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Monday, August 03, 2020

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At OPENonline, we notify you of the most recent background screening and investigative news with our timely news alerts, press releases, blog articles and legislative & compliance updates. If you are interested in submitting an article to appear on our website, please contact our marketing department.

COVID-19 is Creating Background Screening Challenges. Social Media Screenings Added to Close Information Gaps!

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We found this Forbes article discussing the current challenges of obtaining candidate’s information due to court closures during the coronavirus pandemic. The article highlights the perils and potential risks associated with relaxing and changing policies around to navigate current circumstances, but those changes might possibly create discriminatory practices going forward. The article also discusses alternate screening methods some employers are adopting, such as social media screening, to close gaps where traditional screening results are not currently available.

Health Care Industry Requirements. OIG/GSA explained!

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The HHS Office of Inspector General (OIG) issued an Updated Special Advisory Bulletin on the Effect of Exclusion from Participation in Federal Health Care Programs on May 8, 2013. These guidelines recommend that health care providers screen their employees and contractors monthly to confirm that they are not on the OIG’s List of Excluded Individuals/Entities (EXCLUSION LIST).

In the past few years, we have seen an influx of complex regulations and increased litigation in the industry, making it even more difficult for companies to adhere to compliance best practices. Inadequate due diligence and negligent hiring practices in the healthcare sector harms not only an organization, but its patients, as well. More often than not, poor hiring decisions are a contributing factor in the rise of lawsuits, medical malpractice claims, and subsequent multimillion dollar settlements.

The big questions?

  • Is your business in the health care industry?
  • Do you participate in any Federal health care programs?
  • Do you receive any Federal funding?
  • Are you aware of the screening requirements?

DHS announces flexibility in requirements related to Form I-9 compliance

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This just in from the Department of Homeland Security: Due to precautions being implemented by employers and employees related to physical proximity associated with COVID-19, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) announced today that it will exercise discretion to defer the physical presence requirements associated with Employment Eligibility Verification (Form I-9) under Section 274A of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA). Employers with employees taking physical proximity precautions due to COVID-19 will not be required to review the employee’s identity and employment authorization documents in the employee’s physical presence. However, employers must inspect the Section 2 documents remotely (e.g., over video link, fax or email, etc.) and obtain, inspect, and retain copies of the documents, within three business days for purposes of completing Section 2. Employers also should enter “COVID-19” as the reason for the physical inspection delay in the Section 2 Additional Information field once physical inspection takes place after normal operations resume. Once the documents have been physically inspected, the employer should add “documents physically examined” with the date of inspection to the Section 2 additional information field on the Form I-9, or to section 3 as appropriate. These provisions may be implemented by employers for a period of 60 days from the date of this notice OR within 3 business days after the termination of the National Emergency, whichever comes first.

We want to assure you - we are still here to help you! We are open and ready to fulfill your screenings!!

Also included: Information on court closures and I-9 process not changed

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We are keeping abreast of the rapidly changing coronavirus COVID-19 situation. We continue to keep the safety and wellbeing of our employees, their families and our customers our highest priority. We know these are uncertain times and we are here for you.

Since last week's message, we have been alerted to many court closures, which could affect the processing of your reports and cause delays. We are posting regular updates to our customer website of the closures we are aware of from our sources. Things are changing very rapidly, so the list may not be all inclusive, but we are doing our best to keep it updated for you. 

We have also been alerted by USCIS that the I-9 process has not been relaxed or changed. This is what we received from them this week:

The current policy For I9 remains in effect and indicates, in part: “When completing Form I-9, the employer or authorized representative must physically examine, with the employee being physically present, each document presented to determine if it reasonably appears to be genuine and relates to the employee presenting it.  Reviewing or examining documents via webcam is not permissible.” Further, the current requirement found at Section 4.0 of M-274 says: “Within three business days of the date employment begins, the employee must present to you an original document or documents that show their identity and employment.”

To stay abreast of any current or future USCIS closings, please visit  https://www.uscis.gov/about-us/uscis-office-closings

Please rest assured that we are monitoring the quickly evolving situation very closely and taking additional steps to enhance our preparedness to ensure that everyone at OPENonline feels safe and is able to continue with business as usual. 

Thank you for your continued trust in OPENonline!

OPENonline's Update to Our Customers Regarding the Coronavirus COVID-19 Pandemic

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As cases of coronavirus COVID-19 have multiplied and spread across the country, we at OPENonline understand times are uncertain and the outbreak can present major obstacles to your daily routine. We extend our best wishes to anyone impacted by the outbreak. We also want to ease your concerns regarding our ability to provide service while we navigate the true impact of the pandemic.

We want to assure you OPENonline will continue to operate for you as we have in the past!! Our staff will continue providing the exceptional service you have come to expect from OPENonline.

The Professional Background Screening Association (PBSA) is conducting an industry survey. Will you help?

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We are proud to be an active member of the Professional Background Screening Association, PBSA, whose mission is to Advance Excellence in the Screening Profession. For the fourth year in a row, PBSA is conducting an industry survey of human resources professionals regarding their use of employment background screening services.

We are asking our readers and clients to take a couple of minutes to complete this short survey. Your survey responses will be confidential and will be used to help the industry continue to grow and serve the needs of you, our customers. The survey should be completed no later than March 15, 2020. Click here to complete the survey.

Maryland Joins the Ban-The-Box Movement! General Assembly Overrides Governor Veto!

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The Maryland General Assembly passed Senate Bill 839/House Bill 994, The Criminal Record Screening Practices Act, in March of 2019. In May 2019, the Governor vetoed the Bill. And on January 30, 2020, the General Assembly voted to override the Governor’s veto. So, Maryland joins multiple other states, cities, and municipalities which ban-the box on employment applications.

Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) Advises of Three Screening Trends for 2020!

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SHRM recently posted about three pre-employment screening trends they anticipate this year. Compliance will be the main focus of all three categories and will be critically important to get right. According the SHRM, FCRA claims will continue. Laws focusing on ban-the-box, salary history bans, and marijuana in the workplace will continue to pass. And technology advancements and review will be a focus in 2020. You can read the full article and gather more information here.

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