Wow, the new year really took off, didn’t it? We’ve flipped the desk calendars to February (already?!), it’s time to check back in with the evolving legislative, regulatory, and litigation environments affecting employers’ background screening, hiring, and retention efforts.
Yeah, we’re talking about COMPLIANCE.
What will 2024 bring and how can HR departments, staffing agencies, recruiters, and others adapt? This is a topic given continual attention here at Asurint, and we’ve compiled a list of top trends every company should be aware of.
The best part, our legal expert and general counsel Kelly Uebel recorded her most recent webinar, “Top Trends: Background Screening in 2024,” in which she breaks down the issues and answers specific questions employers like you brought to the table. (Her compliance team also released a companion whitepaper, "Top Trends in 2024: Background Screening and Hiring Impacts"—be sure to get that here.) We’re proud to say Kelly takes it up a notch with informative and (dare we say this about compliance?) interesting insights—definitely worth 60 minutes to watch or listen!
Here's an overview of a few of the issues she tackled.
California on our minds
California may be on the West Coast but it often feels like the center of the country, at least from a compliance perspective. Will the array of new bills and laws emanating from the Golden State shift the labor landscape again?
Absolutely critical for employers operating, recruiting, or hiring in California:
- Time to update your adverse action letter? The California Civil Rights Department (CDR) is poised for an active year of enforcement when it comes to the Fair Chance Act. Employers will want to check out what the CDR is up to—as well as the resources its published for employers and candidates alike. Catch Kelly’s summary here.
- Revising job qualifications and integrating individual candidate assessments. Individual assessments are already required under federal guidance. California, however, has upped the ante with a “first-of-its-kind” lawsuit alleging a grocery store unfairly denied opportunities by including unnecessary requirements for jobs and failing to perform individual assessments. All employers that touch California will want to take note. Is it time to review your hiring practices with your legal counsel?
- Overhauling marijuana screening policies, if they might touch on legal personal use. If an employee uses marijuana off site and after hours, it’s basically not an employer’s business anymore, according to California law. Finding non-psychoactive metabolites—which is what the common blood and urine tests for cannabis react to—cannot legally be taken into consideration with regards to employment, be it hiring or retention (with some exceptions). It’s time to revisit the Drug Free Workplace (or start with our Marijuana and Beyond webinar, available here).
That’s not all Kelly speaks to in our Top Trends 2024 webinar. She also highlights other California activity employers will want to review, such as the launch of California’s criminal record expungement efforts and likely impacts on the background reports you’ll be seeing. Watch Now.
Marijuana blows up (again)
It wouldn’t be an Asurint compliance webinar without talking about our favorite: marijuana. Last year, statehouses were on fire with legislation, and 2024 appears to be ushering in more of the same. Indiana alone has seen at least nine (nine!) marijuana bills up for consideration. Tennessee is looking at the issue, although the outcome is anyone’s guess, while Wisconsin might finally take action permitting (at a minimum) medical marijuana.
Other states, like Massachusetts, are considering marijuana testing restrictions, record expungement efforts, and other limits on how employers take cannabis into account.
Where will it all head? Check out Kelly’s insights here.
“Clean slate” clears more criminal records
You’ve heard of second chance laws and fair chance hiring initiatives. Now several states are seeking to take criminal justice reform to the next level. The idea is to allow individuals to have their criminal history wiped clean (thus the “clean slate” nomenclature) in certain circumstances. It’s a complex topic and states’ approaches vary widely, making this issue one to watch carefully.
Right now, California, New York, and Colorado are leading the charge, with clean slate laws in effect or taking effect this year. But jurisdictions, like Vermont, are also examining criminal justice reform, which could result in broader access to record expungement in general.
Inevitably, the criminal histories employers rely on for hiring decisions will be affected. What’s more, there could be background check delays if implementation of new laws gets messy, (as it did in Michigan in 2023!).
Fingers crossed that other states learned from the Wolverines and can make provide a more level playing field while still empowering employers to act fast!
More compliance topics, more resources
Those are just three of the five important trends Kelly covers in this year’s Top Trends compliance webinar. The discussion also includes an analysis of recent litigation. It’s getting expensive out there, so you’ll want to understand who the plaintiff’s bar is targeting and, most importantly, why. Suffice it to say here, many lawsuits are swirling around the Fair Credit Reporting Act at the federal level, while a variety of state laws are entangling employers in court cases as well.
Also on the webinar agenda is information about recent Consumer Financial Protection Bureau rulemaking activity and the possible impacts on the background screening industry. Spoiler alert—if certain rules are enacted as currently written, it could be incredibly impactful for the background screening industry. That could be challenging news for employers, so definitely tune in for Kelly’s predictions!
Compliance probably isn’t everyone’s favorite topic, but we hope webinars like this one make it easy and even enjoyable to get caught up on the latest changes.
Keeping you informed is part of our overarching compliance promise and central to everything we do at Asurint. So check back here on the regular for details about a legislative, regulatory, and litigation world that just won’t sit still.