Welcome, autumn! During this time of back-to-school and changing leaves, we wanted to touch base with our clients, colleagues and friends, to pass on some information we hope will be helpful to you and your business.
It's a busy time of year for everyone, and we wish you well. I hope you will contact us if there is anything we can do to help you make this season more productive.
A Quick Decoding of the FCRA for Employers
What is the FCRA?
The Fair Credit Reporting Act is an 86 page document that explains the federal regulations regarding information accessed by a Consumer Reporting Agency (CRA) or Reseller involving credit /consumer reports on applicants for loans, employment and/or other permissible purposes.
Doesn't it relate to credit reports only?
Although many people mistakenly believe that the FCRA refers to credit reports only, criminal background screening and other information is included.
Per the FCRA:
The Act applies to "information by a consumer reporting agency bearing on a consumer's credit worthiness, credit standing, credit capacity, character, general reputation, personal characteristics, or mode of living which is used or expected to be used or collected in whole or in part for the purpose of serving as a factor in establishing the consumer's eligibility for" obtaining credit, obtaining employment, or other specified reasons.
What does this mean to employers?
The FCRA only applies to information that you receive from a 3rd party CRA, not to public records you search out yourself.
Do I need consent from the applicant?
Absolutely - when you are using a consumer reporting agency. A consent form must be signed by the applicant that clearly states what information will be collected and by what means.
What else do I need to provide?
You must also provide the applicant with "A Summary of your Rights under the FCRA" which explains what to do if they believe the information provided is inaccurate.
How far back can the Reporting Agency report records?
The federal rule per the FCRA is 7 years on all records except convictions. (Some states have adopted different requirements, most notably California which cannot use any records past 7 years for employment decisions.)
What if I find adverse information on my applicant's report?
You must provide a Pre-Adverse Action Letter and copy of the report if you find information that could lead to action against the applicant, and an Adverse Action Letter and a copy of the report if you intend to take any action against the applicant (such as not hiring them) based on their records. This gives the applicant an opportunity to dispute the records if they believe they are inaccurate.
DOT Changes in Drug Panel Requirements
This information is provided by Quest Diagnostics, one of our drug screening partners.
HHS/DOT Mandatory Guidelines - Drug Testing Panel Changes
On October 1, 2010, the Department of Health & Human Services' (HHS) new Mandatory Guidelines, and corresponding Department of Transportation (DOT) 49 CFR Part 40 Rules are scheduled to take affect. With this change, MDMA (Ecstasy) and 6-Acetylmorphine (Heroin-specific metabolite) will become required screens in regulated panels. Additionally, the screening and confirmation cutoffs for cocaine and amphetamines will be lowered.
When the HHS Mandatory Guidelines take affect, we will implement the following panel changes:
DOT regulated panels - test panels will automatically transfer to the new HHS/DOT panel on October 1, 2010 and pricing increases of $1.00 per DOT screen will take affect.
Non-Federally mandated, 5-panel drug testing - test panels will NOT change unless you request it. If you wish to incorporate these changes into your current panels, please contact us at 888-833-5304.
New Product for Fleet Management
If your company has drivers, you are likely to run yearly Motor Vehicle Reports. While yearly Motor Vehicle Reports are a great resource, what happens if the driver has activity on their report before the next year?
If your driver has a DUI, speeding ticket, or other traffic violation, will you know?
Occuscreen now offers a fleet management product which can send alertsfor any traffic violations on existing drivers.
Our new service automates and streamlines the way employers monitor their drivers and manage driving records. Fleet Alert automatically checks, tracks, organizes and pinpoints important driving record notifications of new driving violations, DUI convictions, license suspensions, cancellations, revocations and approaching license renewal dates. Notices with summarized details of new occurrences will be provided to specified account managers/risk managers each month so appropriate actions may be taken to avoid costly claims, negative press coverage and administrative costs.
If this is something that would benefit your company, please contact Occuscreen at 888-833-5304 for more information.
Illegal Drug Use Highest in a Decade
The Associated Press reports that use of marijuana, meth and ecstasy have risen sharply even since last year.
Gil Kerlikowske, the director of the Office of National Drug Control Policy, called the 9 percent increase in drug use disappointing but not surprising given "eroding attitudes" about the perception of harm from illegal drugs and the growing number of states approving medicinal marijuana.
"I think all of the attention and the focus of calling marijuana medicine has sent the absolute wrong message to our young people," Kerlikowske said in an interview.
The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), in its annual report, found marijuana use rose by 8 percent and remained the most commonly used drug.
The rise in marijuana use comes as California voters prepare to decide in November whether to legalize the drug. The Associated Press-CNBC polled Americans earlier this year and found that most people still oppose legalizing marijuana, but many believe it has medical benefits and want the government to allow its use for that purpose only.
Question of the day: Doesn't a National Criminal Database Search cover all records in all states? Why can't I just run that for a background check?
The National Criminal Database (or any database) is a repository for records, dependent on records being deposited. There are no regulations that require all states and counties to participate, or to update records on a regular basis. Not all states and counties participate, and not all records are updated regularly. To be legally defensible, run the County Criminal Record Checks for the last seven years, and use the National Criminal Database as a supplement, for a chance to find records outside of the counties of residence.
Occuscreen has been offering full menu drug and background screening services to employers nationwide since 1991, including:
- Drug Screening and MRO Services
- County Criminal Records Searches
- National Criminal Database Searches
- Sex Offender Registry Searches
- Motor Vehicle Records
- Education and Employment Verifications
- Employment Credit Reports
- Online I-9 verification
- Terrorist Watch List
- and more...
Please contact us if you would like to discuss your employment screening requirements.