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Employment Background Checks compliance

For those interested in staying up-to-date with the latest in compliance for pre-employment background screening and the laws that affect your use of employment background checks, follow our publication, BTW: Your Guide to Staying Out of Hot Water. This compliance resource has been created by our VP of Compliance and General Counsel, Angela Preston, and is a must-read for human resources and security professionals.

FCRA Class Action Targets LinkedIn

A recent case has pushed the issue back into the headlines, and this time, LinkedIn is in the spotlight. The popular social network was sued on October 9, 2014, for alleged violations of the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA). The class action, filed in the Northern District of California, claims that LinkedIn’s reference checking services are essentially background screening functions that should be regulated by the FCRA. Read More

Retailer Dollar General Settles FCRA Class Action for $4M

Another retailer is about to shell out a multi-million dollar settlement. According to court documents, Dollar General will pay $4 million to settle a two-year old Virginia class action case for missteps in its background screening process. Read More

Holiday Hiring: Keep it Legal and Don’t Forget the Background Check

Thanksgiving is just a few weeks away, and that means Black Friday, shopping online, and holiday music overload as we get ready for the big gift-giving season. It’s hard to believe, but holiday hiring season is already well under way. If you hire holiday or other temporary workers, it’s important to hire ones that you can trust. Read More

Have a question for the next issue of BTW? Submit YOUR question for Ask Angela here:

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FCRA Sues LinkedIn

Have you ever used LinkedIn to check up on someone? An employee or a prospective new hire? Of course you have–who hasn’t? And while I’ve never actually given the “recommendations” on LinkedIn much weight, I’ve often wondered whether employers actually rely on them to make a hiring decision. Social media sites have given us a whole new window through which to view candidates—both professionally and personally. [...]

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FCRA Background Check Settlement

This is a great time of year for most retailers. The holidays are just ahead, and consumer confidence is high. That’s the good news. Here’s the bad news: the trend of retailers being hit with FCRA class action cases continues to grow. As a colleague of mine, Scott Paler said recently, you can’t drive down the street in suburban American without noting the businesses in your shopping plaza that have been hit: Home Depot, Aaron’s Furniture, Whole Foods, CVS, Panera, Nine West, A.M.C., and so on. [...]

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Background Check

They say a background check can cost someone a job, but what’s the cost of employers not doing a background check and making bad hiring decisions? It’s difficult to pinpoint the precise value of your employees. I mean, they are worth the world to you, right? However, when it comes to hiring and retaining new employees—ones that you hope will have a lasting contribution to your company, you can in fact pinpoint your costs if an employee does not work out. [...]

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Holiday hiring_2

Thanksgiving is just a few weeks away, and that means Black Friday, shopping online, and holiday music overload as we get ready for the big gift-giving season. It’s hard to believe, but holiday hiring season is already well under way. If you hire holiday or other temporary workers, it’s important to hire ones that you can trust. [...]

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Candidate Experience

Halloween or not, most organizations are not looking to scare away their best candidates. However, they may be doing just that if their candidate experience is not up to snuff. Job seekers talk – and the ripple effect of a negative candidate experience has frightening ramifications: desirable candidates will look elsewhere; referrals will wane and an organization’s reputation and brand in the marketplace will suffer. Scarier still? Many organizations are unaware of the critical impact their background screening process has on the overall candidate experience. [...]

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Social Media Background Checks

Why, oh why do state governments feel the need to waste valuable time and tax payer money enacting laws that prevent employers from requiring access to the social media accounts of current or prospective employees?

HRMagazine is reporting that New Hampshire became the 18th state this past August to adopt such legislation and that similar bills have been introduced in at least 28 states.

Here’s my take- this is a waste of time because this is not a widespread trend among employers. In fact, I’ve yet to come across an employer who demands this of their candidates and employees. Whatever they are going to find isn’t worth the negative candidate experience or media attention this practice creates.

Where we have seen this, we’ve found that candidates stop applying for jobs and the media absolutely eviscerates the employer. Check out what happened in Bozeman, Montana several years ago. As soon as their practices of asking for social media passwords came to light, it took them about 2.5 seconds to rethink their policy. That was in 2009. The only other instance I’ve seen is from the White House. That’s right.  If you want to work for President Obama, beware that you’ll be asked to share your deepest and darkest secrets on Facebook. And guess what? I’d think they were crazy if they didn’t ask.

Evidently, the federal government gets it. According to Eric Meyer of Dilworth Paxson LLP and “The Employer Handbook” blog (which is incredibly entertaining and educational), “There have already been two attempts to pass a federal social media workplace privacy. Both have stalled out.”

Our most recent marketplace trends survey shows that most employers aren’t even conducting social media background checks as part of their employment background screening process, let alone asking for candidates’ passwords (see below).

Does your organization conduct online media searches for candidates as part of your hiring process?

Social Media Background Checks

I want to be clear that I think the practice of asking for social media passwords is a joke. Employers shouldn’t do it. It’s a horrible invasion of privacy. But there are a lot of things employers shouldn’t (and aren’t doing) that the states don’t bother wasting time legislating. I know it sounds great for a politician trying to create a name for themselves, but let’s add this to the list.

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Denver Background Checks

Denver’s year-old policy allowing for the disposal of pre-employment background checks in its jail system is garnering more attention for a system already under the microscope. An April 2013 policy allows for the destruction of pre-employment records in as little as three years after the employee is hired. This is only a year above the minimum set by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) and far below the minimum recommended by Colorado municipal clerks and consultants. Keep reading to learn the three failures of background checks in Denver’s jail system.


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Criminal Mugshot

While reading Orange is the New Black recently, I was struck by a point the author made about the difficulties prisoners face when they’re finally able to leave prison and re-enter society. After living in an institution that supplies them with a job, food, and place to live, many are unprepared to step back into the “real” world.

For example, the book’s author mentions that because of advantages she had before prison (like a college degree) there was a job waiting for her when she finished her sentence—which was not the case for many prisoners. Many of the women around her did not even have a high school diploma let alone a college degree. And not only did they lack education, but experience. Many of the prisoners had never had real jobs. With little practical job training available in prison, job opportunities have become severely limited for the formerly incarcerated.

To Hire Or Not to Hire?

The message I want to share is simply that employers shouldn’t be afraid to hire ex-offenders just because of a conviction. While there are cases when a candidate with a criminal record should be disqualified for the safety of your employees, clients, company, etc., there are instances when you shouldn’t let a conviction stand in the way of your hiring decision.

On the candidate’s side of the argument, it’s fair to say for most—they are looking for jobs. They want jobs. Whether they spent time in prison, or simply made unfortunate mistakes in the past, many want to redeem themselves by finding a stable job. And it’s for individuals like these that employers have the choice to look beyond the results of an employment background check.

Whether you need to be convinced that hiring ex-offenders could be a good idea or you want to hear best practices for doing so, keep reading. [...]

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Employment Background Screening

Fall has officially arrived in Northeast Ohio complete with chillier temperatures  and of course, a variety of posts on the IQ Blog. Haven’t had a chance to keep up? See a few of our top posts below in addition to the full blog here. And stay tuned to our blog to hear about our upcoming webinar at the end of October and more!

BMW Flips Script on EEOC: Probes Agency’s Background Check Practices

BMW is questioning why EEOC can conduct employment background checks as a reliable exercise in hiring risk management, but questions BMW’s right to do so. Read More

Congress Criticizes the EEOC’s Policy on Background Checks

Congress is showing signs of life in the fight for employers to conduct reasonable background checks. Learn more about three recent bills aimed to increase the accountability of the EEOC. Read More

Ride-Sharing Companies Feeling the Strain of Background Checks in California

Three major ride-sharing services, Sidecar, Uber, and Lyft have been warned that company practices violate California law in two areas: background checks and car-pooling. Read More

NFL Player Introductions to Include Criminal Records?

You don’t have to be a football fan to know that the NFL is facing an unprecedented amount of negative publicity over the criminal transgressions of some of its players. Read More


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