Video Intro Bacground ChecksWhen making personnel decisions - including hiring, retention, promotion, and reassignment - employers sometimes want to consider the backgrounds of applicants and employees.

For example, some employers might try to find out about the person's work history, education, criminal record, financial history, medical history, or use of social media. Except for certain restrictions related to medical and genetic information, it's not illegal for an employer to ask questions about an applicant's or employee's background, or to require a background check.

If you get background information (for example, a credit or criminal background report) from a company in the business of compiling background information, there are additional procedures the FCRA requires beforehand:

Tell the applicant or employee you might use the information for decisions about his or her employment. This notice must be in writing and in a stand-alone format. The notice can't be in an employment application. You can include some minor additional information in the notice (like a brief description of the nature of consumer reports), but only if it doesn't confuse or detract from the notice.

Get the applicant's or employee's written permission to do the background check. This can be part of the document you use to notify the person that you will get the report. If you want the authorization to allow you to get background reports throughout the person's employment, make sure you say so clearly and conspicuously.

Use background check services that are FCRA compliant.

The Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) is fairly clear on what you can and cannot do as part of a background check with regards to credit information. Nearly all background checks are governed by the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA), but you should know that there are an array of other laws that affect them, depending on state and region.

Get legal advice on how local and state laws govern your use of background checks.

Several states laws limit employers use of arrest and conviction records to make employment decisions. These laws may prohibit employers from asking about arrest records or require employers to wait until late in the hiring process to ask about conviction records. Get legal advice on basic criminal history laws for each state.

Give candidates a chance to clear up mistakes or misunderstandings with background checks.

Information obtained through background checks can sometimes be slightly incorrect and even outright wrong. Giving candidates a chance to rectify or explain incorrect information can help you save a great candidate that could have been excluded.

Use background checks consistently not on a candidate-by-candidate basis.

Apply the same background check process to every candidate you interview for the role. Applying it selectively to only candidates form a specific background or experience level can cause unintended legal consequences if it is shown to be a proxy for illegal discrimination. Outside of this, waving some candidates through based on gut feeling defeats the purpose of doing a background check to protect your company.

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Law PosterBoth state and federal labor law posters are required for businesses. If a business has one or more employees, it is required by the law to post federal, state and OSHA mandatory posters. More specifically, the following six postings must appear in each workplace location: federal minimum wage, Employee Polygraph Protection, OSHA, FMLA, USERRA, and EEO. You may purchase them individually or together on an all-in-one labor law poster.

Where should Posters Be Placed?

Labor law posters should be displayed somewhere apparent to all employees on a daily basis, such as a break room or main lobby. If you have multiple locations, then each workplace should display its own posters.

When Are Posters Not Needed?

Although it is recommended, the following types of businesses do not need to post labor law posters:

  • Sole Proprietor without employees
  • Businesses with only contract employees
  • Businesses with an all-volunteer work force
  • Family owned business where ALL employees are related

Do my posters need to be multilingual?

If you have a business that is located in Arizona, California, Florida, Georgia, New Mexico, North Carolina, New York or Texas you will have to post both Spanish and English versions of the posters. If your business is not in one of these states, then it is not mandatory for you to display the bilingual posters; however, it is a smart thing to do if you employee Spanish-speaking workers.

Do I have to change my posters every year?

The frequency of Labor Laws varies by state. Employers must change posters when the State, Federal or OSHA agencies make legislative or regulatory changes.  The most expected update to occur is state minimum wage rates.

What is the penalty for failing to display Labor Law posters?

Federal and State fines are imposed by various agencies. These fines may vary.

  • Federal FMLA $100 per offense.
  • For failing to post the Federal OSHA Poster - A civil penalty of up to $7,000 may occur.

Unsure if you are compliant?  Need help finding the forms, posters, or guidance?  Contact your HR Advisor today!

HomerFor nearly 30 years Homer Simpson has been a big part of Sector 7-G at the Springfield Nuclear Power Plant. We can only assume the plant’s billionaire owner, C. Montgomery Burns did not have a very thorough background process. We’ve seen Homer involved in countless accidents, that have even resulted in the death of a co-worker. (Rest in Peace Frank Grimes.)

It’s not just pre-employment background checks that Mr. Burns (or any employer) should be concerned about. Employment Background Checks should be done annually to ensure the safety and well-being of everyone on the team. Pre-employment screenings are encouraged to avoid any potential problems, but as time goes on, you never know what issues may develop. Case in point…

While making the rounds one day at the plant, Homer is distracted and crashes his cart into a radioactive pipe. This action led to his immediate dismissal. However, Homer can be a convincing guy and after promising to clean up his act (and expose the plant) he is hired back as a safety supervisor.

But don’t let that title fool you. A more consistent watch of Homer by Mr. Burns and his management team would recognize more inconsistencies in safety. Homer has fallen asleep on the job more than once. One time his mid-afternoon nap resulted in him pressing the self-destruct button on the T-437 Safety Console he is supposed to be manning.

We’ve seen Homer steal from the workplace too. He has a collection of items that still have the Property of Springfield Nuclear Power Plant stamped on them. Homer has also been quoted as saying, “Another day, another box of stolen pens.” It’s this kind of behavior that could be quelled with better supervision and the use of annual background checks on current employees.

Homer’s work ethic seems to be lacking too. He’s never stayed particularly loyal to Mr. Burns. Homer has tried his hand at being an astronaut, a country music producer/manager and a voice over artist for a cartoon dog named Poochie. Could Mr. Burns just be desperate for the cheap labor or are their redeemable qualities in having Homer Simpson on the payroll that we’re not seeing?

We d’ohn’t want you to make the same mistakes Mr. Burns has made with his hiring of Homer Simpson. MBI Worldwide’s motto is Good Screening is SMART Business.

For quick, compliant and reliable background checks, contact MBI Worldwide at 1-866-275-4624.

thinkstockphotos 498422290New Year, new rules!  Are your forms up to date?  Are you paying the correct minimum wage?  Are you familiar with the new OSHA reporting requirements?
 
On Nov. 14, USCIS released a revised version of Form I-9, Employment Eligibility Verification. Employers may continue using Form I-9 with a revision date of 03/08/2013 N. through Jan. 21, 2017. By Jan. 22, 2017, employers must use the revised form. Visit I-9 Central for more information.
 
New OSHA Provisions call for employers to electronically submit injury and illness data that they already record. New reporting requirements and anti retaliation protections became effective Dec 1, 2016.  Learn more here:  https://www.osha.gov/recordkeeping/finalrule/
 
The state of Florida has just updated its minimum wage posting to reflect the new rate for 2017. Effective January 1, 2017, the new rate will be $8.10 per hour and $5.08 per hour for tipped employees, in addition to tips.  Not in Florida?  Check your state to see if your minimum wage changes for 2017! https://www.dol.gov/whd/minwage/america.htm
 
On December 13, 2016, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) issued the 2017 optional standard mileage rates used to calculate the deductible costs of operating an automobile for business, charitable, medical or moving purposes. The charitable rate is set by law.  In 2017, the standard mileage rate is $0.53.5
 
Posters!! You’ll want to make sure you have the following posters hanging in a conspicuous place frequented by all employees. This can include a break room, near a time clock or somewhere all employees can reasonably see it.
 
Mandatory posting requirements can differ widely from state to state. The requirements are usually listed on state government websites. Mandatory federal posting requirements for covered employers are consistent. The following federally mandated posters and information should be clearly posted. A comprehensive list including these posters and others can be found on the DOL website.
  • OSHA poster
  • EEO is the Law
  • FLSA
  • Employee Right for Workers with Disabilities
  • Your Rights Under the FMLA
  • Your Rights under the Uniformed Services Employment & Reemployment Rights Act (USERRA)
  • Employee Polygraph Protection Act (EPPA)
 
Unsure if you are compliant?  Need help finding the forms, posters, or guidance?  Contact your HR advisor today!

Today the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) released new rules dramatically increasing the new minimum salary level for the executive, administrative, and professional employee exemptions (salaried employees) under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) to $913 per week, or $47,476 per year.  This new salary threshold—which will become effective on December 1, 2016—more than doubles the current minimum salary level of $455 per week, or $23,660 per year, and will have a dramatic impact on employers.

The new salary requirements will apply to the salaried employees you have in executive, administrative, and professional exemptions. Employees who do not meet the new salary requirements (those who do not make at least $913 weekly) when the final regulations become effective will no longer qualify for one of these exemptions, which means they will have to be paid overtime compensation when they work more than 40 hours in a workweek.

Other major highlights from the final regulations include the following:

  • Increase to the total annual compensation requirement for highly compensated employees from $100,000 to $134,004 per year.
  • Future automatic updates to the above thresholds will occur every three years, beginning January 1, 2020.
  • The salary basis test is amended to allow the use of nondiscretionary bonuses and incentive payments (including commissions) to satisfy up to 10 percent of the new standard salary level.

The final regulations will become effective on Thursday, December 1, 2016.

How Can Organizations Prepare?

Determine Who Needs to Be Reclassified

Employees who are currently classified as overtime-exempt (salaried) may need to be reclassified as nonexempt under the new regulations, especially if they:

  • Earn less than $50,000 a year
  • Hold the same position occupied by many other employees in the company; or
  • Work in jobs as accountants, assistant managers, sales and sales support workers, help desk employees, customer service representatives, technicians and business analysts.

Develop a New Compensation Plan for Reclassified Employees

Employers should compare the cost of giving raises to employees who are currently exempt but make less than $50,000 per year against the cost of reclassifying those employees as nonexempt and paying them overtime, given the number of hours those employees are currently working. Another option is a cost-neutral solution under which hourly pay is set at a rate will result in the same weekly compensation as the formerly exempt employee’s salary. This only works if an employer can accurately estimate how many hours per week a reclassified employee will work.

Review Wage and Hour Policies and Processes

If exempt employees are reclassified as nonexempt, it is crucial to implement timekeeping processes. The time worked by nonexempt employees must be accurately tracked and documented. Employers should also adopt policies on unauthorized overtime work, meal and rest breaks, travel time and mobile device usage.

Communicate!

Employers should develop a strategy for communicating any changes in classifications, policies or procedures to employees. Identify who will deliver the news, when the news will be delivered, and the format in which the news will be delivered.

Train the Reclassified Employees and Their Managers

You might have employees who have been exempt forever, and all of a sudden you have to start tracking their time, or managers who never managed hourly employees.  Supervisors and managers need to know what constitutes "working time", and employees need to know what the company’s policy is regarding overtime.

Fact sheets and other materials to help employers and workers understand how the rule will affect them and the broader economy are available dol.gov/overtime.