SDHR Blog

‘Accuracy and Efficiency’ is the Main Advantage of Outsourcing Background Checks

Performing background checks lead to better results for the employer.  Hiring the wrong candidate can be a costly and time-consuming process, so employers from start-up companies to large corporations are now outsourcing their background checks to a third party with expertise in federal and state law compliance. For staffing companies that hire laborers for contingent workforce, or contractors who hire for projects in multiple cities and jurisdictions, it is highly recommended that they outsource the background check process to a third party company with expertise in specific jurisdictional laws.

A major area of concern for the employer is identifying prospective candidates who might have a criminal history. This is an extremely sensitive area in the job interview process and one that must be approached carefully by the employer.  If the employer elects to perform their own background checks, they should address the following to ensure they are complying with FCRA, FTC, and EEOC rules.

  • Are we receiving a criminal history that is outside of the seven year scope?
  • Are we using the most up-to-date Disclosure and Authorization forms?
  • Are we following up with the candidate when reporting adverse information on the report?

It is ultimately the responsibility of the employer to have a thorough knowledge of all applicable laws with regard to criminal history and to comply with them. On December 9, 2016, the City of Los Angeles enacted the Fair Chance Initiative Ordinance, a "ban the box" law that significantly restricts employers when conducting a criminal background check or taking adverse employment action merely because of an applicant's criminal history. Los Angeles joins the growing list of states and cities throughout the country implementing "ban the box" laws. The Los Angeles City ordinance takes effect on January 22, 2017.  As more jurisdictions adopt policies to remove barriers to employment, employers need to ensure that their company is incorporating updated fair-chance employment laws into their company policy.  EEOC provides guidelines on Consideration of Arrest and Conviction Records in Employment Decisions.

Since the employer bears the burden of proving that consideration of an applicant’s criminal history is justifiable because it is job-related and consistent with business necessities, it becomes most important that their approach to this subject is conforming to the jurisdictional requirements.  In most cases it has been proven that the best method of ensuring accuracy and efficiency in the background check process is to outsource the process to a third party.  This will greatly decrease the chance for future disputes and factual inaccuracies. For more information on guidelines, please contact Securecheck360.

Marijuana Legalization in California Affecting Employers

Since the legalization of recreational use marijuana, the most common question we have received is “Can we still run a drug test to keep a drug-free workplace?”  The answer is “Yes!”  You are still allowed to run a drug test on potential candidates and reject the candidate based on the test result. Marijuana is still considered an illegal substance under federal law; however, Proposition 64 left the decision up to the employer on how they enforce the workplace policy pertaining to marijuana use. This also includes employees who hold a marijuana prescription.  Employers should consult with their legal counsel on how to implement any policy changes with respect to the new proposition, making sure their drug policy meets state expectations regarding possession and use of marijuana at work. And it should be emphasized that whatever policy the company ultimately decides upon, it must be clearly outlined in the policy manual and be unconditional to all existing employees and new hires.

About our company: Securecheck360 provides national and global background screening solutions to offer flexible and tailored employment verifications. We assist clients with background screening challenges, work place safety, and hiring risks to empower them to hire and retain the best talents. Our screening verifiers are certified through National Association of Professional Background Screeners (NAPBS) to comply with EEOC, FTC and FCRA laws.

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As a professional in the talent space today, you’ve no doubt run across some facts and figures from the likes of McKinsey, Gallup, Deloitte…the list goes on…showing that companies with more female employees, particularly in management roles, yield stronger organizational and financial performance.

As a result, the focus on recruiting female employees continues to grow, and companies are pulling out all the stops. Fertility benefits, shipping breast milk home from work trips, in-office massages and manicures, on-site OB/GYNs, and feminine products in the restrooms are just a few of the ways companies are getting creative with trying to appeal to women.

While these things may be appreciated by female employees, they’re not what’s driving their decision to come on board with your company—or to stick around. We must realize that recruiting female talent is about more than just flashy perks.

At InHerSight, a new platform in the online recruiting space, we’re striving to propel this perspective. Through our site, we enable women to rate their current employers on 15 fixed metrics such as management opportunities, maternity leave, and salary satisfaction, and we use this data to match women with new job opportunities based on what they’re looking for in an employer. And from the company’s point-of-view, we help organizations be more successful at recruiting female talent and building more female-friendly workplaces using our data and insights.

Recently, we analyzed responses from 15,000 women looking for great workplaces on our site, across a broad range of ages, industries, and geographies. Women were able to select multiple options from our metrics. The results may surprise you—what women said they wanted most from their employers was not ample maternity leave or mentorship programs or other fancy incentives.

So, before you update your career website, write your next job description, craft your latest job offer, or even decide how you’re going to allocate funds to certain benefits and perks, read on to learn what women really value most from their employers and then use this information to appeal to them to come work at your company. Here are the top five items, in order of importance:  

1.  Paid time off (90% of respondents)

Our top answer, paid time off, demonstrates that women want the ability to manage their own work-life balance. This comment from an employee at non-profit DonorsChoose highlights the positive impact of being able to take time off when you need it: “As a junior leader…I feel extremely supported and empowered to take risks, take time for myself, and prioritize my workload to meet business needs without burning myself out. We work extremely hard, but we also get lots of vacation time and flex(ible) work opportunities.” If your company isn’t providing a reasonable amount of paid time off, it may be time to rethink the value that this could bring your workforce.

2.  Salary satisfaction (89% of respondents)

This is an obvious one—women want to be paid fairly for the work they do. While there is certainly more strides to be made regarding equal pay in this country and elsewhere, women at the very least want to be compensated competitively for the amount of effort they put in, the experience they bring, and the scope of their responsibilities.

Our research revealed that computer technology company Dell appears to be getting this right as one employee commented: “…it seems that salaries are based on hard work, perform(ance), and seniority, not gender.” And an employee from tech giant Amazon commented, “(There are) long hours and high expectations but (it’s) manageable with the right boss, and salary is commensurate with effort, in my opinion, which makes it worthwhile.” Beyond making sure your salaries are competitive in the market in general, companies should conduct an annual salary review to ensure that men and women who have the same level of responsibility and experience are paid in parallel. And wherever discrepancies are found, you should work with your CFO or Financial Planner to make the necessary adjustments.

3.  Outstanding co-workers (89% of respondents)

Our research shows that women seek co-workers who are respectful, professional, unbiased, and generally easy to work with. This comment from an employee at enterprise software company Asana highlights the positive benefits that women feel when they get to work with great people: “I feel encouraged to speak my mind, supported to soundboard my thoughts, and in very good company.” Clearly, interactions with colleagues and the social environments cultivated by companies have a huge impact on how women feel about their employers, with women citing specifically that strong male-dominated “old boys” and “bro” cultures were off-putting, and that instead, they sought a culture that took gender out of the equation. By implementing a structured interview process in your company, you can be sure to hire for the qualities, personalities, and culture fit that fuel an environment that women are attracted to—and thrive in.

4.  Equal opportunities for men and women (85% of respondents)

There’s no hidden message here; it’s exactly how it sounds—if men have access to an opportunity, a women should as well. Opportunities should be based solely on merit. So, follow suit and provide equal access to promotions, leadership roles, salary increases, and incentive programs. One employee at mobile games platform Chartboost describes it well: “(This is) the first time in my career that I’ve felt my gender truly had no bearing on how I’m treated as an employee. I see men and women equally represented in management positions and being given equal opportunities to move up within the company.”

5.  Flexible work hours (81% of respondents)

Women strongly seek employers who are flexible with working hours, allowing them to set their own schedules and successfully attend to both the demands of life and work. An employee at best practice insights company CEB stated: “As an employee who has both a senior job and a lot of outside commitments, my manager and I work together to create the right schedule for me—and communicate (it) to others within CEB—in order to fulfill my personal AND professional ambitions.” Employers seeking more female talent should thus become amenable to the idea that it’s about your employees’ ability to do their jobs and do them well—and not as much about when and where they do it.

What women want

As a whole, our data indicate that women are not looking for employers to answer their specific needs, whether for family-raising, socializing, or creating work-life balance. Nor do companies need to offer a bunch of fancy perks and incentives. Rather, women seek employers that treat them fairly and provide them with the choice, the flexibility, and the financial means to fashion their own lives as they see fit.

A version of this post was first published on Greenhouse.io.

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The White House's move last week to require employers with 100 employees or more to compile and submit gender-based pay data with the goal of identifying discrimination has many business owners wondering how this will work in practice.

The executive order from the Obama administration would complement the Fair Pay Act in California, which went into effect Jan. 1 and requires employers to be able to prove they pay both genders equally for “substantially similar” work.

The California law is already causing employers to grapple with compliance. But the federal order is a familiar problem for many of the major tech companies that have implemented similar programs in the past – to varying degrees of failure.

SumAll and Buffer are two startups that shared information among employees, while Google (NASDAQ: GOOG) also had an internal spreadsheet where employees could enter salary information. Companies that announced internal audits include Salesforce (NYSE: CRM) and Pinterest – but like their predecessors before them, almost all attempts at making pay structures transparent have failed.

Now, the new federal order has many companies in the Bay Area taking notice, as they attempt to prepare for a slew of new paperwork and regulatory requirements.

So what's next? The Business Times asked Danielle Hultenius Moore, partner at Fisher & Phillips LLP, about what businesses need to have ready so they can be prepared for the new mandate.

Moore shared the top five things that employers need to know about the proposed upcoming EEOC changes.

1. What are the many issues about this plan that could affect both tech- and non-tech employers?

The plan will affect most private employers with 100 or more employees as well as federal contractors, including tech employers.

2. What about employees?

The plan will not impact employees directly, but will result in greater scrutiny of employees' wages which could indirectly result in increased wages for some. Also, employees will likely have heightened awareness right now about all things compensation. Companies should expect to hear more conversations by employees in the workplace and need to remember that these discussions are protected by federal and state laws.
3. What are some other, similar programs that have been use in the past?


The EEOC has not previously employed any similar requirements. Years ago the Labor Department's contract compliance program employed an “EO Survey” to federal contractors in an attempt to establish national compensation standards for benchmarking purposes, but discontinued it. Now, the new broader regulations move this same concept beyond the federal contractor community into the entire business workforce.

4. If this does become implemented, what do employers need to know to be prepared?

Employers need to know the new requirements, the implications of those new requirements, and what they need to do to minimize risk.

Requirements: Beginning in 2017, large employers will be forced to disclose pay data for employees (wages and hours worked) on their EEO-1 forms.

Implications: The purpose of the disclosure is to allow the Equal Employment Opportunities Commission to more easily spot differences in pay between male employees and female employees, so that they can bring discrimination claims against employers.

Prevention: In order to prevent discrimination claims, employers should audit their pay practices and current pay systems to identify and meaningfully address any pay disparity issues, so that they can resolve any disparities in advance of the requirements going into effect. By fixing those issues now, a company may minimize its exposure once the new reporting requirements are in place September 2017.

5. Will this have significant costs for this business (i.e. lawsuits, raising wages, etc.)?

Practically, employers already must file EEO-1 Reports, so in theory there are no hard costs. However, there will be an additional burden on employers to collect the new required information. The proposed regulations say that it will not be difficult for employers to comply because they can import the data into their human resources information systems (HRIS) and incorporate it into their electronic EEO-1 filings.

However, if employers need to pull the data from multiple systems, we do envision that employers may have difficulty obtaining the required data. Additionally, employers face a greater likelihood of gender discrimination claims. California’s new Equal Pay Act also increases the likelihood of such claims. Employers should strongly consider taking preventative steps now.

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