Compliance News Flash - February 2017

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This week’s news flash – a quick overview of timely background screening and immigration-related news that is important to your organization.

1. The President’s Executive Order (EO) on immigration remains on hold. A three judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit, in a unanimous decision, upheld the stay against the President’s EO. This particular EO seeks to ban nationals from the following seven countries—Iran, Iraq, Libya, Syria, Sudan, Somalia and Yemen—for 90 days, Syrian refugees indefinitely and all refugees for a period of 90 days. Regarding the “travel ban” and individuals from the seven countries, whether working in the United States on an H-1B or studying in F-1 status or any other temporary status, such individuals are advised to consult with an immigration attorney about any travel outside the United States. The Temporary Restraining Order is temporary and litigation on this matter is expected to continue.

2. It is expected that worksite enforcement operations by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) will increase in the comings months. The purpose of these worksite operations will be to audit your company’s compliance with the Form I-9 requirements and whether you are employing a legal workforce. Now is the time to prepare for any such actions—be it a raid or a visit by ICE agents presenting a Notice of Inspection (NOI)—by having a plan in place to execute in such an event. For instance, if federal agents present themselves in your lobby or worksite, would they be vectored to management? Are there signs on your worksite that restrict access to employees only? If you would like to discuss further please contact Montserrat Miller.

3. H-1B season is upon us. That means that organizations seeking to hire international talent using the H-1B visa category (e.g., engineers, business professionals, computer programmers) must identify employees that may need H-1B status to work in the United States and begin preparations to file petitions on April 1, 2017 in order to qualify for the H-1B lottery. Why a lottery? Because the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services only approves 85,000 (65,000 + 20,000) H-1B petitions subject to the annual H-1B cap. Click here to read more. 

4. Restrictions on the use of credit history by employers when conducting a background check is trending up. Washington, D.C. is the latest major city to pass legislation pertaining to credit history screening for job applicants. The bill is called the Fair Credit in Employment Amendment Act (Bill 21-244) and it amends the city’s Human Rights Act. It prohibits employers, employment agencies, and labor organizations from taking discriminatory action against prospective and current employees based on credit history information. Business necessity may be an exception. The bill was approved by the full D.C. Council and now awaits Mayor Bowser’s signature and then, because the District of Columbia really isn’t a state, the bill must be approved by the U.S. Congress. Click here and here for more information.

DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

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