3/31/2009 Ceasar Chavez Day

Ceasar Chavez Day

Please note that all courts in the state of California will be closed on Tuesday March 31, 2009 in celebration of [Ceasar Chavez Day](http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/C%C3%A9sar_Ch%C3%A1vez). Expect a 24 hour delay in all requests leading up to the holiday.

Legislative Alert from SHRM

Once again we feel it’s important to step aside from writing about background checks and cover this important HR legislative issue.  A few weeks back we wrote about the Employee Free Choice Act (EFCA), here is an update!

This week, Sen. Arlen Specter (R-PA) – a pivotal vote on labor issues and potentially the 60th cloture vote on the Employee Free Choice Act of 2009 (EFCA, H.R. 1409 / S. 560) in the Senate – announced that he plans to oppose EFCA and oppose cloture on the bill.

While this is important news for HR professionals, employees and employers, the effort to pass EFCA and other amendments to the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA) will remain alive for the foreseeable future.  Sen. Specter’s announcement means that EFCA proponents are still only two votes shy in the current Senate of having the 60 votes necessary to defeat a filibuster and pass the bill.  There are more than enough House members to pass EFCA, and President Obama continues to support its enactment.  Even after announcing his opposition to EFCA, Sen. Specter acknowledged that EFCA, or the “card check” bill, will not go away.

For these reasons, the SHRM Governmental Affairs department has prepared an EFCA Toolkit to help members more fully participate in the advocacy process on the EFCA and other amendments to the NLRA.

The EFCA Toolkit is one component of a larger more comprehensive advocacy strategy on the Employee Free Choice Act. The Toolkit is designed to provide you with the necessary materials to perform your own grassroots advocacy campaign.

Included in the Toolkit are the following:

–  Employee Representation Fact Sheet
–  EFCA Power Point Presentation
–  How to Lobby Power Point Presentation
–  Text versions of both the House (H.R. 1409) and Senate (S. 560) versions of EFCA
–  Employee Representation Email Alert
–  SHRM’s Employee Representation Policy Statement
–  Sample Letter to the Editor for your local newspaper(s)
–  Myths vs. Facts – This document addresses the common claims of EFCA supporters

We hope you will visit the EFCA Toolkit website because your involvement is critical to SHRM’s advocacy success.

employeescreenIQ Goes Mobile!

photoAfter tens of thousands of emails sent to us by our blog fans, we have finally decided to go mobile with our blog!  Ok, I may be stretching the truth a little bit (ok a lot) on how many requests we have received, but we thought we would add this great feature.

Mobile web surfing is definitely a large part of the future of the internet.  Now you can browse blog.employeescreen.com from your iphone, blackberry, android phone or other web enabled phone!

I wanted to personally thank Cheezhead and the folks over at MJobs for this wonderful idea!

3/26/2009 Erie County, New York Delay

Erie County, New York

We have been informed that the computer system in the Erie County, NY court is down. There is no ETA as to when the system will be back up and running, however some searches are being conducted by hand by court employees. Please expect delays for all research submitted to this court.

Resume Fraud Hits Australia

No one is safe! Resume Fraud is rampant across the globe.  As our economy and the global economy continues to fail, resume fraud will rise significantly.  It is more important than ever that companies and organizations do through background checks on employees and volunteers.

Moment of truth for audience in Einfeld downfall

We like the story of the disgraced former judge Marcus Einfeld, jailed last week for lying about a minor traffic fine, because it is a reassuring morality tale.

It restores our belief that character is destiny, that karma eventually catches up with everyone, and that lying, even in an era when trust is in short supply and truthfulness downgraded, is a serious transgression that can land a big wig in jail.

Einfeld didn’t just start telling lies in 2006, when he falsely named a dead friend as the driver of his car when it was caught travelling at 10kmh over the limit by a speed camera in Mosman.

The pattern of deception apparent in even a superficial examination of his life shows that he gained a lot of kudos and reward from his fabrications, whether it was padding his Who’s Who CV with dodgy degrees from American “diploma mills”, or alleged plagiarism, or allegedly claiming a lost overcoat on expenses when he was head of the Human Rights Commission, having already lodged an insurance claim, or using the names of people living overseas in statutory declarations to evade traffic fines. A habit of dishonesty went unpunished.

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Mr. Background Check Went to Washington

I had the honor of representing the National Association of Professional Background Screeners (NAPBS) along with 20 other colleagues from the screening industry on their annual Washington DC lobbying event.  We had a busy schedule of meetings over a two day time period highlighted by sessions with the EEOC, FTC and officers of our nation’s senators and congressmen.

We met with staffers from the following legislators: Senator Chuck Grassley (Republican-Iowa), Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison (Republican-Texas), Senator Mark Warren (Democrat- Virginia), Congressman Sam Johnson (Republican-Texas), Congressman Rodney Frelinghuysen (Republican- New Jersey), Senator Charles Schumer (Democrat- New York), Sentor Orrin Hatch (Republican- Utah), Senator Kay Hagan, Democrat, North Carolina, Senator Arlen Specter (Republican- Pennsylvania), Congressman Lamar Smith (Republican- Texas), Senator Byron Dorgan (Democrat- North Dakota), Senator Patrick Leahy (Democrat- Vermont), Congressman James Moran (Democrat- Virginia), Senator John Kerry (Democrat- Massachusetts), Senator Dianne Feinstein (Democrat- California), Senator Benjamin Cardin (Democrat- Maryland), Senator John Ensign (Republican- Nevada) and Senator Johnny Isakson (Republican- Georgia).  Our meetings primarily focused on three core issues which are being addressed in upcoming legislation:

Senate  Bill 163 (Child Protection Improvements Act of 2009)- Calls for the development of a mandatory background screening process for child care givers (day care, teachers, camps, etc.).  As an industry, we fully support this legislation.  However, we have concerns about the type of background check that the bill calls for, particularly its reliance on the FBI Criminal Database and state criminal record repositories.  It is a commonly held misconception that these two resources are the most accurate and reliable resources for conducting background checks.  In reality, there are far more effective methods for determining whether someone has been convicted of criminal activity.  The most thorough, accurate and reliable method being a county criminal record search in all counties where the subject has resided under all names used complemented by a National Criminal Record Search which includes a multi-jurisdictional Sex Offender Registry Search.

Senate Bill 141 and House Resolution 122 (Protecting the Privacy of Social Security Numbers Act of 2009)- This bill is aimed at curbing identity theft and calls for a limitation on how Social Security Numbers can be used in commercial situations.  Such measures include restricting access to public records which contain this information.  There is a provision to protect the continued permissible use of personal identifiers for legitimate purposes such as background screening and our efforts focused around reinforcing the need for this language and educating staffers on the importance for these identifiers.

Extension of E-Verify Program This internet-based system is operated by the Department of Homeland Security and the Social Security Administration and allows employers to electronically verify the employment eligibility of their employees.  House Resolution 1105 reauthorized the program through 9/30/09 and we support further extension of this important government program.

Meeting with the EEOC

This was a truly enlightening experience.  We met with Carol R. Miaskoff who is an Assistant Legal Counsel for the agency.  Carol shared with us the role of the EEOC and its stance on background checks.  She was very clear that the EEOC did not have a problem with background checks as anexercise proper due diligence.  Where they do take exception is with bright line policies such as “do not hire anyone with a criminal record”.  They believe that such policies would have a disparate impact on minorities.  We spent a great deal of time discussing El v. Septa as it will continue to be an important force in future guidelines on background screening.  At the end of the day, the EEOC wants employers to demonstrate job relatedness, the nature of the offense, whether the candidate was a repeat offender and how long ago the crime was committed.

Meeting with the FTC

I was not there for this meeting but I understand that much of the meeting focused on the privacy issues previously mentioned on SB 141 and HR 122.

I was a truly an enlightening experience which provided much insight into our legislative process.  I am confident that the work we accomplished in just two days will have a positive impact on our industry and on employers that rely on the use of employment background checks.

When It Comes To Verification, Send A Fax (ERE.net 3/24/2009)

Nine years after the U.S. Congress endorsed the use of electronic signatures for commerce, research shows the majority of employers and academic institutions are refusing to accept them for verification purposes.

EmployeeScreenIQ says it found “an alarming 57 percent of requests for employment and education verifications were rejected when an electronically signed consent form was used.” The company, one of the largest global screening firms, conducts hundreds of thousands of these verifications for companies of all sizes, including several on the Fortune 500 list. In the majority of screens, the former employer or academic institution insists on first getting a copy of the subject’s signature.

Schools rejected electronic signatures 59 percent of the time, while employers were only slighty better, rejecting them 55 percent of the time.

“We find that most employers and academic institutions still want to see an actual signature before releasing information,” EmployeeScreenIQ’s Vice President of Quality Service, Kevin Bachman, says in the announcement the company issued today. “If an HR manager can’t get the information they need to make a hiring decision, there’s the likelihood they could simply move onto another candidate.”

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Background Check Study on Electronic Signatures

As organizations continue to identify methods to streamline their hiring processes and to save money, they look to their various providers for solutions.  The emergence of applicant tracking and HRIS systems has accelerated this process, taking manual tasks and processes and automating them.  One such process is the ability to request a background check through these systems, thereby porting all of the necessary data to the screening provider with the click of a button.  No additional data entry is needed.

However, there’s one hitch in completely automating this process: the refusal of employers and academic institutions to accept an electronic signature from a job applicant as proof of consent to release information.  We highlighted this issue a couple months ago in the article Expediting Your Background Checks Through Electronic Signatures?

Further, we just released our study on the acceptance of electronic signatures.  See below.

Struggle to Find a Job Can Increase When Schools and Employers Don’t Recognize Law

Global employment screening company finds shocking non-compliance rates with legislation signed 10 years ago

Cleveland (PRWEB) March 24, 2009 — An alarming 57 percent of requests for employment and education verifications were rejected when an electronically signed consent form was used, according to research conducted by the Quality Service division of employeescreenIQ, a global screening company. This verification of previous employment and degree is a critical step in the hiring process. Human Resource professionals rely on this information to make informed hiring decisions and with resume fraud at an all-time high accuracy and timeliness of information is essential. “Even though the Electronic Signature Act of 1999 expressly recognizes such signatures as legally binding consent, we find that most employers and academic institutions still want to see an actual signature before releasing information,” said employeescreenIQ’s Vice President of Quality Service, Kevin Bachman. “If an HR Manager can’t get the information they need to make a hiring decision, there’s the likelihood they could simply move onto another candidate.” employeescreenIQ’s research also revealed these interesting facts:

  • Academic institutions rejected the request for information 59% of the time when an electronic signature was used
  • Employers rejected the request for information 55% of the time when an electronic signature was used
  • Turnaround time increased if the company wanted to try again once they obtained an actual signature

This is a case where technology may not be the panacea it’s intended to be. As we released in our 2009 background screening trends, integrating the employment background check process into Applicant Tracking Systems and HRIS platforms is on the rise. And while this can streamline the process, saving both time and money, it doesn’t completely eliminate roadblocks. “Companies that leverage technology find themselves making a choice. Either they exit their automated system half the time to obtain handwritten signatures, decreasing the benefits of integration, or they receive less information, said Bachman. “It’s also a risk for the candidate who may not get a job because their former school or employer doesn’t follow a law passed 10 years ago.”

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