Quarterly Compliance Update, Q1 2020

Pending in-home contractor background check legislation, our Continuous Criminal Monitoring program and new gas work requirements in NYC are all included in this compliance update.

Each quarter, PlusOne Solutions provides a compliance update to keep you abreast of changes and updates in legal developments as well as company news. This information is provided for education only and does not constitute legal advice.

 

Pending In-Home Contractor Screening Legislation

In early January 2020, the Florida House of Representatives introduced HB-1129 to address the in-home services issue that gave rise to a horrific tragedy in South Florida in 2019. In that case, a woman was beaten and burned in her home following a home delivery from a well-known retailer. At issue was that a sub-contractor of a contractor to the retailer was responsible and the process for vetting that individual was weak, at best. The background screening and notification measures from the retailer have been the focus of this legislation and the family of the woman has taken this cause to a legislative end to try to improve the safety and comfort of individuals accepting delivery in their homes.

Based on the legislation as drafted, PlusOne Solutions can confirm our program already exceeds the screening requirements and as such, compliance should be within reach for most of our Customers. We would like to stress this legislation is considerably less robust than initially thought and at present is focused primarily on home delivery services, specifically loading, transportation or shipment, unloading (whether from the factory, store or other place and terminates within consumer home). It does not include repair, maintenance, installation or other services completed in the home, or those services where the servicing individual does not enter the consumer’s home. The legislation also includes detailed adjudication criteria to determine what criminal records are relevant. Additional requirements exist for retailers and liability insurance industry requirements. The proposed effective date is July 1, 2020, however, it has not yet passed the House and we will continue to monitor its progress.

 

Definition of Compliance – One Tech or All Techs?

We have recently seen an increase in customers moving to a tech-to-claim approach, which means that any claim filed for payment must have been completed by a screened and authorized technician. Whether information is contained in the dispatch notes or other filings, the need to screen all technicians within a servicing company is growing. Not only does this allow greater flexibility in who can be assigned jobs, but it also increases the opportunity for companies to pick up more work. Companies are reminded that any individual conducting work under contract with Customers, require their individuals to be compliant with the requirements of their program. This may include background screening, insurance, licensing tracking, TIN matching or badging.

 

We have almost 20,000 techs in Continuous Monitoring, is your network included?

PlusOne Solutions launched a continuous criminal record monitoring service and has seen a keen interest in the offering with over 20,000 individuals being enrolled in the program so far. This service tracks near real-time booking and arrest records for over 85 percent of the U.S. population. Criminal record monitoring is another risk management tool that Customers may want to consider between their current rescreen cycles. It demonstrates due diligence and allows Customers to understand any potential risks that may exist within their network. Each alert is reviewed on a case-by-case basis to ensure the individual continues to meet the compliance requirements of their program.

 

New Gas Work Requirements in NYC

As of January 1, 2020, the five Buroughs of New York City (NYC) require a Master Plumber License or a Gas Qualification for all gas work as defined in the NYC fuel gas codes. There are two types of Gas Qualifications, Full or Limited. In order to obtain a Full Qualification, you must be under the direct and continuing supervision of a Master Plumber. A Full Qualification does not expire. To obtain a Limited Qualification, you must be under the personal and immediate supervision of a Licensed Plumber or Full Qualification individual. A Limited Qualification expires after five years and is not renewable. Both the Master Plumber License and Gas Qualifications must be obtained through the NYC Department of Buildings (DOB) through DOB NOW. For more information, you can review the entire law changes for Local Law 150.

 

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Quarterly Compliance Update, Q4 2019

Pending legislation for in-home contractors, rising marijuana-related arrests, and new protections for contractors are all part of this compliance update.

Each quarter, PlusOne Solutions provides a compliance update to keep you abreast of changes and updates in legal developments as well as company news. This information is provided for education only and does not constitute legal advice.

 

Pending In-Home Contractor Screening Legislation

A recent tragedy in South Florida has given rise to the potential introduction of legislation that will govern requirements around in-home contractor screening. As part of our work and support of our industry association, Professional Background Screening Association, we are closely monitoring the progress on this. Although just starting in Florida, the commitment to such a position is strong and we know once one state starts…the others soon follow. From our experience, we are pleased to confirm our screening package is well in line with any proposed requirements and we will work closely to ensure our customers are prepared and compliant if legislation is imposed.

 

U.S. Marijuana Arrests Rise Again

Last year was the third straight year the total number of persons arrested in the US for violating marijuana rose more than 21 percent higher than the total number of persons arrested for violent crimes. Of those arrested for cannabis-related activities, 90 percent were for possession only. This is a stat we are watching closely as states who have legalized the adult use of cannabis have seen a decrease in arrests in those jurisdictions and some have created prohibitions for even using these convictions.

 

NY Human Rights Law Extends Protections to Contractors

In September 2019, NY City Council passed Int. 0316-A which deepens the scope of the NY City Human Rights to ensure independent contractors are now protected by the Human Rights Law that will allow them to file complaints related to harassment or discrimination based on race, gender, sexuality, religion and other protected categories. The coverage applies to any business that employs or engages at least four employees of contractors combined.

 

Canada Creates “Dependent Contractor” Definition

Sitting between the known definitions of employee and contractor is a new concept termed “dependent contractor.” This working relationship is not an employment relationship, but a dependent contractor may be entitled to some benefits if they are “economically dependent” on another business. If a contractor if exclusively or nearly exclusively (more than 50 percent) reliant on the other contracting party’s business for income, the contractor may be entitled to reasonable notice of termination or pay in lieu. When working with independent contractors, Customers are reminded to ensure the relationships are properly structured to meet operational and business needs.

 

PlusOne Solutions Achieves PCI – DSS Certification Level I Certification – 2019

As an industry provider of compliance solutions, PlusOne Solutions is committed to cybersecurity. We are honored to announce we have again achieved the PCI-DSS V3.2 Level 1 certification and Attestation of Compliance. Compliance with the PCI-DSS helps to alleviate vulnerabilities and protect cardholder data. Maintaining payment security is required for all entities that store, process or transmit cardholder data. Guidance for maintaining payment security is provided in PCI security standards. These set the technical and operational requirements for organizations accepting or processing payment transactions, and for software developers and manufacturers of applications and devices used in those transactions. Read more here.

 

NAPBS is now the Professional Background Screening Association (PBSA)

At the Association Annual Meeting in San Antonio, TX, our professional trade association evolved into a truly global association. The new name and logo symbolize global reach, emphasizing how seamlessly the association shares information, expertise, and goals for the future of the industry.

 

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Quarterly Compliance Update, Q3 2019

This compliance update includes marijuana legislation statistics and key takeaways from the United States General Accounting Office report.

Each quarter, PlusOne Solutions provides a compliance update to keep you abreast of changes and updates in legal developments as well as company news. This information is provided for education only and does not constitute legal advice.

 

Some Updated Stats in the Time of Marijuana Legalization

Quest Diagnostics is a leading drug testing company and our largest collection site partner. In their recent report, “The new age of marijuana”, come details of how marijuana is changing our world as it continues to shape our workplace policies and perspectives on drug use. For reference, Marijuana is dried flowers and leaves of the Cannabis Sativa plant and contains the psychoactive chemical delta- 9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC).

Some notable stats from the report are:

  • Drug potency is increasing – in 1992, the average concentration of THC in marijuana was 3.8% and this rose to 12.2% in 2014.
  • Ingestion of the drug is available in more forms than ever – smoking, e-cigarettes, and edibles – syrups, chocolate bars, lollipops, and other forms – making it more accessible.
  • 33 states (and DC, Guam, PR, and USVI) have passed medical marijuana legislation, 10 (and DC) have legalized recreational use of marijuana in the US and all of Canada has legalized marijuana (though drug screening is still limited).
  • Marijuana remains a federally prohibited Schedule I substance under the Controlled Substances Act.
  • Marijuana positivity increased by nearly 8% in the general U.S. workforce and by almost 5% in the safety-sensitive workforce.

Drug testing can help to improve employee morale and productivity while decreasing absenteeism, accidents, downtime, turnover, and theft and is an important component in many compliance programs. PlusOne Solutions is continuing to watch the evolution of this issue closely and the impact it may have on Customer programs.

 

United States General Accounting Office (GAO) Report – July 2019

After a year-long study, GAO submitted its report to the US Congress and its two main findings were the need for clear guidelines around reasonable procedures to ensure maximum possible accuracy and investigations of consumer disputes. These are current areas of focus for the enforcement actions of the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), who regulate our industry as it relates to background screening. This report by the GAO also sets the stage for possible changes to the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA), which has not seen updates since it was published 50 years ago.

PlusOne Solutions has long had a unique and thorough approach to ensuring the accuracy of information not only in the consumer reports we complete but also in the identifiers that are used when conducting searches. By taking extra steps to compare data, balancing technology and manual review of records and using all sources of information available to us, we believe we exceed any bar set for reasonable procedures to ensure maximum possible accuracy. Our consumer dispute occurrence is extremely low and is owed to the accuracy steps noted above, as well as to the consumer-friendly dispute and appeal process that is followed.

The FCRA is neither a clear, nor helpful, statute so we look forward to any direction.

 

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Quarterly Compliance Update, Q2 2019

A continuous monitoring option for background checks, infrastructure penetration testing results, and an upcoming opportunity for Fair Credit Reporting Act training are all part of this compliance update.

Each quarter, PlusOne Solutions provides a compliance update to keep you abreast of changes and updates in legal developments as well as company news. This information is provided for education only and does not constitute legal advice.

 

Are you interested in continuous monitoring?

PlusOne Solutions completes a robust background screening at onboarding and every two years thereafter. We are currently exploring the option of offering continuous monitoring for U.S. networks. There is no equivalent service in Canada. The information obtained from monitoring can identify potential behavior that may pose a risk to your business, customers, brand, customer loyalty and reputation. Working with a partner who is a leader in data solutions will provide us access to near-real-time incarceration data for over 140 million U.S. booking records from over 2,800 county jails and Department of Corrections facilities. This covers upwards of 73 percent of the population and continues to increase as more sources are added. Continuous monitoring would typically provide notice within 24 hours of an incarceration or booking event. These alerts provide proactive and timely information and cover a wider geographic area than the local level county record check, which may be done at the time of re-screening.

What is the process?
In the proposed process, PlusOne Solutions reviews all received information to confirm it belongs to the correct individual and the relevance of the charges to their eligibility. If the charges are relevant, PlusOne Solutions contacts the individual involved and attempts to gain an understanding of the circumstances and the gravity of the offense. We will seek independent verification or additional details. After, we would work together to determine what action, if any at all, should be taken with the individual. PlusOne may even determine that no action can be taken until after court proceedings are completed.

Ideally, Customers should maintain a contractual requirement across their service network for self-reporting of any arrest or incarceration activity that occurs between screening periods. This does not necessarily mean the individual will be considered ineligible for program requirements if there is a reportable event, only that you are presented with the opportunity to investigate the matter further. Per the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) guidance and Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) requirements, an arrest alone is not enough to make adverse decisions against an individual.

Continuous monitoring can play an important role in an overall risk management program and may be critical in protecting the most important assets of your business – your customers, reputation and other resources. Want to learn more? Contact us for more information.

 

Infrastructure Penetration Testing Results 2019

Based on an external penetration test conducted last month, the risk to PlusOne Solutions’ external infrastructure and internal networks are well within acceptable levels. “With the size of PlusOne Solutions’ infrastructure and amount of web applications, they have done an excellent job of securing their systems and customer information, and they present a clear desire to continue to do so. Compared to peer institutions, PlusOne Solutions appears above average regarding cybersecurity,” the report states.

 

The value of a good name

Did you know the most important piece of information in the background search is the individual’s name? This includes accurate and complete spelling of the first, middle and last name, alias names as well as maiden or alternate names. Including all these names improves the overall result. The middle name is becoming increasingly important to help PlusOne Solutions determine if a record belongs to an individual, especially when they have a common name.

 

Annual FCRA User Certification Training – Spring 2019

PlusOne Solutions will once again be providing the annual Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) training module for all customer users. The training covers the basics of this law, the responsibilities of requesting and using consumer reports, as well as the obligations for the destruction of information. This is a training for our U.S.-based customers, as the FCRA only applies to the U.S.

Why does this matter?
As a National Association of Professional Background Screeners (NAPBS) Accredited agency, PlusOne Solutions requests an annual certification from customers to ensure their partnership in remaining compliant with FCRA obligations. Completion of this training constitutes certification and keeps customer users updated on ongoing trends as well.

 

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Quarterly Compliance Update, Q1 2019

Ban the Box / Fair Chance hiring, Marijuana drug testing and Fair Credit Reporting Act training are all part of this compliance update.

Each quarter, PlusOne Solutions provides a compliance update to keep you abreast of changes and updates in legal developments as well as company news. This information is provided for education only and does not constitute legal advice.

 

On Our 2019 Radar:

Ban the Box / Fair Chance legislation, which may create requirements when using criminal records in employment/contracting decisions, salary history bans, which are designed to address inequity in pay rates, and data privacy laws continue to be the hottest areas impacting our services. The fair and equitable treatment of all screening candidates, the protection of their information and the creation of opportunities underscore many of these new initiatives.

Why does this matter?
Ban the Box and Fair Chance hiring is not a trend. We fully expect these laws to continue at the county, state and possibly even federal levels. As PlusOne Solutions acts as a partner for many of our clients on the state and federal consumer reporting requirements, this may also encompass the individualized assessment, pre-adverse/adverse letter contents or other processes required by these laws. It should be noted that employers (i.e. network companies) may have additional responsibilities related to this legislation and are encouraged to seek legal counsel when using criminal record information for hiring/employment decisions.

 

Marijuana Drug Test Results Handling:

With more states legalizing both recreational and medical marijuana, the impact is seen on drug test results. PlusOne Solutions utilizes the following standard operating procedure when a non-negative drug test result is returned for marijuana, meaning the test results show usage above the acceptable cut-off levels. In these cases, PlusOne Solutions will contact the donor to seek documentation that supports the legal use of marijuana. Depending on the regulations, acceptable documentation might be the presentation of a current prescription or medical marijuana card. If such documentation is provided, the donor may be deemed eligible. If no reply or documentation is received, the result will remain non-negative and the result will be not eligible.

NOTE: We do not verify the accuracy of any prescription or medical marijuana card. We only verify that the prescription or medical marijuana card is current, based on the test date, and that it belongs to the donor. It is taken at face value only, and we are not assuming any responsibility. If other drugs created the non-negative result, the Medical Review Officer (MRO) will process those according to the normal process. If acceptable information is provided and only a marijuana result remains, the aforementioned process will be followed.

Why does this matter?

As marijuana is legalized in more jurisdictions, the handling and requirements to accept its use are changing. This is an area we will continue to monitor and continue to work with our customers on how best to handle these results.

 

Upcoming Annual FCRA User Certification Training – Spring 2019

Again this year, PlusOne Solutions is providing its annual training module for all Customer users regarding the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA). This training covers the basics of the law, the responsibilities of requesting and using consumer reports as well as obligations for the destruction of information.

Why does this matter?

As a National Association of Professional Background Screeners (NAPBS) Accredited agency, PlusOne Solutions requests an annual certification from Customers to ensure their partnership in remaining compliant with FCRA obligations. Completion of this training constitutes certification and keeps Customer users updated on ongoing trends as well.

 

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Quarterly Compliance Update, Q4 2018

Marijuana legalization are both topics included in this compliance update.

Each quarter, PlusOne Solutions provides a compliance update to keep you abreast of changes and updates in legal developments as well as company news. This information is provided for education only and does not constitute legal advice.

 

Marijuana Legalization Impacting Criminal Checks Too

States across the US have been legalizing both recreational and medical use of marijuana. While this has obvious impacts on drug testing, it now may impact criminal records as well. San Francisco is the first, but won’t be the last jurisdiction which has included the reporting of marijuana-related offenses in their Ban the Box / Fair Chance legislation. This is legislation designed to reintegrate formerly convicted individuals into society by delaying the use of criminal record information in the hiring process which provides an equal chance to showcase their qualifications. San Francisco’s FC initiative has taken the position that any decriminalized activity, like marijuana, cannot be used in the hiring decision, even when the conviction occurred when the activity was illegal.

 

What Comes Next?
When we receive criminal record information in jurisdictions that have restricted the reporting of now decriminalized activities such as the cultivation, distribution, possession or sale of marijuana, we will no longer include this information in our final reports. We will report records, per federal and state reporting requirements, and keep an eye on this.

 

Screening for Contracting versus Employment Purposes

Many of our customers use our services for contracting purposes to determine if an individual is eligible to work on contracted Customer work. For example, ABC Company has a contract with Bob’s Appliances to handle their warranty work. Bob’s Appliances will submit their employees, or contractors, to PlusOne to determine if they are eligible for contract work, according to ABC Company’s requirements. This is not the same as a pre-employment background screening, which is the responsibility of Bob’s Appliances and may be based on different criteria than ABC Company’s eligibility criteria. An individual may not be eligible to accept ABC Company work but may still be suitable for direct engagement by Bob’s Appliances to run service calls and other tasks. We understand some individuals may only be hired IF they can pass the requirements for ABC Company and we remind Companies, like Bob’s Appliances, to follow all appropriate local, state and federal employment, equal opportunity and consumer reporting requirements when denying an individual hire, based in whole or in part, on the results of a background screening.

 

Year-End Delays to Keep in Mind

While the PlusOne Solutions team will be hard at work to the end of the year, we wanted to ensure you are aware of possible court delays. These occur around Thanksgiving and Christmas dates with actual court closures, or rolling closures, to accommodate the holidays. We also see additional slow-downs as court staff take their annual vacation time to ensure they get their annual allotment.

 

 


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Quarterly Compliance Update, Q3 2018

Salary history bans, synthetic urine in drug tests and motor vehicle record searches are all topics included in this compliance update.

Each quarter, PlusOne Solutions provides a compliance update to keep you abreast of changes and updates in legal developments as well as company news. This information is provided for education only and does not constitute legal advice.

 

Salary History Bans:


Cities, counties and states across the U.S. have been instituting legislation restricting employers from asking about salary history information before making a conditional offer to hire. These actions are based on trying to address salaries which have historically been lower for women and minorities, perpetuating the wage inequity problem. In concert with the Equal Pay Act, regulations are being put in place to correct these differences by ensuring pay is determined on the position and not the historical salary levels of an individual. The only approved pay differences should be compensation systems based on seniority, merit, productivity (quantity/quality) or something other than the sex of the worker.

General Provisions typically include the following two categories:

    • “Enquiry” – not allowed to enquire into past salary history.
    • “Reliance” – unable to rely on salary history to determine employee’s pay. Some legislation may include one, the other or both provisions.

 

What Can You Do?

Organizations should review their hiring practices and ensure anyone involved in the recruitment process is aware of the requirements and is sensitive when requesting, collecting and using past salary information.

 

Synthetic Urine in Drug Tests

yes, unfortunately fake urine is a thing….

As the landscape of illicit drugs continues to change, people strive to find creative ways to cheat a urine drug test. As a result, synthetic urine has become a popular means of attempting to elude a positive drug test result by replicating uric acid, a chemical naturally found in urine. PlusOne Solutions uses laboratories that perform validity testing to ensure the urine drug test specimen is human, is of the appropriate temperature and has not been tampered with. These additional steps are important to ensure the results are “the real thing.”

 

PA and PR Motor Vehicle Search Reminder 

Due to challenges completing motor vehicle records, PlusOne Solutions has created unique processing workflows in Pennsylvania and Puerto Rico. In these states, we ask the driver to provide a current copy of his driver’s license. It is not independently validated by the state, only reviewed by PlusOne for proper format and license status. If the driver cannot provide this documentation or does not hold a valid license, he will be considered ineligible, according to program requirements.

NOTE – the applicant can be designated as a “helper” (non-driver) which will deem him eligible. Additionally, in PA, each servicing/network company does have the option to apply for a PennDOT subaccount that will allow PlusOne to process detailed motor vehicle reports. The process requires an affidavit and takes about four weeks.

 


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Quarterly Compliance Update, Q2 2018

California classifications for contractors and our reaccreditation are both included in this compliance update.

Each quarter, PlusOne Solutions provides a compliance update to keep you abreast of changes and updates in legal developments as well as company news. This information is provided for education only and does not constitute legal advice.

 

California Narrows Independent Contractor Definition:

In early May, the California Supreme Court severely tightened the definition for independent contractor classifications. The standard was a result of Dynamex Operations West, Inc. v. Superior Court and creates a reclassification regime that will extend across the state. Any business with independent contractors needs to be aware of this change.

To determine if an individual is an independent contractor, the hiring entity must be able to demonstrate all three of these requirements are met:

  1. The worker is free from the control and direction of the hiring entity in connection with the performance of the work, both under the contract for the performance of the work and in fact;
  2. The worker performs work that is outside the usual course of the hiring entity’s business; and
  3. The worker is customarily engaged in an independently established trade, occupation, or business of the same nature as the work performed.

What does this mean?

Of the requirements, (1) is not that different from the current standard and remains focused on the nature and degree of control the individual has over their work, nor is (3), which aims to confirm the individual has independently made a decision to go into business for themselves, from the current requirements. Requirement (2), however, is where the most notable change occurs and sets a very clear requirement around how independent contractors, and the functions they perform, fit into the greater business model. The purpose of this requirement is to determine if the services being provided are comparable to that of an employee.

What Comes Next?

As California courts begin to apply this new standard, we will monitor exceptions for federal law or other factors. Likewise, businesses throughout California should review their contractor relationships and we will keep an eye on other states who may follow this lead.

 

Reaccreditation from NAPBS:

NAPBS accreditation logo

PlusOne Solutions achieved reaccreditation with the National Association of Professional Background Screeners (NAPBS) Background Screening Agency Accreditation Program (BSAAP), an honor held by less than 2% of over 5,000 US Consumer Reporting Agencies (CRAs).

The audit tested almost 60 requirements and cited complete conformance with the Standard with no opportunities for improvement or non-conformities. The BSAAP standards audit a Consumer Reporting Agency for its commitment to excellence, accountability, high professional standards, and continued institutional improvement. The program is similar to SSAE16, (formerly SAS70), and ISO certifications but is specifically geared towards measuring excellence in the background screening industry.

Accredited firms must demonstrate compliance with standards in the areas of Data Information and Security, Legal and Compliance, Client Education, Data Standards, and other Business Practices. The standards enforce strong data management and security that results in the highest levels of consumer protection. All processes must be formally documented and employees must be trained to the standards therein.

 


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