NAPBS 2015 Mid-Year Legislative and Regulatory Conference

2015 NAPBS Mid-Year Legislative and Regulatory Conference

The conference officially kicked off on Sunday night with an opening ceremony followed by the exhibit floor open to all for hors d’oeuvres and drinks.  Forty exhibitors againsupported NAPBS this year, similar to the same sold-out number as the last mid-year.  Attendance was up from last year’s 285 (185 attendees and 100 exhibitors) with 341 (200 attendees, 125 exhibitor attendees and 16 speakers).  Last year we had 45 going up on the hill on Advocacy Day and this year we had 55.

While the official kick-off was Sunday evening, things really started earlier.  The Board came in on Saturday for their board meeting and early on Sunday they participated in Board training session.  From 2-5PM was the Advanced FCRA Exam followed by a half hour of Ambassador Training (those volunteers who help attendees get from point A to point B in the hotel without getting too lost) and then an hour of meet and greet for First-Time Attendees.

If you hadn’t noticed, NAPBS has changed representation/lobbying law firms to Akin Gump. This change, I was told, was because our previous firm had great representation on a National level but Akin Gump is larger and has a strong National level footprint and much more of a presence at the State level.  We need early warnings on state legislation to try to head off any surprises that might negatively impact our industry.  Akin Gump presented a comprehensive status report of their efforts.

Here are some of the topics covered over the two days of the conference:

– How safe is Safe Harbor – Making criminal dismissals adverse information – How to avoid an FCRA lawsuit – Getting back to basics (FCRA) – Employer handling of legalized marijuana – Ban the box impact on employers – Cultural barriers in International Screening – State Law restrictions – Big Data in background screening – Healthcare industry legislation – EEOC and recent court developments – Criminal Records Reporting Practices Survey

*This session presented the preliminary data coming out of a survey of CRAs.  I was shocked by the varying practices being used when it comes to passing on criminal information to clients.  This data was gathered to provide the basis for creating best practices and will be coordinated with the Best Practices Committee to come up with recommended best practices.  Just one of the shockers was about reporting non-convictions.  Now, I may not have gotten this right, but 43% of the respondents said they NEVER report non-convictions (even those non-adjudicated and even those within the 7 year rule).  Wow!  That’s a surprise.  There were many other examples of highly inconsistent practices (i.e. 20% doing things one way, 30% another way 40% yet another way and 10% still another way) in the industry where we need to focus on getting everyone on the same page.

Key conference point You know what adverse information is. You know what adverse action is, but how do you handle contemporaneous notification that a public record was found and reported, even if the public record shows clear?  How are you handling this notice to the applicant?  Think you have to do nothing if it’s a clear?  You might want to stay in close touch with your FCRA attorney and continuing guidance from NAPBS on this subject.

I must say that this conference went by in a flash, from the opening ceremony to running to catch my plane home from Senator Nelson’s (D-FL) office on Wednesday.  I really needed to morph myself into three people to take in everything this conference offered.  There were so many sessions I wanted to attend but could not because of how busy we were in the booth.  Of course I can go here to see the conference presentations on the NAPBS website.  To clarify, the traffic in the exhibit hall could not be classified as “heavy”, but sufficient during the designated Exhibit Hall times and continued during presentation sessions. Attendees wanted to talk and spent a lot of time in more in-depth conversations about the services we offer.  In addition to the planned sessions, so much can be learned from the exhibitors.  Of course, we also had some very fruitful business discussions with many of the other exhibitors.

On the Hill About 55 people stayed over on Wed and gave up a full work day to contribute their valuable time to go up “on the hill” to talk to their representatives. Wednesday was an early day, with a bus pickup at 7:30.  A beautiful cherry blossom filled drive into DC where we met up and had a presentation from Representative Walberg (R-MI) whose House Bill 548 (amongst others) which, if passed, would amend the EEOC law to not allow EEOC to pursue disparate impact claims against employers who have a required mandate (from federal, state or local government) to not hire if an applicant has a specified conviction.  These employers are between a rock and a hard place: if they are required to automatically reject an applicant with a conviction, the employer could not follow the EEOC guideline to do an “individual assessment”.  The employer cannot comply with both.  Part of our task this day was to seek a co-sponsor to this bill from among the congressional staffers we were going to meet with throughout the day and to explain the catch 22 on these employers.

We then broke into groups to meet with our respective elected officials (or their staff) for the rest of the day.  Some groups had as many as seven meetings (most never last more than 20 minutes); our group had three.  This takes a tremendous amount of planning and coordination by or Akin Gump and NAPBS staff and our Board.  This year’s process went more smoothly than in the past.

Main discussion points:

– HB 548

– Educate that NAPBS exists and that we are an available resource for knowledge, statistics, methods and professionalism.

– For any legislation that requires a background check, educate and encourage such legislation to not only specify a fingerprint check but include language that gives the option for a traditional background check, emphasizing the point that there is no process to dispute an incorrect record on a fingerprint report whereby with a CRA, there exist federal and state requirements that regulate the protection of the consumer.

— Most staff members had no idea about the background screening industry.

— Most did not know the deficiencies in a fingerprint check.

— Most did not know of consumer dispute rights under the FCRA and not with an FBI check.

— We still had to correct them that we are not a Credit Reporting Agency.

Fun Times Sunday night with cocktails and hors devours in the Exhibit hall.  Great to re-connect with almost 400 of my closest friends.

Monday night saw Innovative Enterprises again with an open bar bash (the No-Sales Zone).  Lots of fun, dancing, talking and camaraderie.  Special thanks to Innovative for this and to all the exhibitors who sponsored all the functions.

Tuesday night was a very nice closing dinner.  No special entertainment but a final chance to meet new industry people and to bond with the industry stalwarts.

Health of the Industry Business is up very nicely for most during Q1.  While the unemployment rate is no longer falling, there is still turnover and we are needed.  CRAs are continually looking for new products/services to add to their product line.  Some complain about the continuing legislation and lawsuit challenges, but in 24 years in this industry, every time someone or something throw a lemon into the works, the industry comes out with lemonade and it just makes us stronger and more important to employers and to consumers.

Bruce’s Comments Adam Townsend and Dean Carras along with the conference committee and association management group (IMI) did a fantastic job again as chair of the Conference Committee in pulling off a super conference.   Big Thanks to them and the entire committee for a “hitch less” conference.

Food.  The food at this conference was disappointing, until the final meal.  (Duh!  Leave them with a good taste in their mouth).  Not that we go for the food, but….

Temperature:  A couple of the meeting rooms were brutally cold, but the Exhibit Hall was comfortable—we are making progress folks!

It still seems a bit amazing to me how all these competitors get together and build a strong organization, share friendship, help solve problems and get along so well.  NAPBS has a great spirit all based on common challenges and finding the best solutions.  I love it, but just think how much bigger my consulting portion of my business would be if people didn’t have NAPBS.  Alas, it is all good.

People, Places, Stuff

– Brittany Adams (former Rapid Court) has left the Industry.

– Single Source Services sold.  Don Dymer kept the HRVerifications platform (a competitor to The Work Number) but soon shut it down putting Brittany Bollinger in the job hunt.

– Berg Consulting Group was marketing Vault Verify (another competitor to The Work Number) via CRAs and through a six person direct to the employer sales team.   While Berg is still marketing this via the CRAs, the direct sales force effort was ended, affecting Melinda Dixon, Keith Meguiar, Sarah Schwarz, Kristi Christakos and Bryan Lippincott.

– Bon Idziak has moved from Applicant Insight and is reported to be accepting a new position soon.

– Johnny Bitar has moved from GIS and taken the Presidency at Applicant Insight.

– Nitza Lamas (formerly Int’l Screening Solutions) has left and is now doing consulting.

– Carlos Lacambra has left A-Check and is figuring out his next career move.

– Hilda Jensen, Human Assets South, continues her remarkable recovery.

– Beth Fortune (former NBD) has move to RedRidge.

– Peter Collins (former APRISS) has moved to InfoZen.

– Dawn Standerwick (former BISI, Applicant Insight, and Credential Check) is now with Employment Screening Resources.

– Linda Mack was there waiting for her daughter to make her a grandmother.  Congrats.

If you did not attend, once again you missed out.  Your company will not be as strong, your people not as knowledgeable, your clients not as well served and you did not get educated regarding the factors that could significantly increase your legal exposure.  It’s your industry.  It’s your business.  Join NAPBS! And support NAPBS.  Become active in a committee and come to the conferences.  I guarantee you won’t regret it.

The Fall Conference will be in Austin, currently scheduled for September 20-22.  However this may change since at sundown on September 22 begins Yom Kippur and this will create a conflict for many to get home by sundown Tuesday.   Anyway, put it on your calendar and plan to attend and to bring as many from your company as you can.  Their education and feeling of belonging is so important to your company health and growth.