Spotlight on “Ban the Box” shows major shift in employment hiring practices
Last week’s ASA 2017 Staffing Law Conference brought to the fore many serious compliance challenges and strategies facing staffing businesses. Staying compliant is a constantly moving target with real and present risks.
Take the ‘Ban the Box’ campaign regarding background checks, for example, which is aimed at persuading employers to remove from their hiring applications the check box that asks if applicants have a criminal record. The purpose of the international campaign led by civil rights groups is to promote policy change that eases hiring barriers and creates a fair chance for ex-offenders to compete for jobs.
Many businesses (e.g., Wal-Mart, Target, Home Depot, and Starbucks) have decided to eliminate a criminal history check box on their employment applications in order to judge applicants based on their merits, not their mistakes. This shows a major shift in employment hiring practices, yet the campaign certainly has its detractors. There are industry groups that criticize ‘Ban the Box’ purporting that it exposes companies, their customers, and their employees to potential crime, as well as could expose employers to lawsuits from unsuccessful applicants.
Since first enacted in Hawaii in 1998, 25 states now have some form of “Ban the Box” law – more will surely follow suit – and restrictions applied to the law vary from state to state. There are local ordinances in 13 areas as well. Furthermore, there are related laws to “Ban the Box” that require compliance (Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA), Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), etc.) – and that’s just in regards to background checks and nondiscriminatory practices.
This is just one example of many that demonstrates why staffing companies must be mindful and stay vigilant on the changing legislation and how it impacts their employment processes. There is a virtual mountain of compliance challenges staffing firms must traverse to avoid costly fines, penalties, and audits. The magnitude of responsibilities is exponentially greater in the staffing industry due the sheer number of applicants/candidates and job opportunities managed. Staffing firms also face the added complexity of working with clients, negotiating contracts, and ensuring their compliant behavior.
Do you know your employer liabilities? Do you exhaustively review client contracts? Is your risk management comprehensive and address indemnification? Are your screening requirements enforced with compliant best practices? Are you prepared to take immediate and appropriate corrective action when needed? You want to limit your exposure to employment and client claims regarding discrimination and require efficient and accurate processes to do so.
Partnering with People 2.O can protect you with an exceptional team of specialists in risk management and employment law, allowing you to isolate risk and reduce costs. Please contact us to learn more about how People 2.O can assist you with compliance-related issues.