Facing the Trends

There are changes afoot in the background screening industry. Looking at present trends and predictions, business owners and human resource directors are seeing technological innovations designed to not only streamline pre-employment checks on job applicants but which will over time provide savings. In addition, changes in access to qualified workers and other economic sector disruptors will present challenges more difficult to conquer than upgrading technology. Earlier this year, attorney Les Rosen’s company, Employment Screening Resources, offered a number of trends to watch for in 2018. Elements of that list correspond with what we’re watching at Trace Investigations this year:

  1. As more millennials enter the workforce, companies will have to make the background check process more applicant friendly. That will lead, for example, to the introduction of biometric identification processes across a wide spectrum of the hiring process.
  2. Class actions lawsuits focused on violations of the federal Fair Credit Reporting Act will continue to target employers and their background screening practices. With this trend in mind, and critical requirements under various state laws, at Trace Investigations we routinely incorporate redundancies into our review of backgrounds checks before we report to our clients.
  3. The European Union’s new data protection regulations will impact how we conduct international investigations. In fact, we will be seeing changes in our state laws as a result of the EU’s actions. That’s happened already. The California Consumer Privacy Act of 2018 was passed into law in June, and it has national implications for employers and those of us who screen job candidates from around the country.
  4. In addition to enhanced privacy protections, concerns about data breach protection and information security will continue. For example, at Trace Investigations, improving our security measures means transitioning from paper file storage to secure digital systems, among other technological upgrades.
  5. The E-Verify system will soon be a mandatory requirement for all U.S. employers. With that in mind, earlier this year we incorporated a program that lets our clients outsource the E-Verify process as part of our routine screening.

These are the key changes we are seeing. There are other trends employers are watching, of course, which will impact how companies screen job applicants, such as Ban the Box and pay equity movements. While these changes directly impact employers, background screening firms are facing a range of disruptions in access to public records. We are seeing an increase in fees imposed by court clerks for verification of identifiers in a case file, including dates of birth, which have disappeared from some public access terminals. We have always encountered extensive delays in “clerk only” searches in some states, including New Hampshire. We can expect similar challenges as other states move away from the concept of public access to restricted access.

Public record advocate and longtime friend of Trace Investigations, Mike Sankey recently sold his company BRB Publications, although he continues to write the PI Magazine column, “Public Records Update.” In the current issue, Mike reports on changes in driver licenses that will soon show up for those of us who have to verify a criminal record with strict matches from multiple record sources. Two states, California and Oregon, and Washington, D.C. have passed laws that require non-binary “X” gender markers on state IDs and driver’s licenses. California and Oregon have also implemented “… laws allowing the amendment of birth certificates to allow for a non-binary choice with a medical certification. Applicants, however, do have to provide a notarized affidavit attesting, under penalty of perjury, that the request for change of gender is to conform their legal gender to their gender identity and not for any fraudulent purpose.”

No matter the changes and challenges faced by our clients, Trace Investigations will continue to focus on results. Remember: “We work hard to eliminate doubt that could jeopardize the outcome of a serious matter.”

For assurances in an effective background screening policy, contact Trace Investigations at (812) 334-8857 or (812) 333-8830.