New OSHA Penalties Put Pressure on Employers

Recent case law has impacted California’s turnaround time for criminal background checks. The California Supreme Court of Appeals ruled in All of Us or None v. Hamrick that the privacy interests of individuals involved in criminal proceedings should be protected. This ruling compounds delays already occurring due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Courts are now prohibited from displaying the date of birth and driver’s license numbers in public access records.
Background checks have been delayed due to COVID-19 related staffing shortages in both courts and laboratories. The added delay will significantly impact employers trying to onboard new employees. It may be challenging to run accurate criminal background checks on employees with common names. Some counties will charge extra fees for the court clerks to assist with background checks; however, even this is likely to end with introducing the new case law.

What Employers Can Do

Onboarding a new employee is a time-sensitive process, so it is important to set expectations. First, understand when to request a background check. Under the Fair Chance Act of 2018, California employers with five or more employees must wait until after the conditional offer of employment to ask about criminal history or request a drug test. Once the offer is made, notify the employee of the timeline for completing their background screening. Ask the employee to respond to any screening questionnaires immediately and set the expectation that there will be follow-up questions from the background check vendor. Keep the lines of communication open during the onboarding process, so the employee does not become discouraged.

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About Emplicity:
Since 1995, Emplicity has provided a smarter, more secure, and integrated platform of employer services to its 300 business clients and their 8,500 employees. As a Professional Employer Organization, or PEO, the California-based HR outsourcing firm simplifies the compliance, administration, and support businesses need in the areas of employee benefits, payroll, and human resources technology.

NOTICE: Emplicity provides HR advice and recommendations. Information provided by Emplicity is not intended as a substitute for employment law counsel. At no time will Emplicity have the authority or right to make decisions on behalf of its clients.

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