The Road Less Traveled: Using the National Database for Criminal Background Checks

National Criminal Database Background Checks

The name National Criminal Database can be deceiving. To some the name might suggest that the database is a full compilation of criminal records from every court in the country, but the record you’re looking for might not be found there. This leaves employers wondering, should this database be used at all for criminal background checks? Our panelists discuss the best practices for utilizing this tool in employment background checks. Watch the video above for more information.

Best practices indicate that the National Database should be used, but with a few considerations in mind:

  • False positives may be reported if this source is used as a stand-alone.
  • When a record is found, it should be verified at the source, typically the county court.
  • Individual attention should be given to each search—and examined on a case by case basis.

Related EmployeeScreenIQ Content:

Are you unsure if your criminal background checks are giving you the most accurate results? Download our 5 step guide to understanding comprehensive criminal background checks, Time for a Wake Up Call: Are Your Criminal Background Checks Giving You a False Sense of Security?

Quick Takes is a video series blending together bits of experience and expertise from EmployeeScreenIQ’s background screening experts. With a newsroom feel, discussions surround the latest issues in the background screening industry. All of the videos were filmed unscripted-giving you the opportunity to hear genuine responses from the professionals. Topics range from social media background checks to conducting a thorough criminal records search. We’re releasing a new video every month, so stay tuned.

Just a Bill for Now—Will Background Checks Be Required for All Public Schools?

Background Checks in Public Schools

In previous posts, we’ve often discussed the need for more comprehensive background checks in schools as well as a process that should be followed on a national level—not just school district to school district or state by state etc. This year alone, we’ve covered several stories on the EmployeeScreenIQ Blog involving new laws for both child care centers and schools.

Requirements for Background Checks in Schools

There is no standard of background checks for all schools in the United States to follow, nor are there federal laws that must be adhered. This results in many of the stories we hear—that teacher that was on the sex offender registry, yet worked for years in a middle school, or another who was convicted of sexual misconduct and worked with second graders. In any situation, the solution has been to step up background checks on employees in that particular school or school district, and in some instances on a state level. However, as we know, this has not been a true solution to the problem.

Continue reading Just a Bill for Now—Will Background Checks Be Required for All Public Schools?

Target Wants to Hire More Ex-Offenders? Minnesota-based Company is Banning the Box.

Target to Ban the Box on Criminal Background Checks

In an effort to hire more ex-offenders, Minnesota-based Target Corporation has announced they are banning the box. The national retailer announced that it will be eliminating the box on the job application that asks the candidate about criminal history. Target Vice President, Jim Rowader announced that the new policy will go into effect for all U.S. applicants.

On May 13, 2013, the state of Minnesota passed a law expanding the state’s ban the box law to include private employers. The new law goes into effect January 1, 2014 and will prevent employers from conducting a criminal background check until later in the hiring process. For more details on the specifics of this law, read our post here. Target has decided to proactively take the step of implementing the policy on a national level, even though it is not required in most states.

In a report by Minneapolis Public Radio, Target is planning to work with a Minneapolis-based group Council on Crime and Justice to increase the company’s hiring of ex-offenders. In addition, Rowander announced the decision while participating as a panelist at a forum addressing unemployment among ex-offenders, organized by the advocacy group Take Action Minnesota.

Continue reading Target Wants to Hire More Ex-Offenders? Minnesota-based Company is Banning the Box.

Today Show Report: Stricter Background Checks Needed for Senior Caregivers

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There have been no shortage of stories that chronicle the need to conduct employment background checks on those caring for children such as teachers, day care, camp counselors, bus drivers, etc. or for those with disabilities that can’t take care of themselves. There is however, another vulnerable population that  is often looked- Senior Citizens.

We all have aging parents and grandparents.  And some of us are getting older a lot quicker than we’d like. Wouldn’t it be nice to know that we can rest easier knowing that we’ll be taken care of by experienced, qualified and honest people. We’ve all heard stories about seniors being abused, neglected or bilked out of their savings, so why isn’t there a mandate that those that care for them be properly screened before they can be hired?

NBC Today Show investigative reporter Jeff Rossen wondered this very same question after he learned about a woman in Mississippi who worked at an assisted living home and stole over $100,000 from 83 residents’ trust funds and spent it on various shopping sprees.

“In (a) three-month period there were 12 or 15 cash withdrawals,” Phyllis Foster said of her mother-in-law’s account. “And we knew that there was something drastically wrong.”

In August, Martin pleaded guilty to 29 counts of exploitation of a vulnerable person and one count of conspiracy. She is accused of stealing more than $100,000 from 83 residents’ trust funds and going on shopping sprees at stores like J.C. Penney, Gap, Walmart and American Eagle. In one instance, Martin bought a pair of designer jeans and expensed them to an elderly resident with no legs.

USA TODAY investigation into thefts from nursing home trust funds found that more than 100 cases like Martin’s have been prosecuted since 2010.

“What we found was that it is just enormously easy for people to get away with this, even in really good nursing homes,” USA TODAY investigative reporter Peter Eisler told TODAY.

“In most states there are no audit requirements. The people who do the nursing home inspections really aren’t looking close at the books for these trust funds.”

Continue reading Today Show Report: Stricter Background Checks Needed for Senior Caregivers

October BTW: Who Should Have Access to Background Check Results?

Compliance in 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.

In October’s issue of By The Way, we’re introducing “Ask Angela,” an opportunity for our readers to submit compliance questions to Angela. This month, Angela responds to the question, “Who should have access to background check results?” Read Angela’s response here as she addresses the who, when and why of this question. To submit your question, write to, and you might find a response in our next issue of BTW.

In our second article, Counting to Seven: The 7 Year Rule for Reporting Adverse Information on a Background Check, Angela discusses the confusion in the seven year rule for reporting adverse information on criminal background checks. With the question in mind, “When does the clock really start?” Angela lays out the different sides to the argument of when the seven year count begins and how this rule ultimately affects employers.

Lastly, with ban the box spreading its reach both nationally and internationally, Angela gives an update on the latest locations that have enacted legislation, Ban the Box Here and Abroad: Illinois Says “Yes,” UK Next Up.

View this month’s issue here:

Compliance in Employment Background Checks

To ask Angela a compliance question, submit your question to:


Ban the Box Here and Abroad: Illinois Says “Yes,” UK Next Up

Ban the box Employment background checks

The governor of the State of Illinois has kept his promise to enact an administrative order, effectively “banning the box” for state workers.  On October 3, 2013, Governor Pat Quinn signed an executive order providing that applicants with a criminal record will no longer be asked about their criminal past when they apply for state jobs.

The governor’s administrative order doesn’t apply to private employers, who will still be free to inquire about criminal history on job applications. But applications for state government jobs will no longer include a check box indicating whether an applicant has pled guilty, or been convicted of a criminal offense, other than a minor traffic violation. State agencies will still be allowed to conduct background checks, and request information on criminal convictions, but not until later in the process.

Quinn signed the executive order after ban the box proposals failed three times in the state legislature. Without state “ban-the-box” legislation, the next governor could rescind the administrative order. Quinn is up for re-election next year.

Continue reading Ban the Box Here and Abroad: Illinois Says “Yes,” UK Next Up

Ask Angela: Who Should Have Access to Background Check Results?

Compliance in Employment Background Checks

You asked for it–you got it!  “Ask Angela” is your chance to ask those nagging compliance questions that keep you up at night and have you scratching your head. Thanks for all of your great questions—keep ‘em coming! This month the question relates to who is able to obtain a copy of an employment background check.

The Question

Dear Angela,

We have EmployeeScreenIQ do all of our background checks for us. We are a temporary employment agency where we place engineers/technicians with our clients. The employees are W2 employees of our company.

My question is: One of our clients has requested a copy of the background results for our employees that we have working at their facility. We wanted to make sure it is legal for us to pass on [the background report] to our client without getting ourselves into trouble.

Human Resources

I love this question. It comes up all the time with clients, human resources departments in staffing firms, temporary placement agencies, and Professional Employer Organizations (PEOs). It can also apply when a company hires contractors to work on the premises. Here is how it usually goes: The staffing company has a contract with a third party background screening company to conduct background checks for them. Those applicants become employees of the staffing company (the “Employer”), but they are actually temporary employees working on site for the Employer’s client (who we’ll call “Client”). In Cynthia’s scenario, the Client asks to see a copy of the background check.

Continue reading Ask Angela: Who Should Have Access to Background Check Results?

10/22/2013 Liar for Hire (HR Executive)

You’re enchanted with an applicant whose sterling credentials appear to make him an exceptional find for your company. Personality fit for the department and corporate culture? Check. Work history ideally suited for the job opening? Check. And a former supervisor who sings the candidate’s praises? Check.

But ever-fretful HR professionals wonder: How do you know the applicant hasn’t pulled a fast one? Or even sneakier, that he hasn’t hired someone to camouflage his background? These days, the latter may present a mounting concern because of the emergence of so-called professional deception services.

These liar-for-hire enterprises front for candidates who sometimes put down fake past employers, fake jobs, fake salaries and fake supervisors. The ultimate prize: Fake out a potential employer so it will hire someone who often isn’t qualified for the position.