screening checks, especially criminal record checks, is having a well-thought out hiring policy in place that accounts for applicable legislation and guidance from rules under the Federal Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) and the Equal Opportunity Commission (EEOC)

Continuous Compliance Ruling and Updates

Sterling keeps up to date with the latest court and commission rulings that affect the employment background screening industry. There have been many adjustments to regulations based on changes to local, state and federal laws. For example, in the November 2016 election, four states passed legalizing marijuana use while many others approved medical marijuana usage. Many cities and states are passing “ban the box” recent legislations, others cities, such as Los Angeles, are going one step further than “ban the box,” by passing the Fair Chance Initiative for Hiring. Washington D.C.’s council is debating new legislation limiting the use of a credit report results as a basis for hiring decisions. There are even federal and state court rulings that affect federal legislation such as the FCRA. In January, the federal government updated the Form I-9, an important document that needs to be filled out by all employees across the country. All these changes have an effect on employee hiring, screening and onboarding processes.

Leveraging Technology to Be Compliant

Sterling leverages technology and automation to streamline common tasks for faster screening turnaround and more effective on onboarding. Technology is at the heart of everything that we do. Sterling is committed to delivering the highest quality background checks combined with the fastest service in the industry. We invest in cutting-edge technologies and are constantly innovating new practices and processes at every opportunity.

Our cloud-based, proprietary technology platform, SterlingONE, unifies job candidate orders and data into a single, unified workflow so organizations can easily place orders, manage tasks, monitor status and view candidate records. SterlingONE is highly secure and regularly updated to meet the ever-changing compliance standards allowing our clients to manage their background screening programs seamlessly.

Ongoing Commitment to Compliance

Sterling has an ongoing commitment to compliance. To be compliant with new laws, we continuously perform updates to SterlingONE to give a better overall user experience as well as be in line with the latest regulation changes. Because of the changes in state marijuana laws, we made updates to our drug screening tests giving flexibility and control for an employer to pick and choose what drug screening tests they want to have based on their employee drug screening policy. The platform updates also allow companies to stay compliant with different state laws across the nation while still providing candidates with a fair hire/screen process. SterlingONE provides a better candidate experience and a smoother onboarding process while at the same time helps to avoid delays in hiring dates.

Organizations who are concerned that they might not be in compliance with local, state and federal guidelines should review their current screening policies and talk to legal counsel. Companies have to take action to comply with the regulations by talking to legal counsel and having a third party employment screening company that is current on the updated guidelines. Sterling continually stays up-to-date on how EEOC findings and new federal, state and local regulations will impact employment background screening companies.

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.