Want a Job? Give us Your Facebook Password

The Maryland ACLU is advocating on behalf of a Maryland corrections officer who objects to the state’s demand that he provide them with his Facebook account password as a condition of employment. Now, we know that it is becoming more and more common for employers to check out their candidates’ and employees’ Facebook pages as part of the background check process, but their passwords?

This didn’t work out so well for the city of Bozeman, MT a couple years ago. In fact, they had so much negative publicity when it came to national media attention that they abolished the practice shortly thereafter.

Check out the USA Today story below.

Worker Objects to the Use of Facebook for Background Checks

The American Civil Liberties Union is championing the case of a Maryland corrections officer, Robert Collins, who does not believe his employer should have the right to scour his personal Facebook account as a condition of employment.

The ACLU’s Maryland chapter sent this letter to state officials on Collins’ behalf. According the ACLU, the Maryland corrections division has a “blanket requirement” that job applicants, as well as current employees undergoing recertification, provide the government with their social media account usernames and personal passwords for use in background checks.

The ACLU in this blog post calls the policy “a gross breach of privacy” and a violation of state and federal law “which protect privacy rights and extend protections to electronic communications.”

As of late last week, the advocacy group had received no response from the state.

More

Alleged Rapist Case Another Black Eye for CORI Criminal Background Check

I guess it’s beat up on CORI week.

But they make it so easy.  Yesterday, we posted a story about a school teacher accused of hitting a 14 year old student.  The state of Massachusetts CORI criminal background check didn’t reveal any prior of pending records, but after further investigation after this incident, the school found out that the teacher had a pending assault and battery case.

Well today, we’ve got news of yet another black eye for the so-called “Holy Grail” of background checks for the state’s employers.  A convicted sex offender was hired as a Massachusetts court officer after a CORI search came back clean.  Only problem is that the person was convicted of criminal sexual conduct and burglary in another state.  Whoops! I shouldn’t make light of this situation as this individual now stands accused of new sex crimes.

See Full Story

Why did this happen?

In addition to the holes we discussed in yesterday’s post, CORI only includes criminal records from the state of Massachusetts.  Therefore, if someone has committed a crime elsewhere, it will not be included in the CORI index.

What Can You Do?

As always, the best practice is to determine where the different locales where a person has resided and conduct a criminal record search at the county level.  If the employer would have conducted an address history search, they would have seen that the individual lived out of state (in this case, South Carolina).  They could then have searched the county in South Carolina where the individual lived, which would have revealed these convictions.

CORI Background Check Fails School District, Student

One of the principle goals of created the Massachusetts Criminal Offender Record Information (CORI) system was to create a centralized database for those that employ people to work with children (such as schools).  Well, we’ve said it before and this latest incident helps illustrate why the CORI search gives people a false sense of security when it comes to background checks.

A teacher in Weymouth, MA charged with hitting a student is also facing charges of assault and battery charges stemming from a domestic violence issue.  The school district performed a criminal background check through the CORI system and no record of criminal activity was found.  However, if the school would have performed a background check in the county where the charges were brought, they most certainly would have known about the record.

Is the school at fault?  I don’t think so.  They have been told that the CORI system is the way to go.  Tell that to the parents of the student who was hit.  I find it hard to believe the school would have hired this person if they had known.

Check out the full story

Colorado Moves to Restrict Credit Reports on Background Checks

The state of Colorado is now mulling House Bill 11-1127 which would create certain restrictions on an employer’s ability to evaluate a job candidate’s/employee’s credit report as part of the background screening process (the bill also addresses requirements for insurance companies and landlords).  The bill proposes the following.

An employer cannot use a consumer credit report unless:

  1. The information is substantially job-related, meaning that the position of the person for whom the information is sought has access to money, other assets, or trade secrets or other confidential information.[Insert Nick’s snarky comment here: How many employers out there conduct credit reports for any other reason?  Can someone define “other confidential information”.  That could relate to anything.]
  2. The person of the person for whom the report is sought is a managerial position, a position in the department of law, a sworn peace officer of other law enforcement or a position for which the information is required to be disclosed by law or to be obtained by the employer. [Insert another snarky comment: Haven’t they now granted enough exemptions so that the law is unnecessary]

My smart-Alec comments aside, there is other language in here that I believe renders the entire bill useless (and I’m not complaining).  They define “Consumer Credit Information” as something that includes a credit score.

Hello people! If an employer conducts a credit report, they are provided with an “Employment Credit Report”.  An employment credit report doesn’t include a credit score.

So having dissected this bill, do we care if it passes?  It would appear that it has next to no impact on the state’s employers.

If this bill is passed, it will take effect on July 1, 2011.  Stay tuned.

2/11/2011 Colorado Moves to Restrict Employment Credit Reports

The state of Colorado is now mulling House Bill 11-1127 which would create certain restrictions on an employer’s ability to evaluate a job candidate’s/employee’s credit report as part of the background screening process (the bill also addresses requirements for insurance companies and landlords).  The bill proposes the following.

An employer cannot use a consumer credit report unless:

  1. The information is substantially job-related, meaning that the position of the person for whom the information is sought has access to money, other assets, or trade secrets or other confidential information.[Insert Nick’s snarky comment here: How many employers out there conduct credit reports for any other reason?  Can someone define “other confidential information”.  That could relate to anything.]
  2. The person of the person for whom the report is sought is a managerial position, a position in the department of law, a sworn peace officer of other law enforcement or a position for which the information is required to be disclosed by law or to be obtained by the employer. [Insert another snarky comment: Haven’t they now granted enough exemptions so that the law is unnecessary]

My smart-Alec comments aside, there is other language in here that I believe renders the entire bill useless (and I’m not complaining).  They define “Consumer Credit Information” as something that includes a credit score.

Hello people! If an employer conducts a credit report, they are provided with an “Employment Credit Report”.  An employment credit report doesn’t include a credit score.

So having dissected this bill, do we care if it passes?  It would appear that it has next to no impact on the state’s employers.

If this bill is passed, it will take effect on July 1, 2011.  Stay tuned.

Background Check RFP’s and Security Measures

I wanted to write a quick post because of a topic that we encounter quite often.  Employment screening firms are given the opportunity to bid on new business often times through an extensive Request For Proposal (RFP) or Request For Information (RFI) process.   The National Association of Professional Background Screeners (NAPBS) has put out some great suggestions on how to develop a RFP/RFI for our industry, its a great document.  EmployeeScreenIQ also developed similar suggestions a while back (they can be found here).

One of the questions we seem to encounter more and more are requests for documents outlining company security measures.   Its a broad topic and for many CRA’s, could mean a myriad of different things.  Some CRA’s have security proceedures for every aspect of the operation.  There are literally security proceedures on what to shred, what do leave on one’s desk, how to properly lock a door, etc.  Its helpful when end users frame their security questions more directly rather than asking for a general statement.

A great place to start is for End Users to review the NAPBS Background Screening Agency Accreditation Program (BSAAP).  This accreditation program was recently launched and covers many aspects of operational and document security.  The transmission, usage and storage of Personally Identifiable Information (PII) is a highlight of this program.  Accredited companies are required to demonstrate how these policies are followed through an on-site audit by a third party in addition to a thorough document review.  Once successfully completed the the Background Screening Credentialing Council (BSCC) votes on their candidacy.  Many screening firms use these standards as an absolute minimum, so its a great place for End Users to start when formulating these questions to their screening providers.   EmployeeScreenIQ is proud to be an Accredited Member of NAPBS.