6/24/2012 Annual SHRM Conference and Exhibition

Will you be in Atlanta for the Annual SHRM Conference (June 24-27)?  If so, we invite you stop by our booth #1716 to say hello and talk employment screening and background checks.  And we know no one visits the exhibit hall for the giveaways:), but if you’re one of those people, we’re going to have some awesome schwag!  Plus, we’ll be raffling off some great prizes as well.

Here’s a quick snapshot of the conference from SHRM:

Practical tools. Innovative ideas. Motivational sessions. The 2012 Annual Conference & Exposition in Atlanta has everything you need to return to your office and make a real impact. For education, networking, and professional development, this event simply has no peer.

From practical tips, to innovation in HR, to motivating people, our concurrent sessions will teach and inspire you. Our learning is organized into the following tracks that cover everything you need to know:

• Talent Management
• International HR
• Employment Law & Legislation
• Strategic Management
• Personal & Leadership Development
• Compensation & Benefits

New York EEOC Intends to Enforce “Ban the Box”

We have received information through Jackson Lewis attorney, Garen Dodge that Elizabeth Grossman, the lead trial attorney in the New York office of the EEOC recently spoke about the agency’s new guidance on criminal background checks and said that the question on the application—”have you been convicted . . .”—even with all the non disqualifying language is going to be viewed by the agency as a red flag.

Garen mentioned that “the term “Banning the box” is the EEOC’s “best practice” buried in the guidance and not even called a best practice in the recommendations section of the guidance.  Here the NY EEOC has announced that “have you been convicted…” language on an application will be a “red flag” triggering further EEOC inquiry.  Not even state and local legislation on “banning the box” has gone this far.  Employers are asking if they have to delete this question from their applications”.

And unfortunately, we don’t have the answer.  We know that neither a mandate nor best practice recommendation were included in the guidance, so it looks as if  the New York EEO intends to enforce something that shouldn’t be enforced. This is very troubling for employers that are doing their best to comply with the guidance as written.

You would hope that would temper their plans and that employers could disregard, but as we all know, even if you win in court it can cost you a lot of time and money to defend yourself.

California Freeze Is Being Heard Today

A couple of weeks ago we posted about  California SB1384 –a fast moving bill that would expand the definition of a nationwide specialty consumer reporting agency and would require companies fitting that description to place a freeze on consumer files upon request by a consumer.

This bill is scheduled to be heard today, despite the many concerns and issues including those listed here:

•    Under California law, consumers already have a right to place a credit freeze with a consumer credit reporting agency.  Expanding that to include non-credit consumer information could have significant consequences to employers and consumers.
•    Consumers would be able to suspend access to non-credit consumer report information (i.e. his/her criminal history, evictions etc.) thereby denying business (end users of consumer reports) access to information critical in making risk and hiring decisions.
•    Freezing access to non-credit consumer reports may restrict or deny access to public information by businesses—even those that already have the consumer’s consent as mandated by the FCRA.
•    Before a freeze could be lifted, the business may have already moved on to an applicant whose history could be vetted more immediately.
•    11 states specifically prohibit freezing of non-credit consumer information; several other states specifically exempt non-credit consumer information from their credit freeze legislation.
•    Significant consumer protections already exist in California and under the Federal Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) via oversight by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB).

The bottom line is this– we foresee many unintended consequences that will negatively impact California business owners and consumers if this bill moves forward, unchecked.

If you agree, please contact the California Senators below by phone, email, fax or web form to urge them to oppose this bill.
Sen. Ron Calderon
Phone: (916) 651-4030
Fax: (916) 327-8755
Sen. Lou Correa
Phone(714) 558-4400
Fax: (714) 558-4111
Sen. Ed Hernandez
Phone: (916) 651-4024
Fax: (916) 445-0485
Sen. Ted Lieu
Phone: (916) 651-4028
Fax: (916) 323-6056
Sen. Gloria Negrete McLeod
Phone: (916) 651-4032
Fax: (916) 445-0128
Sen. Alex Padilla
Phone:  916-651-4020
Sen. Curren Price
Phone: (916) 651-4026
Fax: (916) 445-8899
Sen. Michael Rubio
Phone: (661) 395-2620
Fax: (661) 395-2622
Sen. Juan Vargas
Phone: (916) 651-4040
Fax: (916) 327-3522
Sen. Rod Wright
Phone: (916) 651-4025
Fax: (916) 445-3712
Sen. Leland Yee
Email: Senator.Yee@senate.ca.gov
Phone: (916) 651-4008

Yahoo! CEO Steps Down After Resume Lie

YAHOO

We wondered in this very blog just a week ago if Yahoo! CEO, Scott Thompson could maintain his post at the company after it was discovered that he lied about his academic qualifications.  Thompson claimed to have a degree in Accounting and Computer Science from Stone Hill College.  While he did have the Accounting degree, the school didn’t even offer a Computer Science degree until after he graduated.

As if we didn’t all know the outcome of this story, the Wall Street Journal has confirmed that Thompson stepped down over the weekend.  And as we here more and more about the details, this is looking very George O’Leary-ean.  Who can forget the Notre Dame head coach who lasted about 5 days on the job until it was reported that he lied about his educational background?

Just like O’ Leary, Thompson got caught up in a lie he started much earlier in his career.  The representation that he earned that Computer Science degree might have helped him get a leg up early on.  But from there, it was his experience that carried the day.  However, once you tell the resume  lie, you can’t stop telling it when you become well-known.

It seems Thompson tried to cover up his lie by, what else, lying.  Last week, he blamed the executive recruiting firm that helped place him at PayPal for the oversight.  Whoops!  He got caught in that one too.  The firm didn’t actually place him at Yahoo!

And so ends a familiar tale.  Applicant lies to get the job.  Employer doesn’t take the steps to confirm the applicant’s resume.  Both end of looking famously stupid.

Got Background Checks?

P.S. Today it is being reported that Thompson stepped down because he is battling thyroid cancer.  Let’s hope for his sake that this is a lie as well.

The Verifier- Spring, 2012: Background Screening Newsletter



We just published The Verifier XXV, Spring 2012 Edition, an educational and information resource for human resource professionals or anyone interested in keeping abreast of recent employment screening and background check industry developments.

Highlights Include:

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For those interested in subscribing to The Verifier, please click on the “Subscribe” button below.

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Also, we invite you to check out our latest video on how EmployeeScreenIQ streamlines the background screening process from setting up an account to ordering background checks to reporting.

Senate Introduces Password Protection Act of 2012

In the wake of the last round of publicity surrounding employers asking job applicants for Facebook passwords, the US Senate is now getting involved.  We have seen various State bills introduced in the past few months, a Federal bill would likely preempt any State effort.  Is this a good idea or bad idea?  In my opinion, its a waste of time.  Facebook has already come out harshly against the practice and so have many in the background screening industry.  In the end its a terrible hiring practice, bad for candidates, bad for the candidate experience and bad PR for any company that attempts it. Why is it a waste of time? I don’t really think many companies are doing it.  We have seen story after story but can’t really find much evidence that companies are actually doing it!  So it really begs the question, would we support actions forbidding it, YES, of course.  However, I think the US Senate has way more important things to concentrate on right now!

Senate introduces Password Protection Act of 2012

Concerned with what they believe is “the growing practice of employers requiring prospective or current employees to provide access to password-protected accounts as a condition for employment,” Senators Richard Blumenthal, D-CT; Chuck Schumer, D-NY; Ron Wyden, D-OR; Jeanne Shaheen, D-NH; and Amy Klobuchar, D-MN, introduced the Password Protection Act of 2012 (PPA).

A press release from Sen. Blumenthal stresses that the PPA, which would amend the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act, prohibits an employer from “forcing prospective or current employees to provide access to their own private account as a condition of employment and … from discriminating or retaliating against a prospective or current employee because that employee refuses to provide access to a password-protected account.”

The PPA will not interfere with an employer’s domain to set policies for employer-operated computer systems or hold employees accountable for stealing data from their employers. However, the PPA does not allow employers to access private employee data under any circumstances, even if the employer uses its own computers to access that data.

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BTW: Your Background Screening Guide to Staying Out of Hot Water



For those of you interested in keeping up with the latest in background screening compliance and the laws that affect your use of employments background checks, check out our latest publication, BTW: Your Guide to Staying Out of Hot Water”. This compliance resource has been crafted by our VP of Compliance and General Counsel, Angela Bosworth and is a must-read for human resources and security professionals.

Our first issue is dedicated to the most recent guidelines issued by the EEOC.  We’ll endeavor to send out a new “BTW” once a month.

Check it out.

5/11/2012 Yahoo Resume Case Raises the Obvious: How Could It Happen? (The Fordyce Letter)

Should the peek-a-boo credentials have raised eyebrows? Nick Fishman, chief marketing officer and EVP of EmployeeScreenIQ, says that for more routine background checks, maybe not.  For as high a profile job as CEO of Yahoo, Fishman says, a different kind of backgrounding would typically be done.

5/11/2012 New CA Bill Would Authorize a Security Freeze on a Consumer Report

California has a reputation for being the leader in introducing new and perplexing legislation that can set the tone for over eager copy-cat legislatures in other states. It was one of the first states to pass a law allowing consumers to place a “freeze” on their credit reports.  And now, California SB 1384 (Simitian), “Consumer Reports: Security Freeze”, attempts to extend that right to other types of consumer reports.

Existing laws in most states now permit a consumer to place and to remove a security freeze on his or her credit reports with the major credit bureaus. Consumers can essentially put their credit file on lock down, usually in an attempt to avoid identity theft.  This new bill in California would authorize a consumer to place a security freeze on consumer report, potentially including background checks pulled for employment or renting housing. The proposed law would presumably extend to national tenant screening agencies, some employment screening entities, as well as other companies that maintain “consumer files” as defined in statute. The full implications of this bill are still under review, but we will keep you up-to-date as new information is available.