Man Fired for 49 Year Old Conviction: Who’s to Blame?

There are no two ways about it. Richard Eggers was terminated from his job of seven years as a mortgage company customer service representative after the company discovered on a random employment background check that he put a cardboard cutout of a dime into a wash machine in an effort to see if he would get free laundry service . . . in 1963. Since that time, he hasn’t had so much as a speeding ticket.

So before we get into who is to blame, let’s take a look at the mitigating factors here:

  • Misdemeanor conviction for a stupid prank
  • Crime was committed when he was in his 19 years old
  • Conviction is 49 years old
  • No criminal activity since the incident
  • No apparent threat to his employer

When you add these things up, this would seem to be a case that the EEOC would be chomping at the bit to pursue.

HOWEVER THE EMPLOYER IS NOT TO BLAME!!!

Sure, nobody thinks this is fair.  Heck, his employer, Wells Fargo probably doesn’t think it’s fair either.  However, they have no choice.  The Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) has strict rules and regulations when it comes to those with criminal records. Section 19 of the Federal Deposit Insurance Act prohibits any person who has been convicted of any criminal offense involving dishonesty or a breach of trust or money laundering, or has agreed to enter into a pretrial diversion or similar program in connection with a prosecution, from becoming or continuing as an institution-affiliated party, owning or controlling, … or otherwise participating in the conduct of the affairs of an insured institution without prior written consent of the FDIC.

And what are the potential penalties for hiring those with such records?  There can be substantial financial penalties for institutions who hire individuals in violation of Section 19. Does $1 million a day while the violation continues get your attention? Imprisonment for up to 5 years is also on the sanctions menu.

So now you know everything.  What would you do? Face $1 million fine per day and possible criminal charges (which would then make you persona-non-grata at an FDIC institution) or simply terminate the employee? This stinks all around.  The FDIC is trying to protect the financial institution, the bank is trying to avoid fines and imprisonment and the poor guy just wants a job.

Perhaps, it might be time to look for some more specific pre-employment screening guidelines.

8/31/2012 Consumer Financial Protection Bureau Mandates New FCRA Forms for Employers

 

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) has exercised its regulatory authority by making a change to three notices required by the Fair Credit Reporting Act, effective January 1, 2013. The change directs consumers, furnishers and users of employee background checks to the CFPB instead of the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), and are part of the Dodd–Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act (Pub.L. 111-203, H.R. 4173) that President Barack Obama signed into law on July 21, 2010. While the CFPB does not have supervisory authority over background checks, it does have rule making and enforcement powers over the FCRA.

The forms that are being updated are all used in the background screening process, and are required by the FCRA. They include:

To comply with the new law, employers and CRA’s will need to stop using the old forms/notices by January 1, 2013.

This is one of the first actions taken by the CFPB to directly impact employment background checks, but we don’t expect it to be the last. The CFPB has been called upon by consumer watchdog groups to make this change and other changes that could impact the screening process.  Look to EmployeeScreenIQ to keep you up-to-date, and contact us with any questions.

8/30/2012 Background Screening Expert Jason B. Morris Presents Roadmap to Legal Landscape at Arizona State SHRM Conference (PRWeb)

EmployeeScreenIQ (http://www.employeescreen.com) president and chief operating officer, Jason B. Morris will present, “An Expert’s Guide to Navigating the Minefield of Recruiting and Employment Screening Laws,” at the 2012 Arizona State SHRM Conference in Chandler, AZ on Thursday, August 30, 2012. The HR community will learn how these laws affect their use of background checks, how to understand and anticipate government scrutiny of criminal checks and credit reports, the risks and benefits of using social networking for recruiting and screening, and the effects of “Ban the Box” legislation. Morris’ presentation is slated for 4:45 p.m. PST at the host hotel and conference center, the Sheraton Wild Horse Pass Resort and Spa.

Background screening plays a critical role in helping reduce costly hiring mistakes. However, 2012 has been a year of litigation and legislation that threatens employers with a rising tide of legal dangers. The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) has intensified its scrutiny of hiring practices, exposing employers to a greater risk of discrimination lawsuits and it recently released new guidance on the use of criminal background checks. And since 2010, it has filed more discrimination charges than in the agency’s 47 year history.

The EEOC has set its sights on companies who use credit reports and those that rely on arrest records and/or convictions which the agency believes are irrelevant to employment. Further, many states have introduced laws that interfere with the background check process. Maryland, Connecticut, California, Illinois, Washington, Oregon, and Hawaii severely restrict the use of credit reports and many other states are considering similar laws. Several states and municipalities have also enacted “Ban the Box” legislation that precludes employers from asking about convictions on an employment application.

8/23/2012 Background Screening Expert Jason B. Morris Presents Roadmap to Legal Landscape at Florida State HR Conference in Orlando (PRWeb)

EmployeeScreenIQ (http://www.employeescreen.com) president and chief operating officer, Jason B. Morris will present, “An Expert’s Guide to Navigating the Minefield of Recruiting and Employment Screening Laws,” at the 2012 Florida State HR Conference and Expo in Orlando, FL on Monday, August 27, 2012. The HR community will learn how these laws affect their use of background checks, how to understand and anticipate government scrutiny of criminal checks and credit reports, the risks and benefits of using social networking for recruiting and screening, and the effects of “Ban the Box” legislation. Morris’ presentation is slated for 1:00 p.m. EST at the host hotel and conference center, the Rosen Shingle Creek.

Background screening plays a critical role in helping reduce costly hiring mistakes. However, 2012 has been a year of litigation and legislation that threatens employers with a rising tide of legal dangers. The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) has intensified its scrutiny of hiring practices, exposing employers to a greater risk of discrimination lawsuits and it recently released new guidance on the use of criminal background checks. And since 2010, it has filed more discrimination charges than in the agency’s 47 year history.

10/16/2012 Minnesota SHRM Conference (Speaking Engagement)

EmployeeScreenIQ’s Jason B. Morris will be speaking at the 2012 Minnesota SHRM Conference in Rochester, Minnesota at the Mayo Civic Center Tuesday October 16th from 10:00 am CST.

An Expert’s Guide to Navigating the Minefield of Recruiting and Employment Screening Laws

Background screening plays a critical role in helping reduce costly hiring mistakes. However, 2011-2012 is shaping up to become a year of litigation and legislation that threatens employers with a rising tide of legal dangers. The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) has intensified its scrutiny of hiring practices, exposing employers to a greater risk of discrimination lawsuits. In 2010, the EEOC reported the highest number of discrimination charge filings in the agency’s 45-year history. They have set their sights on companies who use credit reports and those that rely on arrest records. Further, many states have introduced laws that interfere with the background check process. Maryland, Illinois, Washington, Oregon, and Hawaii severely restrict the use of credit reports and 16 other states are considering similar laws. Several states and municipalities have also enacted “ban the box” legislation that precludes employers from asking about convictions on an employment application. Controversy also surrounds social networking: while employers use Twitter and Facebook to influence hiring decisions, many sites have no verification process and companies risk violating Fair Credit Reporting Act regulations and EEOC guidelines. While these laws shouldn’t dissuade companies from using background checks, they underscore the need for employers to be constantly vigilant in their compliance measures.

EmployeeScreenIQ president and co-founder Jason B. Morris will examine the legal risks that face employers and teach attendees how to navigate them. The presentation focuses on three key learning objectives: understand and anticipate EEOC scrutiny on criminal checks and credit reports, understand the risks and benefits of using social networking sites for recruiting and screening, know the effects of “Ban the Box” and “Medical Marijuana” laws.

Learn More

EmployeeScreenIQ Sponsors Fall ERE Conference: Will You Be There?

Will you be attending next week’s ERE Expo in Hollywood, Florida (Sept. 5-7)?  EmployeeScreenIQ is an official conference sponsor and I drew the short straw to travel down to South Florida.  If you plan to be there, let’s connect and talk employee background checks.  There’s a lot going on from a legal standpoint and it’s never been more important to be proactive about compliance.

Here’s a quick synopsis on the conference.

  • ERE Expo is the largest attended independent recruiting event. Over 800 corporate recruiting leaders attend ERE Expo each year, and that is in addition to hundreds of other attendees from industry consultants, vendors, service providers, media and others.
  • Our agenda features more sessions led by practitioners then any other event in the space. This doesn’t mean co-presenting with a vendor partner or just thrown onto panels. They will share their stories, what has worked for them, what hasn’t and how you can apply those principals to your own recruiting strategy.
  • ERE Expo features speakers you haven’t heard anywhere else. Many of the “conference circuit speakers” first spoke at ERE Expo, and that continues to this day. People like Mitch Schwartz from HPBrian Flanagan from MarsBryan Power from Google, and Jacelyn Swenson from IBM who you probably haven’t seen speak before will all be presenting at ERE Expo 2012 Fall.
  • ERE Expo is all about innovation. While all events tell you they are about what’s next, ERE Expo has always been your place to see new things and hear new ideas. We have been first to live stream our events to the community, first to integrate social media as a discussion tool and first to touch on cutting-edge topics.

So make sure to check out the agenda today to see everything that is taking place in Florida this fall and then reserve your spot today.

9/5/2012 Will You Be at the ERE Expo Next Week? Let's Talk Employee Background Checks

Will you be attending next week’s ERE Expo in Hollywood, Florida (Sept. 5-7)?  EmployeeScreenIQ is an official conference sponsor and I drew the short straw to travel down to South Florida.  If you plan to be there, let’s connect and talk employee background checks.  There’s a lot going on from a legal standpoint and it’s never been more important to be proactive about compliance.

Here’s a quick synopsis on the conference.

  • ERE Expo is the largest attended independent recruiting event. Over 800 corporate recruiting leaders attend ERE Expo each year, and that is in addition to hundreds of other attendees from industry consultants, vendors, service providers, media and others.
  • Our agenda features more sessions led by practitioners then any other event in the space. This doesn’t mean co-presenting with a vendor partner or just thrown onto panels. They will share their stories, what has worked for them, what hasn’t and how you can apply those principals to your own recruiting strategy.
  • ERE Expo features speakers you haven’t heard anywhere else. Many of the “conference circuit speakers” first spoke at ERE Expo, and that continues to this day. People like Mitch Schwartz from HPBrian Flanagan from MarsBryan Power from Google, and Jacelyn Swenson from IBM who you probably haven’t seen speak before will all be presenting at ERE Expo 2012 Fall.
  • ERE Expo is all about innovation. While all events tell you they are about what’s next, ERE Expo has always been your place to see new things and hear new ideas. We have been first to live stream our events to the community, first to integrate social media as a discussion tool and first to touch on cutting-edge topics.

So make sure to check out the agenda today to see everything that is taking place in Florida this fall and then reserve your spot today.

8/28/2012 Gulf Coast Court Closures Due to Hurricane Isaac

We have received word that a number of counties/parishes throughout the Gulf Coast are closing government buildings in preparation of Hurricane Isaac.   The following court houses are closed at least through Thursday August 30th, 2012:

Louisiana:  Orleans Parish, Jefferson Parish, St. Charles Parish, Lafourche Parish, Livingston Parish , Plaquemines Parish, St. Bernard Parish, St. James Parish, St. John the Baptist Parish, St. Tammany Parish, Tangipahoa Parish, Terrebonne Parish and Washington Parish.

Mississippi:  Hancock County, Pearl River County, Forrest County, Jackson County, Lauderdale County, Neshoba County, Jones County, Stone County, Lamar County, Marion County, Greene County, George County, Perry County, Jasper County, Clarke County, Smith County, Covington County and Jefferson Davis County.

We’ll keep you posted as to any additional closures.

What Can Prince Teach Us About Alias Names and Background Checks?

Many employers struggle with the question of whether they should perform a criminal background check under the candidate’s current name or if it should be expanded to include alias names or AKA’s (i.e. maiden name, nick names, etc.).

Of course, it’s important to bear in mind that nearly every U.S. court files records by the name the person was using at the time of the conviction.  However, in some very rare instances you could pick up convictions that were filed under an alias name.

For instance, famous pop music star Prince has also gone by the following names: Prince Rogers Nelson, Jamie Starr, Christopher, Alexander Nevermind, Joey Coco, Prince logo.svg (not a typo, he actually referred to himself as this symbol), The Artist Formerly Known As Prince and The Artist.  So if your conducted a background check on “Prince”, you wouldn’t find a record that was filed under the name Joey Coco.  Just to clarify, I am not aware of any crimes committed by Prince.  By all accounts, he a normal (maybe not), law-abiding citizen.  Now, this is a fairly ridiculous example because who has this many names and in fairness, only a couple of these would have been legal names.

That said, we wholeheartedly tell our clients that if you want to conduct a comprehensive search, it is always best to include additional names.  These names can be identified using a combination of that which is provided to you by the candidate and that which is found on an address history or social security number trace.

Based on our exhaustive research, here are the numbers that should guide your decision.

Records Found Under Alias Names Only (for any type of criminal record search: county, state, national, etc.)

  • If a record is filed under an alias name and that name is not searched, you will miss the record 89% of the time.
  • Conversely, only 11% of the time will a record be found under an alias name if that specific name is not searched.
  • On average, 12% of all the records we find at EmployeeScreenIQ are felonies.  However, 25% of the records we find under alias names are felonies.

National Criminal Database and Alias Name Hits

  • 79% of applicants with hits were based on the current name only.
  • 21% of applicants had alias names listed as well as the current name. Zero records were returned with an alias name only.
  • The national database will not find records under alias names, if the alias name was not originally part of the search.
  • The national database will not find records missed at the county level because clients declined to run alias names.

So when it comes down to it, the numbers don’t lie.  Any time you conduct an employment background check, you should definitely consider all of the names identified by the candidate and on the address history search.  Do this and you will dramatically increase your ability to thoroughly vet the candidate and hire with confidence.