The ADA requires employers with 15 or more employees to make ‘reasonable accommodation‘ so that individuals with disabilities have equal employment opportunities. Such accommodations might include a sign language interpreter for a deaf person during an interview, regularly scheduled breaks for a diabetic to eat and monitor blood sugar, or someone to read bulletin board posts to a deaf person. An employer must provide such reasonable accommodation if a person with a disability needs one in order to apply, perform, or enjoy benefits of a job equal to those offered to other employees. Employers are not required to provide an accommodation that would pose an undue hardship, such as a significant expense based on your resources and normal business operation. Most accommodations are low cost, and can often be offset with tax credits.
Archive for November, 2008
You would expect pre-employment background screening to prevent hiring someone with a criminal background, or to provide information about the truth of a resume. There is additional benefit to be realized by advertising that background screening is a normal part of your hiring process. Most applicants will then either provide a more complete and truthful application and/or resume, or won’t bother to apply at all (especially if they do have a criminal background). This can save employers time and money in the hiring process, before they even begin reviewing applications!
The goal of the Americans with Disabilities Act is not to give individuals with disabilities an unfair advantage; it is to provide equal access and opportunities. Employers do not have to hire someone with a disability over a more qualified person. Employers do need to make sure that those with disabilities have an equal opportunity to apply for and work in jobs for which they are qualified; have equal access to the privileges and benefits offered to other employers (such as health insurance and training); are not harassed because of a disability; and have equal opportunities for promotion.
In spite of its name, FCRA covers more than just credit reporting. The federal FCRA sets standards and guidelines for employers who want information about current or potential employees. The FCRA regulates all ‘consumer reports’ which relate to the ‘character, general reputation, personal characteristics, and mode of living’ of a person. This is, of course, what you as an employer want to know! Whether you check credit or not, any kind of pre-employment background check performed by a third party consumer-reporting agency thus becomes subject to the FCRA.
All background screening and credit report information must be properly disposed of, according to FACTA (the Fair and Accurate Credit Transactions Act) of 2003. Proper disposal means that any paper records must be shredded or otherwise destroyed so that the information cannot be reconstructed. It also means that if any such information was kept as computer files, those computers must be erased before being sold, donated, or disposed of.
Unlike some other HR-related regulations, the FCRA does not make any distinction between a small business owner and a large corporation. If the information you want to receive on a current or potential employee meets the definition of a consumer report, and is obtained through a consumer reporting agency, FCRA applies no matter how many employees you have.
The ADA is a federal civil rights law that was designed to prevent discrimination of individuals with disabilities and to assist them to integrate into mainstream society. The enforcement of laws under ADA is handled by the EEOC (Equal Employment Opportunity Commission). The ADA applies to all businesses with 15 or more employees, and protects every person who has a mental or physical impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities (like sitting, standing, or sleeping), who has a record (perhaps in the past) of a substantially limiting impairment, and who is regarded or treated by an employer as if they have that impairment (as in fear of hiring someone in remission from cancer due to fear of reoccurrence). The ADA only protects a person who is otherwise qualified for the job, and does not require the employer to hire a person with a disability over a more-qualified person.
With today’s concerns about security, workplace violence, and corporate scandals, more employers are utilizing pre-employment screening as a routine part of the hiring process. Along with drug testing, background screening is often used to verify the background and identity of a potential new employee. More than 96% of HR professionals indicate that background checks are used in their companies. In 1996, The Society for Human Resource Management Workplace Violence Survey reported only 66% of companies were using background screening.