As an essential component of today’s hiring process, the background screening industry is subject to a variety of background check trends, and legislation that is being enacted in cities and states across the country that affects how these checks can and cannot be conducted.
Keeping up-to-date on the following four background check trends helps employers avoid legal complications as well as make the best possible hiring decisions.
The New Gig Economy
Perhaps the biggest change on the employment scene is the emergence of a gig economy, where freelancing and short-term contracts are taking the place of permanent contracts. Many employers are choosing not to perform background testing on temporary and freelance labor, but doing so puts the whole company at risk — especially with contract workers who perform their duties onsite.
Ban the Box Legislation
Various states and cities throughout the U.S. have enacted “ban the box” legislation, which makes it against the law for employers to ask about criminal history on an initial employment application. This background check trend is designed to provide all applicants with an equitable chance of being hired rather than being automatically screened out right from the start because of criminal history.
Testing for Prescription Drugs
The country’s widespread opioid crisis was declared a public health emergency by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services in 2017 as the result of a directive by the current administration. Several synthetic opioids have been added to the list of drugs that the U.S. Department of Transportation requires screening for, but transportation isn’t the only industry that screens for opioid use. Many employers in all fields are screening for them, because opioid use has many negative impacts on workplace productivity.
The background check trends of drug screening for marijuana are moving in a different direction. With recreational and medicinal marijuana becoming increasingly legal in some states, some employers are rethinking their drug screening practices concerning cannabis.
Salary History Restrictions
Other emerging background check trends in 2018 have increased legislation prohibiting asking for salary histories of job applicants. Several states and cities have already enacted bans on asking for salary histories — and this includes asking both applicants and their employers during the course of routine reference checks. These background check trends are expected to affect more and more municipalities and states as time goes by.
Due to the background check trends of recent changes in background screening legalities, employers are advised to partner with a reputable screening service to ensure compliance with all new regulations.