New EEOC Guidance on New Hires During COVID 19 Outbreak Should Immediately Alert Hiring Managers; Opines CriminalBackgroundRecords.com

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Recently the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) released a guidance covering hiring policy during the current COVID 19 outbreak and highlights what can and cannot be required during pre-employment background screening. Adam Almeida, President and CEO of CriminalBackgroundRecords.com opines; “This announcement from the EEOC should immediately alert all HR departments and Hiring Managers to work with a well-qualified third-party pre-employment background screening agency in order to remain fully compliant with laws governing employment screening as well as EEOC Guidance announcements.”

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Companies large and small must continue to conduct pre-employment background screening and now must also have to adhere to new guidance on hiring from the EEOC.

The EEOC has recently released an updated version of its “PANDEMIC PREPAREDNESS IN THE WORKPLACE AND THE AMERICANS WITH DISABILITIES ACT” in reaction to the current COVID 19 outbreak. Adam Almeida, President and CEO of CriminalBackgroundRecords.com, opines; “The guidance released by the EEOC in response to COVID 19 provides steps that employers may take in regards to hiring during this challenging time, and should immediately alert all hiring managers and HR departments to ensure current pre-employment background screening policies are fully compliant by working with a well-qualified third-party pre-employment background screening agency.”

Even with massive layoffs due to the COVID 19 outbreak and stay-at-home policies companies are still hiring. Recent announcements from Amazon, Walmart, and a host of others are looking to expand headcount in direct response to heightened demand for goods and services related to the virus.

Almeida states: “There are numerous companies that are considered essential business and demands for specific products and/or services has forced numerous companies to hire additional employees. And companies large and small must continue to conduct pre-employment background screening and now adhere to new guidance on hiring from the EEOC.

The EEOC guidance is significant in many ways.

From Lexology.com (Mar. 30, 2020):

… the EEOC confirms that the COVID-19 pandemic meets the “direct threat” standard for employee medical examinations and disability related inquiries. Accordingly, employers do not violate the ADA by requiring employees to undergo medical examinations, such as temperature checks, or asking employees disability-related questions, such as whether the employees suffer from underlying health conditions that may make COVID-19 more severe for them. As with all medical information, the fact that an employee has a fever or an underlying health condition is subject to the ADA’s confidentiality requirements. (1)

Almeida states: “It is critical to note that the EEOC’s guidance should be applied equally to all candidates, just as all actions related to hiring and pre-employment background screening must be applied equally in accordance with the law.

It should be noted, also, that the guidance could be modified through the course of the pandemic.

From JDSupra.com (Mar. 20, 2020):

The EEOC’s revised guidance is specific to current CDC and WHO recommendations. Should the recommendations of these health officials change, whether to become more stringent or ultimately relaxed, we can expect the EEOC’s guidance to change. Employers faced with questions about COVID-19 screening and making employment decisions based on an employee or applicant’s diagnosis or possible exposure should consult with legal counsel. (2)

Almeida concludes; “Ultimately a best practice remains for hiring managers and HR departments to work with a well-qualified third-party pre-employment background screening agency in order to remain compliant with law and EEOC guidance.”

CriminalBackgroundRecords.com is a third-party employment screening company, an advocate of SHRM, a member in good standing with the PBSA (Professional Background Screening Association) and for over 17 years has maintained an A+ Rating with the BBB (Better Business Bureau). The company has highly trained operators well versed in the needs and requirements of companies and organizations large and small utilizing public records, such as criminal background records, as part of a hiring process. Assisting companies in maintaining full compliance under the law is a central tenet of all client relationships with CriminalBackgroundRecords.com.

Notes:

Detailed information on EEOC’s guidance can be found at https://www.eeoc.gov//facts/pandemic_flu.html

(1)    https://www.lexology.com/library/detail.aspx?g=bed30444-3a69-431a-9d4b-2c3948a552e5
(2)    https://www.jdsupra.com/legalnews/eeoc-updates-covid-19-guidance-for-19416/

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