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Background Screening Trends

You wouldn’t take a survey that doesn’t benefit you, right? We feel the same. We’ve been asking for your input not only because we want to know what you think —but your peers want to know too.

In the past, our Annual Employment Background Screening Trends Report has delivered incredible insights for HR professionals, hiring managers, recruiters, and industry experts across the United States. This information reveals the opinions you feel most strongly about as well as insight into where the industry is headed.

In sum, taking part in our survey will benefit you in THREE ways:

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Non-Violent Criminal Records

Those of you who have been following this blog for a while know I do my best writing when I am outraged. This also explains why I haven’t been writing as much over the last few months. I just haven’t had anything juicy to sink my teeth into. Until now!

PBS just posed the most ridiculous poll question to their viewers, listeners, and readers:

Should employers doing background checks be blocked from seeing non-violent criminal offenses?

Response Choices:

  • Yes, a non-violent offense should not be an obstacle to gainful employment.
  • Yes, non-violent offenses should be sealed from background checks, but only after 10 years.
  • No, a business owner has the right to know the full background of the individual he/she is hiring.

Before you answer, let’s analyze each of these responses to make sure you’re making an informed decision. [...]

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Pizza Hut Logo

Litigation Update

Pizza Hut is the latest restaurant in the hot seat. The much loved pizza chain is facing an Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) lawsuit filed last week in the Southern District of New York. A class action complaint was filed on January 15, 2015, alleging that the company violated portions of the Fair Credit Reporting Act in its employment background screening process. The target was once again, the portion of the FCRA that requires a “clear and conspicuous disclosure” about the background check that is made in writing “in a document that consists solely of the disclosure.”

Case Name: Rivera Alberto v. Pizza Hut of America, Case No. 15CV00308, U.S. District Ct. for the Southern District of N.Y.

File Date: January 15, 2015

Cause of Action: Class Action, Fair Credit Reporting Act 15 USC 1681(b)(2)(a), Disclosure and Authorization

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FCRA Litigation

As we kick off a new year, at least one of the trends identified in 2014 continues to gather steam. The flood of FCRA class action lawsuits shows no signs of slowing down. As I’ve reported in the past, the hits just keep coming.

Here’s the Roundup:

Graham v. Michaels Stores Inc., Case No. 2:14-cv-07563, U.S. District Court for the District of New Jersey Dec. 4, 2014: The complaint alleges that the craft store chain violated both the New Jersey Fair Credit Reporting Act (NJFCRA) and the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA). According to Graham, the company violated the requirement of providing a stand-alone disclosure. According to the complaint, the disclosure was part of the application form, included a space to list prior employers, and contained ten different state notices. The two classes identified in the pleading include all those who applied to Michaels through the online job portal in the two years prior to the suit, and all New Jersey applicants who applied in a six year window prior to the suit. [...]

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With 2015 off to a great start, we’re thrilled to announce that our 6th Annual Background Screening Trends Survey is officially under way! With topics ranging from how employers handle criminal background checks to ever-changing screening laws to marijuana in the workplace, our survey has it all!

We can’t wait to share the results of this year’s survey, but we can’t do it without YOU. Keep reading for 5 reasons you should take this year’s survey. [...]

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Why Wouldn't You Run Employment Background Checks

When we started EmployeeScreenIQ 15 years ago, we heard a lot of reasons about why a company wasn’t conducting employment background checks on their job candidates. I’m happy to tell you that it is a rarity these days that we talk with someone who needs to be convinced of their importance. The practice has become so mainstream that after our second annual background screening trends survey in 2011, we stopped asking HR professionals if they screen their candidates. The number peaked at 92%.

Still, I’ve scratched my head for years wondering, who are the 8% that are holding out? My initial assumption was that these were smaller businesses without the wherewithal or resources to engage a background screening company. And that assumption might be correct, but I keep learning that’s not always the case.

Who are the 8%?

Earlier this year on a flight to Vancouver, I sat next to the CEO of a Hollywood production company who employs 300 people. He told me that everybody knows everybody in Hollywood and that background checks were intrusions into the lives of his candidates. After some conversation about the potential risks, he asked if I would speak to his HR director. I figured it was a blow off, but she actually called me back. [...]

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Image Courtesy of TalentCulture

Image Courtesy of TalentCulture

Last weekend, Jason Morris and I had the pleasure of joining the folks over at TalentCulture on #TChat to discuss the pros and cons of using social media sites as part of their employment background screening efforts. Check out the primer here.

As a follow up to our conversation, host Kevin W. Grossman wrote an excellent take on whether using social media employment background checks was fair game and we wanted to give our readers a chance to review it in it’s entirety (see below).

The Hot Potatoes Of Social Screening- By Kevin W. Grossman

That’s when I saw the photo — a full view of a man’s naked back severely cut open from multiple slashes of some kind of large knife. Before even knowing the context (and not really caring at first), I cringed and rolled my eyes. I’ve seen a lot of inappropriate images online since I’ve been playing and working in online networks, usually the more social of the bunch like Facebook, Google Plus, Twitter, even Instagram (of course, since that’s where you share photos, and my appropriate share is plentiful). [...]

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Unemployment Discrimination

When graduating from college a little over three years ago, I knew it wouldn’t be an easy road as I searched for a full-time job. For the first few months, I worked several part-time jobs before finding a full-time position with EmployeeScreenIQ. While I was never without a job, I can imagine the stress and fear millions of Americans have experienced who have been unemployed for months—with no end in sight. As many have struggled to find work since the recession, it has become widely recognized that unemployment discrimination is a major issue in the U.S.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, more than 2.95 million have been out of work for 27 weeks or more. However, the unemployment rate has dropped from 2.5% to 1.9% since December, meaning progress has been made—but there’s still work to be done. With the White House, over 300 companies announced they’re adopting best practices for recruiting and hiring the long-term unemployed.

A total of $170 million in 23 grants will help companies to train and hire the unemployed. While this benefits hundreds of companies in the U.S., others might not have the resources to jump on the bandwagon. So, for employers seeking to shed the unemployment bias and give unemployed candidates a chance, here are a few considerations when screening the long-term unemployed. [...]

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Compliance Background Checks

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.

Uber Back in the Headlines with FCRA Class Action for Background Checks

Uber can’t seem to get it right. First, the company was criticized for NOT doing background checks, and now it’s under attack for doing them the wrong way. The national ride sharing service that everyone loves to hate is back in the headlines (although I’m not sure they ever left) facing a class action lawsuit for alleged violations of the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA). Read More [...]

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Employment Background Checks and Hiring

I almost can’t believe it myself, but it’s already December. And this point in the year means it’s almost time to close the books on 2014. As the year comes to an end, I’ve spent some time looking back at the legal trends in hiring and employment screening throughout 2014. Here is a list of the top five background screening and employment issues from 2014 that are worth reflecting on as we get ready to raise a glass to ring in the New Year.

1. An Uptick in Job Growth

Let’s start with the good news. Hiring is up. Job growth for 2014 is ending on a strong note, and the government’s November jobs report was good. And I mean really good. The US economy had the biggest gain last month since January 2012, adding 321,000 jobs. Unemployment clocked in fairly low, at 5.8 percent. It all adds up to a report card in the A range, when all that was expected was a C or maybe a C+. November set a new record as the 50th consecutive month of job gains. As business analyst Jill Schlesinger put it, “2014 has become the best year for job creation since 1999!” (Cue the Prince music, please.)” That’s welcome news for job seekers and businesses.

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