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… right place. Earlier in the week, we shared our thoughts on the official court ruling in the EEOC vs. Kaplan Higher Education case. Jason shared the results of this year’s NAPBS Mid-Year Legislative and Regulatory Conference in Washington D.C. Read his account here. And since the release of our 2014 Employment Background Screening Trends Survey Report a couple weeks ago, we’ve begun to dive deeper into the specific results in our post,  EmployeeScreenIQ Survey Reveals Criminal …

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Trends Cover

Nearly 600 human resources professionals opened up to EmployeeScreenIQ about how they use employment background checks to make hiring decisions and their candid feedback is detailed in our just-released, fifth annual survey of U.S. based employers. The new report looks at how companies manage the process of employment screening, their practices concerning Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA), Equal Opportunity Employment Commission (EEOC) guidance, candidates’ self-disclosure of criminal records and how they address adverse findings.

In the past few years, the EmployeeScreenIQ Trends Survey has become a benchmark many employers use to evaluate their background screening policies and practices. This year’s survey provides a unique cross-section of opinions and insights from an assortment of organizations and is a must-read for HR professionals that want to learn about what their industry peers are doing.

Today, we’d like to analyze one of our top findings: What Types of Conviction Records Might Disqualify a Candidate From Employment? [...]

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The National Association of Professional Background Screeners (NAPBS) met last week in Washington D.C. for the 2014 Legislative and Regulatory Conference. The conference brought together over 300 background screeners, regulators, and lawmakers for an annual event in the Capitol. Note that this recap includes observations based on my role with EmployeeScreenIQ and reflects my views as a provider of background checks—the content of this post does not reflect the views of NAPBS.

The conference kicked off on Monday April 7th with two polar opposite keynote speakers. The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) Chair Jacqueline Berrien addressed attendees first and was followed by a dramatically different message from Georgia Attorney General Sam Olens. So, how were these two speakers received? Let’s just say that only one speaker received a standing ovation—and it wasn’t Chair Berrien.

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EEOC v. Kaplan Higher Education

Earlier this week, the Sixth Court of Appeals affirmed a lower court ruling granting summary judgment to Kaplan in a high profile lawsuit brought by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC v. Kaplan Higher Education Corp.) over their use of employment credit reports. First and foremost, we want to congratulate our good friend Pam Devata and her colleague at Seyfarth Shaw who have done a wonderful job on this case since it was originally filed.

You might recall that the EEOC lost its case in the lower court because the research conducted by their expert witness (which concluded that credit reports have a disparate impact on minorities) was flawed. And without that research, the EEOC’s case fell apart. The judge basically indicated that without reliable statistical evidence of discrimination, the EEOC’s hard line enforcement doesn’t stand up in court.

This case is particularly important for those that conduct pre-employment credit reports as well as those concerned about the EEOC’s perspective on employment background checks.

Now, let’s dissect the ruling here. [...]

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Background Checks in New York

This week, we received notification that as of April 1, 2014, the New York Office of Court Administration (OCA) will no longer provide a criminal history for any individual whose only conviction was a single misdemeanor charge more than ten years prior to the date of the search request.

This is important information for anyone who conducts employment background checks in the state of New York to know, because none of the state’s lower courts (those which would hold misdemeanor records) allow direct access to individual county criminal history records and instead mandate the use of the OCA for research. Criminal history records in these counties are only accessible through the OCA. Therefore, if your candidate was convicted of one misdemeanor offense more than 10 years ago, that information will no longer be reported.

Is There Really A Lot of Exposure Here? [...]

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Trends Cover

The results are finally in!

Nearly 600 human resources professionals opened up to EmployeeScreenIQ about how they use employment background checks to make hiring decisions and their candid feedback is detailed in our just-released, fifth annual survey of U.S. based employers. The new report looks at how companies manage the process of employment screening, their practices concerning Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA), Equal Opportunity Employment Commission (EEOC) guidance and candidates’ self-disclosure of criminal records, and how they address adverse findings.

The 2014 survey report,The Unvarnished Truth: 2014 Top Trends in Employment Background Checks confirms that employers continue to rely on background checks to protect themselves, their workforces and their customers. The 26-page report examines a range of potentially contentious issues facing hiring organizations, perhaps most notably the impact of criminal records on hiring and the practice of asking candidates for self-disclosure as even more states and municipalities adopt “ban the box” legislation. [...]

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Compliance Criminal Background Check

To hire, or not to hire…that is indeed the question. Employers review qualifications, skills, and typically, the results of an employment background check to determine if a candidate is not only eligible for a position, but if they would be a good fit for the company.

For most companies, it goes without saying that you should conduct employment background checks to verify education and employment, confirm credentials, and search criminal history. However, when the background check results come in and a criminal record is found on your candidate’s background check—what steps should you take?

Our new guide, Keep It Legal: 5 Steps to Compliance When Your Candidate Has a Criminal Record, will help you to develop a policy designed to improve your hiring practices and keep legal peril at bay.

Download the article to learn more about:

  • EEOC and FCRA regulations and other legal considerations
  • Developing a hiring matrix with consistent guidelines
  • Navigating the ins and outs of individualized assessments
  • The two-step adverse action process
  • Handling candidates who dispute background check results





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Schneiderman_Eric-NY-AG-AP-photo-580x455

Last week a press release from the New York Attorney General’s office raised some eyebrows about background screening practices—not an uncommon headline these days. The release announced that “four of the nation’s largest background check agencies” entered into an agreement with New York A.G. Eric T. Schneiderman concerning compliance with New York laws designed to protect job applicants from discrimination.

The agreement prohibits the firms from engaging in the automatic disqualification of applicants who have criminal backgrounds—something that we can all agree is a bad practice. Based on the information contained in the press release, the named companies were called out for sending automatic rejection letters to candidates with criminal records.

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chamber

An event held on March 6th at the US Chamber of Commerce took a closer look at employment background checks and why they matter to employers and the public. The event, titled “Background Checks and Employment: Why Background Checks Matter and the EEOC’s Current Enforcement Practices” brought together private business leaders, legal practitioners, health care providers, non-profits, and the media to discuss the current legal and regulatory climate for background screening.

Employers participating in the discussion cited public safety as the overriding and number one reason for conducting criminal background checks. Other reasons included mitigating the risk for civil liability for negligent hiring, decreasing the risk of fraud or theft in the workplace, and overall workplace safety and security. Statistics shared by the Consumer Data Industry Association showed that public opinion widely supports the use of criminal conviction information, with 90.7 percent of people surveyed supporting some use of conviction information in hiring. [...]

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Employment Background Checks

Happy Friday! It’s been awhile since our last weekly wrap up, so I wanted to highlight a few posts from the last week or so. Nick shared about a recent issue we’ve seen with delayed background checks for veterans seeking employment. We also posted an update on ban the box, with San Francisco being the latest city to eliminate the question on job applications that asks about criminal history. And lastly, we posted feedback on the official statements from the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights regarding the EEOC guidance.

Military Employment Background Checks Slowing Down Hiring

Former president George W. Bush took to the airwaves this week to announce a worthy program he is launching to help veterans transition back to civilian life and treat those that suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder. In doing so, President Bush pointed out that unemployment rates for veterans now hovers at an alarming rate of approximately 10% and while this number has decreased since last year (11.7%), the overall U.S. unemployment rate is just beneath 7%. Read More

San Francisco Joins the Growing Number to Ban the Box

It’s official—San Francisco has banned the box. Employers in the city or county of San Francisco may no longer inquire about criminal history on employment applications or during interviews. Titled the The Fair Chance Ordinance, No. 17-14, the new law goes into effect on August 13, 2014 and prohibits both private and public employers with at least 20 employees from asking about a criminal past on the job application or in an initial interview. Read More

U.S. Civil Rights Commissioners Take EEOC to Task on Background Checks

As many of your know, I had the privilege of providing testimony to the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights at their hearing on the impact of criminal background checks and the EEOC’s conviction policy on the employment of Black and Hispanic workers in December of 2012. After great debate and deliberation, the commission released their official statements regarding the hearing in mid-February. Read More








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