What Are Your HR Compliance Priorities for 2018?
By Danilio Davila, LPI, RACR, FCRA Basic Certification
Executive Director, GroupOne
The career of an HR leader and practitioner is filled with exciting opportunities to increase employee engagement, expand the learning and growth opportunity of their workforce and continue to raise the value of human capital in a results oriented society. In the upcoming 12 months, each of us will be asked to project and create strategies to address a human capital growth opportunity within our organizations and at the same time we will also be asked to be vigilant in our effort to acquire the best talent available, ensure that you have safe and validated workforce and continue to provide assurances that the workforce is not a danger to their clients, nor to each other. We must be considerate and aware of both the strategic, tactical and compliant roles that are expected of us so that our knowledge and skill can be utilized effectively in our organizations.
Changes to the landscape, as we see it now, will be noticeable in some areas of the country and as a rule it’s important that each of us understands how changes in compliance, fair hiring practice, and employment expectations are going to impact our operations and processes. Of the 386 current bills that the National Association of Professional Background Screening legislative relations and grassroots team is tracking, the primary issues surround: Data Security (56 bills) Ban the Box (40 bills) and Salary History (38 bills). Other legislative priorities are Taxes/Budgets, Sexual Harassment, Fair Pay, Firearms, and Immigration. According to SHRM (Society for Human Resource Management) other priorities are focused on addressing the convenience and flexibility in providing onboarding services prior to day one, the increased attention placed on training leaders on sexual harassment compliance, and increased compliance in understanding immigration, employment Visas and I9 policies.
Increased measures to ensure the safety and security of private information is at the forefront of consumer reporting agencies such as GroupOne, as it should be. Increased compliance with data security standards will be increased because of the Equifax data breach. State legislators and data brokers are increasing the compliance reviews and audits of both consumer reporting agencies, and clients to ensure that systems and processes are compliant with data security standards. Of the 389-ongoing state, legislative bills tracked by NAPBS, 59 of the bills are focused on data security. While the responsibility of data security largely is monitored and managed by organizational information systems departments, human resource teams will be expected to be vigilant in their adherence to data security standards.
Ban the Box
While “Ban the Box” laws should be consistent with the Fair Credit Reporting Act and the Fair Chance Pledge, there is an amount of discernment of how the legislation in various states is impacted by local government officials. In New York City, there is currently written and verbal engagement with the Commission on Human Rights as they work on updating their Fair Chance Act interpretations. The primary point of concern to consumer reporting agencies, and hiring entities is the addition of two major steps in the hiring process. The New York Commission on Human Rights reads the statute to require a two-step background check process based on the law’s requirement that criminal inquires cannot be made until after a conditional offer of employment is extended. In lieu of submitting one consumer release and disclosure to request a background report that would include both the criminal report and employment verification report, as it is done right now, the proposal changes recommend the separation of the two processes and require a separate disclosure and release for criminal reporting purposes and a separate disclosure and release for employment verification purposes. These proposed adjustments are being addressed by NAPBS and a coalition of influential stakeholders such as employers in the region.
There are at least 39 bills related to salary history in progress across the current states that have legislature sessions in action. On January 1, applications for employment in California may no longer ask applicants to disclose their criminal history or their salary history. The reason to ban discussion of an applicant’s prior salary is to avoid considering past salary levels that may have influenced by gender. In October 2017, New York City passed a law that makes it unlawful discriminatory practice to ask about or make a statement for determining, the salary history of an applicant or to rely on the salary history, benefits or other compensation for such applicant, including during the negotiation of a contract. There were bills in Oregon, Idaho, Washington, Montana, Iowa, North Carolina, Virginia, Vermont, Rhode Island, Connecticut, New Jersey, Maryland and the District of Columbia that addressed salary history provisions for employers. This movement is becoming magnified by the advancement of equal pay amendments and efforts to ensure fair and balanced treatment of all applicants regardless of gender.
Budget/Taxes; Sexual Harassment; Firearms; and Immigration
The HR industry and hospital leaders must also be keenly aware of how our nation’s climate is also impacting the policies, actions and behaviors that are managed by your leaders. The effort to reduce taxes and regulate state, county and federal budgets will impact the court houses that produce the criminal records that contribute to the timely completion of criminal background reports. The background industry has seen how this can impact delays in the completion of reports in Massachusetts; counties such as Worchester and other counties experience unduly long delays in producing their criminal reports due to the lack of personnel addressing these items within the court systems. This issue is currently addressed with the legislative branch that oversees this functionality.
The topic of Sexual Harassment will create an increase in management and staff training to ensure compliance and attention to this serious employee concern, however, other byproducts that will be impacted from the attention given to Sexual Harassment will be the termination of employment reasons provided by employers in the event employees violate and are terminated for sexual harassment violations. From a consumer reporting agency perspective, we are obliged to report the facts as presented by an employer. The reporting function of an employees’ termination will also impact whether a person who is cited for violation of possession andxgffg/or use of firearms will also become a growing topic among employee relations personnel.
Due to the increased implementation of immigration controls and adherence to ensuring that I9 employment verification forms are completed with attention to reducing the risk of hiring candidates without official employment related documentation. Employers will rely upon third party sources to ensure their process are monitored and reviewed constantly to ensure the non-hiring of non-eligible for employment candidates. In addition, post-employment rechecks, sanction/exclusion rechecks are increasing in expectation to ensure the workforce has not been compromised.
The growing expectation to ensure fairness among the human resource landscape will increase due to our nation’s growing concerns regarding equal pay, fair hiring practices, immigration control and compliance with your industry standards. It is critical for each of us to continuously inform ourselves and keep abreast of these rapid changes to our employment policies, legislation and updated business practices. There is no one stop shop to provide a solution to these opportunities. Human resource professionals along with senior leaders in your organizations will need to thoughtfully explore methods and practices that will ensure your employees are addressed with dignity and support as they contribute to your organizations’ ultimate performance goals and standards.