Law and the Workplace

Tag Archives: background investigations/checks

New Connecticut Online Privacy Law Protects Prospective & Current Employees

Man using smartphoneEarlier this week, Connecticut Governor Dannel P. Malloy signed a law to protect prospective and current employees from employer interference with their “personal online accounts.” The new law, which will take effect on October 1, 2015, defines personal online accounts to include any online account used by a prospective or current employee exclusively for personal … Continue Reading

“Ban the Box” Trend Continues Across the Country

The “ban the box” movement—which seeks to remove questions about criminal history from an employer’s initial employment application—continues to cut across geographic and political divides. In March and April, we blogged about the governors of two Southern states—Republican Governor Nathan Deal of Georgia and Democratic Governor Terrence McAuliffe of Virginia—ordering the removal of the “box” … Continue Reading

California Court Dismisses FCRA Class Action Against LinkedIn

Man using smartphoneIn recent years, the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) has become the focus of increasing litigation.  By way of background, FCRA regulates consumer reporting agencies (CRAs) that assemble or evaluate “consumer reports” for employers on the “character, general reputation, personal characteristics, or mode of living” of prospective and current employees.  In the course of furnishing … Continue Reading

NYC Mayor Signs Law Banning Credit Checks

Yesterday, NYC Mayor Bill DeBlasio signed a bill (Int. 0261-2014) that amends the City’s Human Rights Law to prohibit most employers from inquiring into or considering a prospective or current employee’s credit history when making employment decisions. The law will take effect on September 3, 2015. As we detailed in our prior post, NYC’s new … Continue Reading

New Montana Law Protects Employee Social Media Accounts

Man using smartphoneYesterday, Montana became the twentieth state to enact a law protecting employees from employer interference with personal social media accounts.  The law, which takes effect immediately, prohibits employers from requiring or requesting that a current or prospective employee: disclose a username or password to his or her personal social media account; access a personal social … Continue Reading

Credit Checks To Be Banned in NYC

Yesterday, by a 47-3 vote, the New York City Council passed a bill (Int. 0261-2014) to amend the NYC Human Rights Law to prohibit most employers from inquiring into or considering a prospective or current employee’s credit history when making employment decisions. Mayor DeBlasio is expected to sign the bill into law. The bill expansively … Continue Reading

Hiring Tests in the News

A front page article in today’s Wall Street Journal highlights the growing use of pre-employment personality and psychological testing to screen job candidates.  These tests are designed to evaluate technical skills, ability to multitask, friendliness, customer service orientation, communication skills and the like.  New test designs are based on the traits of employers’ most successful … Continue Reading

Virginia Governor’s Order “Encourages” Private Employers to “Ban the Box”

Last week, Virginia Governor Terrence McAuliffe signed an executive order “banning the box” on most state employment applications and “encouraging” private employers and government contractors to do the same.  “Ban the box” refers to a legislative and executive trend across the country requiring or encouraging employers to delete the “check box” on job applications asking … Continue Reading

Virginia’s Social Media Law Continues Growing Trend

Man using smartphoneVirginia is now the nineteenth state to provide increased social media protections to prospective and current employees, joining Arkansas, California, Colorado, Illinois, Louisiana, Maryland, Michigan, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Oregon, Rhode Island, Tennessee, Utah, Washington, and Wisconsin. Effective July 1, 2015, Virginia’s law will prohibit an employer from requiring a prospective … Continue Reading

Hawaii Supreme Court Says Employer Failed to Establish “Rational Relationship” Between Applicant’s Drug Conviction and Position Sought

Hawaii, like some other states, only permits employers to consider convictions that bear a “rational relationship to the duties and responsibilities of the position.” Recently, the Hawaii Supreme Court had occasion to decide an issue that few other courts have addressed—the relationship of an applicant’s drug conviction to the job sought. In Shimose v. Hawaii … Continue Reading

NJ “Ban the Box” Law Takes Effect, “Draft Rule” Proposed

New Jersey’s so-called “ban the box” law took effect on March 1, preventing most employers in the State from asking about a prospective employee’s criminal history on the initial job application and until after the first interview of the candidate has taken place.  For more on the new law, please review our prior client alert. … Continue Reading

Georgia “Ban the Box” Policy Crosses Geographic, Political Divides

Republican Governor Nathan Deal signed an executive order this past week adopting a “ban the box” policy for “government entities of the State of Georgia,” making Georgia the first Southern state and only the second “red state” to remove criminal history inquiries from state job applications. The Georgia order not only “bans the box” but … Continue Reading

EEOC Background Check Litigation Strategy Criticized

Readers who have been following the EEOC’s efforts to prosecute employers who conduct background checks will be interested in the Wall Street Journal’s editorial, “Hit Us Again, Harder.”  The paper praises Freeman Co. for standing up to the EEOC and defending its background check processes, pointing out the EEOC’s repeated failure to present credible evidence … Continue Reading

Fourth Circuit Affirms Summary Judgment against EEOC in Background Check Suit

Last week, in Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (“EEOC”) v. Freeman, No. 13-2365 (4th Cir. Feb. 20, 2015), the Fourth Circuit affirmed the award of summary judgment against the EEOC in its suit alleging that the defendant’s use of credit and criminal background checks had a “disparate impact” on African-American job applicants in violation of Title … Continue Reading

Michigan Protects Employers from Negligent Hiring and Retention Claims

On January 1, a new Michigan law took effect to protect companies that hire ex-offenders who go on to cause damage or injury during the course of their employment.  Louisiana, Georgia, Tennessee, and Texas recently passed similar laws. The Michigan law specifically provides that, in an action seeking damages for personal injury, property damage, or … Continue Reading

New Michigan Law Expands the Types of Criminal Records Applicants & Employees Can Refuse to Disclose to Employers

Existing Michigan law has served to prevent private employers from considering criminal records “set aside” by law (more commonly known as expungement) in hiring and personnel decisions. An amendment to that law, which took effect on January 12, expands the circumstances under which ex-offenders may seek to set aside their criminal records and, thus, may further … Continue Reading

SEC Approves FINRA Rule Strengthening Background Checks

The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has approved a Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) rule requiring member firms to strengthen their background investigation of applicants seeking registration.  We have detailed the requirements of the FINRA rule in our previous blog post.  The SEC has “accelerated approval” of the rule, though the agency still will accept … Continue Reading

Illinois and Chicago “Ban the Box” Laws Take Effect

Illinois’ and Chicago’s “ban the box” laws took effect on January 1.  Both laws prohibit private employers from making criminal inquiries until after an applicant has been notified of his or her selection for an interview (where the employer does not conduct an interview, it must wait until after making a conditional offer).  The two … Continue Reading

New Minnesota Expungement Law Helps Protect Employers from Liability

A new Minnesota law that took effect on January 1 expands the opportunities for ex-offenders to expunge their criminal records.  In an effort to protect employers who hire employees with expunged records, the new law provides that such records “may not be introduced as evidence in a civil litigation against a private employer . . … Continue Reading

The Top 10 Trends in New Jersey Employment Law in 2014

2014 was another busy year for developments in New Jersey employment law, including in ten key areas—whistleblowing, pre-employment inquiries/background checks, amendments to the Law Against Discrimination (“LAD”), LAD litigation, wage and hour, the Family Medical Leave Act, sick leave, states of emergency, arbitration, and “unemployment discrimination.”  Read our Top 10 newsletter to learn more about … Continue Reading

Background Checks Headline in 2014

In 2014, background checks were a hot topic in state and local legislatures.  Before this year, only 8 jurisdictions in the country had passed laws preventing private employers from asking job candidates about their criminal histories on an employment application (i.e., “banning the box”).  This year alone, however, 9 jurisdictions enacted ban-the-box laws covering private … Continue Reading

D.C.’s “Ban the Box” Law Takes Effect, OHR Issues Notice of Rights

D.C.’s Fair Criminal Record Screening Act of 2014 took effect on December 17.  The new law prevents employers with 11 or more employees in D.C. from making any criminal inquiries on an initial employment application (i.e., “banning the box”).  Once the employer has extended the applicant a conditional offer of employment, it may inquire into … Continue Reading

Lawsuits Grow Under “Old” Pennsylvania Background Check Law

A growing number of states and localities have enacted laws that restrict employers from considering certain types of criminal records in hiring and other personnel decisions.  Though many of these laws are more recent, Pennsylvania’s Criminal History Record Information Act (“CHRIA”) has been on the books for more than three decades.  The law, which prevents … Continue Reading

Prince George’s County “Bans the Box”

Add another locality to the growing list that have “banned the box” for private employers.  Starting January 20, 2015, employers with at least twenty-five full-time employees in Prince George’s County (MD) can no longer ask applicants about their criminal records on employment applications (i.e., banning the box) or through another medium (such as a consumer … Continue Reading
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