Pre-employment Background Checks: New FCRA Forms Must Be Used by September 21, 2018
Posted on September 21, 2018 by Andrea Shindlebower in Employee Forms

Pre-employment Background Checks: New FCRA Forms Must Be Used by September 21, 2018

When hiring a new employee, the city may need to request additional information in order to make an informed decision.  Some of that information may include requesting credit reports, criminal records and motor vehicle checks. 

Pre-employment background checks must be done whenever cities are hiring any emergency personnel, such as police, fire and emergency medical employees; however, that shouldn’t be the only time that they are done.  Other positions include those that have access to cash or city accounts and in these cases a criminal background check and sometimes a credit check may be in order.  Positions that require the driving of city vehicles or even those who drive personal vehicles for city business should require a motor vehicle check before he or she is hired and on an annual basis after hiring.  Doing these checks will not always prevent a hiring mistake, but it does show that the city is using due diligence in making hiring decisions.

Cities, as employers, must also be aware of the laws that surround background checks.  These laws include those found in the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA), new legislation enacted by the federal government in May of 2018, known as the Economic Growth, Regulatory Relief, and Consumer Protection Act, Title VII discrimination claims, as well as the Kentucky Civil Rights Act and Kentucky law regarding background checks performed by public agencies.

Pursuant to the FCRA, employers must obtain permission in getting a credit or criminal background check.  In addition, if any of the information is used in the decision-making process, the city is required to notify the applicant to give them the opportunity to dispute any incorrect information.  The new model “A Summary of Your Rights Under the Fair Credit Reporting Act” disclosure form document was released on September 12, 2018, by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB). Employers must begin using the new form no later than September 21, 2018, at certain times as required by the FCRA. Failure to use the correct form can expose the employer to litigation. Changes to the form incorporate the new legislation, known as the Economic Growth, Regulatory Relief, and Consumer Protection Act and include the minimum duration of initial fraud alerts, information on obtaining security freeze by consumers, as well as excluding from consumer reporting information regarding certain veteran’s medical debts and a new dispute process with respect to these specific medical debts. More information on notice requirements can be found on the Bureau of Consumer Protection website. (Note: As of the date of this article, the form, A Summary of Your Rights Under the Fair Credit Reporting Act (Summary), located on the Bureau of Consumer Protection website is not the most current form.  Employers should obtain the most current Summary on CFPB newsroom page or by contacting the KLC Municipal Law and Training Department.)

Under Kentucky law, KRS Chapter 335B states that even if an applicant has been convicted of a crime, they cannot be automatically disqualified for public employment, which includes employment with a city.  The only exception is when the conviction “directly relates to the position of employment sought ..." And even then, it is not an automatic disqualification, as an employer can still hire if they believe the person has been rehabilitated.   Also, under Kentucky law, police, law enforcement telecommunicators, fire and emergency medical personnel cannot be hired with felony convictions (KRS 15.382, KRS 15.540 and KRS 95.440).  In addition, emergency medical personnel with certain misdemeanor convictions would be disqualified from being hired in those positions, as well as police officers and law enforcement telecommunicators for convictions involving moral turpitude (KRS 311A.050, KRS 15.540 and KRS 61.300). 

Violations of discrimination under state and federal law can also be a possibility when using background checks in hiring decisions.  Follow the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission’s (EEOC) guidelines to be certain that you are not using convictions as a basis to refrain from hiring someone, especially regarding a person’s race or national origin.  Employer’s should consider how the conviction relates to the job being sought, as well as the time that has passed since the conviction, and the applicant’s conduct and references since this conviction.  For more information on avoiding EEOC violations when using criminal background checks, see the EEOC website.

Keep in mind that any information used to make a hiring decision must be related to the job and the job description.  When you must make a decision not to hire based on information from any type of background check, make sure that you work with your city attorney to be certain you are making the right decision for all involved. 

For questions on hiring or other personnel related matters, contact Andrea Shindlebower Main, Personnel Services Manager or Courtney Risk Straw, Personnel Services Attorney.   

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Updated Family Medical Leave Act Forms
Posted on September 5, 2018 by Andrea Shindlebower in Employee Forms

Updated Family Medical Leave Act Forms

The Department of Labor released updated Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA) forms over the Labor Day weekend.  The only change to the forms is the new expiration date, which is August 31, 2021; however, it is important that you use the new forms from this point forward.  The updated forms can be found on the Department of Labor website.

For more information on this or any other personnel related matter, contact Andrea Shindlebower Main or Courtney Risk Straw in KLC’s Municipal Law and Training Department.

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2018 Form W-4 Released February 28th
Posted on March 15, 2018 by Andrea Shindlebower in Employee Forms

2018 Form W-4 Released February 28th

The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) released an updated Withholding Calculator earlier this year and a new version of Form W-4 this week, to assist taxpayers in checking their 2018 tax withholding following passage of the new tax law in December.  The changes in the new tax law include increasing the standard deduction, removing personal exemptions, increasing the child tax credit, limiting or discontinuing certain deductions and changing the tax rates and brackets. Because of the changes, the IRS is encouraging taxpayers to use the tax calculator to make sure they have the correct amount of tax taken out of their paychecks.  Any employees that wish to change their deductions will need to fill out the 2018 version of the Form W-4.  Employers should also begin using this form for any new hires and should have begun using the new income-tax withholding tables no later than February 15 of this year. 

For more information on this or any personnel-related matters contact Andrea Shindlebower, personnel services specialist.   

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New Form I-9 Effective September 2017
Posted on August 28, 2017 by Andrea Shindlebower in Employee Forms

Weekly HR News - Hiring

New Form I-9 Effective September 2017

The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has released a new version of the I-9 Employment Eligibility Verification. The new form is dated 07/17/17 in the lower left corner, and it replaces a version dated 11/14/2016. Employers may use either form through September 17, 2017, but beginning on Sept. 18, 2017, the new version of the form must be used for any new hires.

The USCIS states the changes to the form are as follows:

Revisions to the Form I-9 Instructions:

  • The name of the Office of Special Counsel for Immigration-Related Unfair Employment Practices has been changed to its new name, Immigrant and Employee Rights Section.
  • The words “the end of” have been removed from the phrase “the first day of employment.”

Revisions related to the List of Acceptable Documents on Form I-9:

  • The Consular Report of Birth Abroad (Form FS-240) has been added to List C.
  • All the certifications of report of birth issued by the Department of State (Form FS-545, Form DS-1350, and Form FS-240) have been combined into selection C#2 in List C.
  • All List C documents except the Social Security card have been renumbered.

The USCIS has also issued a revised Handbook for Employers (M-274) that contains the most current information on completing the I-9.  Note that ALL employers, including cities, are required to fill out an I-9 form on all new hires. 

This form is used to verify the employee’s identity and their ability to work in the United States and should be filled out on the first day of employment with the city.  Penalties for not filling out this form, or from filling it out improperly can cost the city thousands of dollars. 

Also, keep in mind that if you are going to keep paper copies, it is a good practice to have one file with all employee I-9s within that file in alphabetical order. This is to be sure that you can easily comply with the three-day requirement to turn over these documents if requested by the Department of Labor or Department of Justice.  Another reason for this practice, is that the information on these forms is confidential and would never be subject to an open records request.  Having them outside of the personnel file, and in a locked cabinet, ensures that they will remain confidential. 

Retention of these records will be at least as long as the employee works for the city.  Once the employee has left city employment you are required to keep them three years from the date of hire or one year from the date of termination whichever is longer.  The USCIS website can assist in calculating the required retention of each form. 

For questions about this or any other employment related matters, contact personnel service specialist, Andrea Shindlebower Main.

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Updated I-9 Forms. Beginning Jan. 22, USCIS will no longer accept old forms.
Posted on January 3, 2017 by Andrea Shindlebower in Employee Forms

Weekly HR News - Hiring

Updated I-9 Form

The United States Citizen and Immigration Services (USCIS) has updated the I-9, Employment Eligibility Verification form.  Beginning January 22, 2017, the USCIS will no longer accept the form dated March 8, 2013. The new form can be found at https://www.uscis.gov/i-9 and the date of any form can be found at the bottom of the page. 

Some of the changes in the new version include:

  • Employees only need to provide other last names used in Section 1, rather than all names used.
  • The certification in Section 1 for certain foreign nationals takes less time to complete.
  • There are additional spaces to enter multiple preparers and translators.
  • There is a dedicated area to enter additional information that employers have been required to notate in the margins of the form.

 Also, when the revised Form I-9 is completed on a computer, users will see: 

  • Checks to certain fields to ensure information is entered correctly.
  • Drop-down lists and calendars.
  • Instructions on the screen that users can access to complete each field.
  • Buttons that will allow users to access the instructions electronically, print the form, and clear the form to start over.

 

ALL employers, including cities, are required to fill out an I-9 form on all new hires.  Employers, must complete a Form I-9 for every employee hired after November 6, 1986. The I-9 form is used to verify the employee’s identity and their ability to work in the United States and should be filled out on the first day of employment with the city.  Penalties for not filling out this form, or from filling it out improperly can cost the city thousands of dollars. 

Also, keep in mind that if you are going to keep paper copies, it is a good practice to have one file with all employee I-9s within that file in alphabetical order. This is to be sure that you can easily comply with the three-day requirement to turn over these documents if requested by the Department of Labor or Department of Justice.  Another reason for this practice, is that the information on these forms is confidential and would never be subject to an open records request.  Having them outside of the personnel file, and in a locked cabinet, ensures that they will remain confidential. 

Retention of these records will be at least as long as the employee works for the city.  Once the employee has left city employment you are required to keep them three years from the date of hire or 1 year from the date of termination whichever is longer. 

For additional questions regarding this or other personnel related matters, contact Personnel Services Specialist, Andrea Shindlebower Main.   

 

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Hiring – The I-9 Form Expired March 31st
Posted on April 7, 2016 by Andrea Shindlebower in Employee Forms

HR Weekly

Hiring – The I-9 Form Expired March 31st

The current version of the Form I-9 expired on March 31, but until further notice employers should keep using the expired form until the new form is available on the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) website

On March 28, 2016, the USCIS published a second round of proposed changes to the form in the Federal Register, giving the public 30 days to comment.  Once that comment period has ended more changes may be made and then it will be sent to the Office of Management and Budget for review and approval. 

The purpose of the proposed changes is lessen technical errors for which employers may be fined, and include:

  • A start over button, which will allow the user to start over more easily.
  • Instant access to the instructions through the use of hyperlinks.
  • Anti-discrimination notice, which states that employers cannot specify the forms that the employee presents for validation.
  • Each section will also have a “click to finish” button that will validate that the information has been entered correctly.
  • Will only require other last names used instead of all other names used.
  • A QR code, that can be used to streamline audit processes.
  • Automatic formatting of the SSN.
  • Immigrants authorized to work will only need to provide either their Form I-94 number, foreign passport information or alien registration number.
  • Added spaces to include the names of multiple preparers and translators.
  • A dedicated area to enter supplementary information that employers are presently required to write in the margins.

KLC will send out a notice once the new form is officially required. For questions on this or other personnel matters, contact Andrea Shindlebower Main, KLC personnel services specialist.

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