Background Checks Have Changed in 2020: What’s New?

The background check landscaping is changing. Many states and cities are creating new rules regarding what employers can and can’t do. Failing to follow the laws typically comes with some pretty severe consequences, both legally and financially. As a result, it’s critical to keep an eye on what’s new when it comes to background checks, allowing you to ensure you handle things properly.

But staying aware of changes can be complicated. After all, not all cities, counties, and states are following the same rules. However, by remaining vigilant overall, you can be ready for tightening restrictions. If you want to know what’s changed with background checks in 2020, here’s what you need to know.

Ban-the-Box Gets Greater Traction

At least 35 states have some form of fair-hiring law, many of which apply to public and private employers. Plus, many counties and cities have also taken action, covering the topic even if their state hasn’t. Ban-the-box, a movement aimed at preventing employers from asking about a person’s criminal history on an application, has been gaining a significant amount of traction throughout the country.

The goal behind ban-the-box is to make opportunities more accessible to individuals with criminal records. Usually, the premise is that companies may be more open to these candidates after reviewing their resumes or conducting interviews. Plus, it prevents employers from having a method for tossing these applications aside based on a single ticked box.

Ban-the-box laws vary dramatically from one jurisdiction to the next. As a result, companies need to review rules in their area, including at the state, county, and city levels. That way, you can ensure you are complying with local legislation.

Additionally, even if ban-the-box laws aren’t in place in your area, removing the question from your application now could still be wise. These laws are increasingly common, so taking action now means you’ll be ahead of the curve.

Social Media Checks Increasingly Common

Many employers aren’t just using social media to promote their business; they are also using it to screen applicants. Usually, the goal is to look for red flags indicative of questionable behaviors, such as bad-mouthing former employers, making biased statements about others, or using illegal substances.

However, this landscape is increasingly complex legally. When you review a social media profile as part of a background check, you could be learning about a candidate’s affiliation with protected status. This creates liability issues as making hiring decisions based on details like gender, race, religious affiliation, age, disabilities, or sexual orientation isn’t legal.

As a result, background check companies are increasingly offering social media searches as part of their product landscape. With these options, status-oriented details are scrubbed from any reports, ensuring the employer doesn’t inadvertently learn about them. This reduces the likelihood of an FCRA or EEOC violation.

Contingent Worker Screening Takes Center Stage

As the gig economy grew, so did the scandals. Many companies that hire freelancers, contractors, or gig workers chose not to run background checks. However, some companies are now paying the price for not taking that step. For example, lawsuits against ridesharing companies that alleged the businesses failed to take care of their customers by skipping the checks are increasingly common.

Companies are now re-examining their practices when it comes to contractors and contingent workers. It’s a way of protecting themselves and their customers, making the exercise more widespread.

At The Advance Group, we understand companies’ concerns. That’s why we screen our candidates to ensure they meet your need and adhere to your company’s standards. If you’d like to learn more about our processes, the team at The Advance Group wants to hear from you. Contact us today.






Looking for hard-to-find talent? Need a great temporary employee? We’ll help you find the people you want faster.

Job Seekers

Staffing Company works with dozens of local employers, and we can shorten your search for a great job.