With decades of experience in the contractor screening space, our founders knew when they started PlusOne Solutions in 2005 they needed to launch a solution that met the unique demands of the service industry. The traditional employment screening practices at the time would not work for contractor networks or service companies, so PlusOne Solutions created a fresh approach.
With the in-home service industry, independent contractors often worked for numerous companies in their local area. This meant they were subjected to various and multiple background screening processes. Some of these were comprehensive, but others were merely done to check a box. None of them were designed to keep the contracted customer at the forefront of risk mitigation.
With a focused effort, PlusOne Solutions created a process for treating the individual of the background screening with respect while considering the specific work they would be contracted to do when evaluating their screening results. This led to successfully balancing risk mitigation with compliance and the proper treatment of contracted servicers.
The PlusOne Solutions Contractor Background Screening Program was the first to address many unique service industry issues, such as:
Contractors were paying for multiple background screening programs through various vendors based on whom their customers were using. This process was redundant, cumbersome and costly.
One background check done through PlusOne Solutions can be accepted across multiple customers so a single purchase of a background screen can be used among our customers who an individual is contracted to work for. This lowered the cost of the background screen for each individual contractor, provided a streamlined screening process and improved acceptance of background screening across the industry.
There were too many different background screening packages required across the service industry and there was no consistency in the components or search criteria. This created multiple requirements for individuals to be screened against, some of which were lacking true diligence, and caused confusion, frustration, and additional fees.
A comprehensive, thorough and affordable background screening package that set the standard requirements for the industry. The detail, process, and use of the screening were better understood and used by customers as a result, thereby reducing risk and improving the credibility and caliber of the entire industry.
The actual cost of the background check was unknown until all the screening was conducted because search fees varied from screening to screening depending on factors such as the vendor, specific package, and jurisdiction. The more counties, addresses or names searched, the higher the cost was. Contracted individuals required to complete a background check had no idea what was fair, what to expect or what was required.
A transparent bundled cost, which proactively factored in all costs including all pass-through fees such as the specific court, state, and motor vehicle reports fees, were included in the screening package. This eliminated surprise pricing for those going through the screening process and gave contractors an upfront fee they could accept to maintain consistency across all screenings.
Decision-makers were using irrelevant background screen information and bright-line decision matrices when considering a person for a role. For example, a felony would bar someone from consideration, yet not all felonies are equal. This approach was later determined to be in violation of the Employment Opportunity Commissions’ (EEOC) 2012 Enforcement Guidance.
A set of fluid guidelines to use for in-home and on-premise contracted situations was created to better qualify and assess any previous criminal convictions and were considered based on behaviors related to the job. This also factors in whether the individual may pose a risk to the consumer, property or family as the severity of the conviction, length of time since the conviction and nature of the job were evaluated for each review of criminal records.
Outdated, personal and irrelevant criminal record information about an individual was being shared prematurely with the individual’s employer through the consumer (background screening) report. In many cases, the information did not create an adverse condition. Since it was not information that needed to be shared, it unnecessarily violated the privacy of the individual.
Working with the individual directly, and within FCRA and state laws and regulations, PlusOne Solutions evaluates the background screening and keeps the information confidential by not releasing results to the Customer or individual’s employer until the pre-adverse process is completed. This ensures a confirmed record is released only after the individual is aware of what information is shared about them and they have had enough opportunity to dispute the information. While the pre-adverse and adverse process are legislated, the approach to work through this with the individual, versus sharing with the company who would work with the individual is where PlusOne’s approach differs.
Without steps in place in order to fully understand the circumstances around the findings in a background screening, decisions were made based solely on the report and no additional information from the individual.
Even when using a decision matrix, there are valid reasons for reconsideration of the impact of past criminal or driving behaviors before a final decision is made. Background screening results are on real people and life’s circumstances can never be fully understood from just a background screening report.
A unique process was instituted to allow the individual to provide more information that may impact the results and decision from the screening. From the very beginning, PlusOne Solutions implemented an “appeal” process to gain a better understanding of the circumstances that led to the charges showing in the consumer report.
After the background screening report is provided but before a final decision is made, the individual has an opportunity to “appeal” their eligibility decision. This builds on the individualized assessment process and allows the individual to explain their story and ask for reconsideration before making a final decision. They can demonstrate their rehabilitation and suitability for the role and often give greater insight into the circumstances which gave rise to the adverse behavior.
More than 15 years after PlusOne Solutions took this approach, many of our early solutions have been adopted as industry best practices. Additionally, some of our early practices were aligned with the recommendations from the Federal Trade Commission’s July 2011 release of 40 Years of Experience with the Fair Credit Reporting Act and the Equal Employment Opportunity Commissions (EEOC) Under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.
Although our approach to our contractor background screening program is determined, we still work with customers on a case by case basis to understand their needs and identify any gaps. PlusOne Solutions is committed to providing a comprehensive screening program that creates safer work environments for both service providers and customers.
Contents are provided for information purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice. Users are reminded to seek legal counsel with respect to their obligations and use of PlusOne Solutions services.
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