What We Learned at the 2019 PBSA Conference

The National Association of Professional Background Screeners (NAPBS) became the Professional Background Screening Association (PBSA) at the 2019 Annual Conference, which kicked off on September 8th in San Antonio.   The association selected this name to better reflect the goals of an industry that now spans the globe.  Our team was there to experience the first ever PBSA conference and we returned ready to get to work.  There were many sessions and meetings covering a wide range of topics, from minor courthouse process changes to overall best screening practices. Here are a few of the highlights:

In August, Circuit Court Judge Piazza ruled that the Bentonville, Arkansas District Clerk violated the Freedom of Information Act by refusing to release court records for background checks. The clerk’s decision to refuse record requests was born from her understanding of these requests as “compiled information” as written in the State Supreme Court’s Administrative Order 19.  This ruling was a huge win; however, we haven’t made it through the woods yet.  The clerk has since filed an appeal, and PBSA followed-up with a cross-appeal.  We are anxiously awaiting the next step in this litigation and hope that record checks in the Bentonville District Court will resume soon.

After talking about it for what seems like forever, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s Drug and Alcohol Clearinghouse is finally open for registration.  The clearinghouse will contain real-time information about a commercial driver license holder’s drug and alcohol program violations, including positive drug or alcohol test results and test refusals.  Beginning January 6, 2020, registered users will be required to conduct queries of the clearinghouse.  Registered users include drivers and employers required to comply with DOT regulations, consortiums/third-party administrators, medical review officers, and substance abuse professionals.

query plans

Not every session contained breaking news, but sometimes old news bears repeating: are your screening practices compliant?  Believe it or not, FCRA claims have been increasing every year since 2011.  This means that employers are still being sued because their disclosure forms contain extraneous information or because they have not adequately followed the pre-adverse and adverse action steps.  Don’t make these common background check disclosure and authorization form mistakes!  Validity offers a simple solution to meet your compliance needs via our Compliance Automation Software.  Compliant forms are made available to your candidates when they access the system and you can make your pre-adverse and adverse action decisions with the click of a button.

pbs conference

I’ve attended several conferences, but my favorite part of this experience was that I was able to bring two of my teammates, Hannah McGreevy and Kim Harms, to their first ever PBSA conference.  Opportunities to step into new settings, develop skillsets, and interact with other professionals is invaluable to any organization, and Validity is no different.  The keynote speaker, NBA All-Star Mark Eaton, asked us to take a deeper look at ourselves and discuss how we can become better team players for our coworkers.  The educational sessions inspired us to brainstorm ways that we can enhance our services and processes for our clients.

Having observed the evolution of this industry over the years, it felt right having two first timers present for the inaugural PBSA conference.  I look forward to seeing what the future holds for them as well as the Professional Background Screening Association.