Prescription Drug Use In The Workplace

Drug testing is an important part of pre-employment screening as well as random testing during an employee’s tenure at the company. Generally, drug screening tests only look for illegal drugs, but in recent history the use and abuse of prescription medications have increased negative effects in the workplace.

According to a 2014 study by the Workers Compensation Research Institute 65% to 85% of injured employees received narcotic painkillers as part of their workplace injury treatment. Being prescribed narcotic painkillers such as opioids can lead to addiction and influence an employees’ performance and affect workplace safety leading to an increase of worker’s compensation costs for employers.

drug screening Standard Drug Screening tests do not test for opioids and other prescription medications and because of the increased risk of prescription drug addiction and abuse, it is recommended that employers expand their drug testing procedures. The National Safety Council has found that 23% of American workers have used prescription drugs for non-medical uses.

Expanding drug testing procedures are especially important when it comes to situations where employers need employees to be “extra” alert, such as driving, in factory settings, refineries and much more. Drug screening are a valuable tool not only for human resource managers, but also for safety managers wanting to make sure that their companies comply with OSHA rules and limit their amount of working hours without a workplace injury.

It is important to find out what types of drug testing is allowed in your state, and make sure that any drug testing programs at your company comply with local, state and federal laws. AAA Credit Screening Services utilizes drug screening companies in your area that will assist you through this process of achieving a Drug Free Workplace. Call our knowledgeable customer service staff now at 888-282-0447 to help determine the appropriate testing procedure for your company.

* Some information obtained through http://www.openonline.com

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Employment Background Check Service Review

pexels-photo-212286While some consumer reporting agencies offer both employment and tenant reports, others specialize in one area. This article is a look at a variety of employment screening services, and strives to answer the question: Does specializing in one area of the background screening industry improve the quality of screening that is provided?

The simplest way to dissect multiple consumer reporting agencies’ processes is in comparison to another company’s. Here, we will compare the report options, customer service, and membership with professional screening associations between five companies and AAA Credit Screening Services (AAACSS); while remaining as objective as possible to give a fair overview of what each company has to offer.

This chart represents a summary of our findings:

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AAA Credit Screening Services offers tenant and employment credit and background screening services. In addition to a diverse selection of tenant and employment background reports, AAA Credit Screening offers live phone answering customer service and a turnaround time for e-mail contact under one business hour. A test e-mail that was submitted during business hours via AAA Credit Screening’s website contact form received a response in less than 10 minutes.

AAA Credit Screening is an active member with the NAPBS, as well as the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) and the National Association of Residential Property Managers (NARPM). Of the five companies, AAA Credit Screening is the only company with fully cross-trained employees who are FCRA certified background screeners. AAA Credit Screening Services is also the only company that offered Worker’s Compensation Reports, and IRS Income Checks, two reports which can be crucial in the employment and tenant screening processes.

For more information on employment screening, and to see your options for employment background checks, see AAA Credit Screening’s employment screening page or contact AAA Credit Screening today at 1-888-282-0447.

Key Differences between In-House and Outsourced Background Checks

If you or your company perform background checks on tenant or employment applicants, it is important to decide whether in-house or outsourced background checks are right for you.

First, what is the difference between in-house versus outsourced background screening?

In-house background screening is when a landlord, realtor, or employer individually searches sources for background screening. A common example of this would be a landlord calling a tenant applicant’s employer to verify the applicant’s position and wage/salary. Another instance of in-house background screening would be a hiring manager visiting a county courthouse’s databases to search for records under an employee applicant’s name.

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Outsourced background screening is when a landlord, realtor, or employer hires a third-party background screening company to take care of their background checks. Typically this third-party is either a Consumer Reporting Agency (CRA) such as AAA Credit Screening Services, or a “Reseller” that purchases its background reports from a CRA. Processes vary from company to company, but in the case of AAA Credit Screening Services, the landlord, realtor, or employer (“client”) sends in a request along with the individual’s application and/or authorization form(s), specifying the scope and type of background check that they would like, such as a Nationwide Criminal Search or a Worker’s Compensation Report. From there, AAA Credit Screening Services procures the report information and returns it to the client requestor.

The main arguments for and against in-house and outsourcing background checks are as follows:

In-house Background Screening Pros:

  • Background checks do not have to conform to the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA), meaning they can include searches for information going beyond seven (7) years of history
  • No service fee, other than those charged by the sources (e.g. courthouse record clerks, high school registrar’s offices)

In-house Background Screening Cons:

  • Scope is limited to what the landlord/realtor/employer can do on their own, without the use of CRAs or Resellers. Usually this means visiting county courthouses and police departments for criminal records or contacting the applicant’s references left on their resume or application. Some counties do not have online or phone access to court or police records.
  • Background screening is a time-consuming process, especially for those who are not in the background screening industry. A single applicant’s background check can take hours of work; for a human resources worker paid the industry average of $62,960/annually, in-house background screening can be a waste of company time and resources.

Outsourced Background Screening Pros:

  • Third-party background screening companies typically have a wide scope of searches. AAA Credit Screening Services, for example, is able to perform criminal background checks at the county, state, or nationwide level. Additionally, AAA Credit Screening can obtain criminal records from foreign countries, something that is simply impossible for most individual landlords, realtors, or employers performing in-house background screening. AAA Credit Screening also has access to certain searches that are not available to most individuals, such as Social Security Number Verifications or Business Credit Reports.
  • Time and resources used on background screening are limited to the amount of time spent ordering the report and the cost of the report as purchased from the third-party background screening company. A client can purchase a Statewide Criminal Report from AAA Credit Screening and have the report turnaround in one business hour, or spend weeks of time and hundreds of dollars on court access fees, trying to search the county courthouses within the state for criminal records.

Outsourced Background Screening Cons:

  • Individuals must careful with the company they chose to perform their background checks. CRAs and Resellers who do not hold a membership with the National Association of Professional Background Screeners (NAPBS) may be unreliable, or not conforming to industry standards, leaving clients with low-quality, unfinished, or falsified reports.
  • Third-party background screening companies must conform to the guidelines set forth by the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA). This means that on most searches, CRAs and Resellers can only return 7 years’ worth of history. The FCRA also requires that the client’s permissible purpose (such as tenancy, employment, extension of credit, or insurance underwriting) for background screening be determined by the CRA or Reseller before any background screening can occur. Additionally, the FCRA mandates that all consumer reports (that is, credit or background screening reports on individuals) must be authorized by the consumer, that is, the individual whose background is being reported, in writing.

AAA Credit Screening Services is not only a member with the NAPBS, but also an accredited business with the Better Business Bureau (BBB), and a partner of the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) and the National Association of Residential Property Managers (NARPM). AAA Credit Screening Services has a global reach for background checks, able to perform searches in many locations that other companies are not. AAA Credit Screening also stays up-to-date on tenant, credit, and employment background screening laws so that its clients can be protected from undesired litigation.

To start outsourcing your background checks today, complete AAA Credit Screening Service’s new customer sign up form or call our friendly customer service staff toll free at 1-888-282-0447 to speak to a live representative during business hours.

Employer Certification: What is it, and why does it matter?

signature If you have requested an employment-related credit or background check from AAA Credit Screening recently, you may have been notified of a requirement you were missing from your request: an employer certification form. You may have found yourself asking: what is an employer certification form, and what is the purpose of this document?

The employer certification form is required for AAA Credit Screening’s compliance with the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA)1. The FCRA mandates that a consumer reporting agency such as AAA Credit Screening can only supply reports for employment purposes if:

“the person who obtains such report from the agency certifies to the agency that […] (i) a clear and conspicuous disclosure has been made in writing to the consumer at any time before the report is procured or caused to be procured, in a document that consists solely of the disclosure, that a consumer report may be obtained for employment purposes; and (ii) the consumer has authorized in writing […] the procurement of the report by that person” (§ 604 – 15 U.S.C. § 1681b)

In short, this section of the FCRA requires that any employer requesting a consumer report for “employment purposes” must give “certification,” or written confirmation, to their reporting agency that they have given the proper disclosures to and obtained an authorizing signature from an individual before requesting an employment screening on said individual. The easiest way to comply with this certification requirement is to simply complete and sign the employer certification form that AAA Credit Screening Services provides for our clients.

Note that the employer certification form must be completed every time you request a screening. In this way, it is different from our Client Service Agreement or Criminal Reporting Policies Form, which are one-time requirements for sign-up with AAA Credit Screening Services. The one exception is during batch orders or multiple orders on the same applicant. The Federal Trade Commission (FTC), who controls the FCRA, has stated2 that “blanket certification” is acceptable in the case of multiple orders made on the same day “as a practical matter.” Additionally, they have said that it is acceptable “if an employer submits a blanket certification for purposes of obtaining consumer reports on an employee during the term of that individual’s employment.”

It is AAA Credit Screening Services’ duty as a consumer reporting agency to comply with the FCRA. To stay informed about employment screening and how the FCRA affects your company, be sure to follow the AAA Credit Screening blog!

www.hrbackground.com

1 For the full document of FCRA online
2 As stated in “Advisory Opinion to Kilgo” (07-28-98)

SORTING THROUGH THE FAKES

Most of your applicants know that a bad reference from a landlord or employer could easily disqualify them. What, then, stops your applicant from using a service such as careerexcuse.com or paladindeception.com, whose main objective is to provide fake references to potential landlords or employers? CareerExcuse boasts references for both “blue collar” and “white collar” jobs, with live phone operators and convincing company e-mails, phone lines, and “professionally located company” addresses and websites which can be used to deceive you, the landlord or employer checking into the references. Paladin Deception Services can even prepare a “fictitious reference, white lie or alibi” within 24 hours.

Using a consumer reporting agency such as AAA Credit Screening Services for your tenant or employment screening needs gives you several legs up against these fake reference companies and the applicants who use them. Firstly, you can get a more detailed dossier on your applicant through a credit report, criminal report, Sex Offender Registry search; or one of the many other reports offered by AAA Credit Screening. This way, you do not have to rely solely on references to have an understanding of who your applipinocchiocant is, and whether they meet your rental or employment standards.

Secondly, AAA Credit Screening Services offers a more intense research of references through our employment, landlord, and education verification services. Our team comes prepared – we spend an average of 4.6 hours on just one verification – this time is divided up between researching the reference/company, determining the proper route for verification, and completing the actual verification. The time AAA Credit Screening Services spending on each application far exceeds the amount of time that an individual landlord, property manager, HR manager, or small business owner could hope to spend on their screening process – especially if they have multiple applicants.

In the case of an employment verification, for example, if an applicant gives a company name, the name of a supervisor, and the supervisor’s direct phone number for an employment reference; we research beyond what is found in the application. Confirming the legitimacy of the company is our first step in the verification process, from there we go through the company’s channels to locate a contact within the HR or Payroll department – for a smaller company we will at times be put in touch with an office manager or the business owner – at which point we can obtain the verification through phone, fax, or e-mail.

In the information age, verifying the identity and legitimacy of a reference is just as important as the reference itself. Verifications, in addition to a thorough employment or tenant screening package, should always be a part of your hiring or rental process. It’s a scary world out there, and trusting your applicant on good faith alone is not only unwise – it can also be unsafe.

https://www.hrbackground.com

Scary Statistics – Violence in the Workplace

According to the United States Department of Labor,

  • More than 23,000 injuries from assault at work were reported in 2013
  • 70% of these assaults were in Social Services or Healthcarestabby stabby
  • In 2012, there were 463 workplace homicides (the most common being shootings)
  • 21% of these workplace homicides were committed by co-workers
  • Women are more likely to be murdered while on the job compared to men
  • About 40% of female homicides in the workplace are committed by relatives
  • Nearly half of all work related deaths in the sales (and related) occupation fields were homicides

“Workplace violence is defined as violence or the threat of violence against workers. It can occur at or outside of the workplace and can range from threats and verbal abuse to physical assaults and homicide.” – O.S.H.A.

The immediate impact of the violent incident on a workplace environment cannot be measured quantitatively, but the after effects can be costly. The impact may be felt in a wide range and can include:

  • Employee absence
  • Productivity barriers
  • Damage, theft, or sabotage occurring on the property
  • Deviation of normal processes and procedures by management
  • An increase of Workers’ Compensation costs/claims
  • An increase in personnel costs

It may not be possible to completely avoid workplace violence, but prevention is key.

Create and implement a “violence in the workplace” program to be followed by employees, customers, guests, and anyone entering the business property. Pre-screen all potential employees appropriately. Utilize security measures such as ID badges, security guards, and limit access to the property and facilities to only those individuals that need to be there.

In a world where we are unable to control every aspect of our environment, having a detailed program in place may mean the difference between life and death.

For information on creating and implementing a workplace violence program:

http://www.dol.gov/oasam/hrc/policies/dol-workplace-violence-program.htm