Employees for manufacturing companies are involved in so much of what our country produces on a daily basis. That’s a heavy responsibility and manufacturers need to know their employees are reliable and safe. A good background check should satisfy all of the above and just as importantly, ensure a hiring decision does not cause liability.

Manufacturing employees, in many ways the backbone of our society, often operate equipment requiring sharp-eyed attention. In addition, manufacturing employees have access to valuable supplies, making potential theft a risk.

A quality background check is the traditional way to assist in ensuring quality employees. Regulated by the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA), background checks have certain requirements for employers and companies such as GroupOne Background Screening. This would include stand-alone disclosure forms for employees and job applicants.

It’s a weird time in our history thanks in no small part to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. Companies across the U.S. are suffering from workforce shortages. Let’s not forget the ever-changing legal requirements. It’s a great idea for manufacturers to review hiring processes. Here’s a few topics to consider.

“Ban the Box”
“Ban the Box” laws limit an employer’s access to an applicant’s criminal history. These laws require employers to first consider qualifications when considering employment eligibility. It’s a potential mine field, with different states and municipalities enacting their own requirements.

For multi-state employers, this is a crucial consideration. You should confirm the requirements of your state laws before conducting a background check. Ban the box laws are continuing to grow in popularity and ever-expanding.

Employers making decisions based on an applicant’s criminal history should conduct individualized assessments, a step mandated in many states and counties.

Drug Screening for Marijuana
Talk about land mines. It has been a decade since Colorado and Washington legalized the recreational use of marijuana. Since then, 16 additional states have followed suit. In addition, the U.S. House of Representatives passed the Marijuana Opportunity Reinvestment and Expungement Act (MORE Act) earlier this month. The MORE Act is expected to decriminalize cannabis and remove cannabis from federal controlled substances. It is presently under consideration by the U.S. Senate.

While the MORE Act has yet to become law, there are significant shifts across the legal landscape governing cannabis use with no signs of slowing down. States are continuing to loosen marijuana restrictions with laws prohibiting discrimination against employees and job applicants based on cannabis use.

Manufacturers should be cautious with their drug policies and ensure they understand state and local laws governing cannabis use related to drug screenings.

Equal Employment Opportunities
Manufacturers should make sure their hiring practices comply with federal and state equal employment opportunity laws, with special attention paid to criminal history.

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission has been concerned the background screening of employees and applicants could have a disparate impact on certain classes. Employers would be wise to review policies to avoid potential discrimination claims.

As noted in past blogs, many automated screening processes using artificial intelligence have been known to inadvertently discriminate. An immediate review of these processes should be considered.

As stated earlier, it’s been a weird time and changes are rapidly taking place. A review of these policies can avoid costly problems in the future.

The information and opinions expressed are for educational purposes only and are based on current practice, industry related knowledge and business expertise. The information provided shall not be construed as legal advice, express or implied.