Author: Jason Morris

Flaw in Employment Background Check Law is Hurting Candidates

Background Screening Law Being Exploited

Having been involved in the employment background screening industry for over twenty years one could say I have seen it all. I have seen class action lawsuits, congressional hearings, state hearings, and pundits slamming an industry they really don’t understand. Often critics don’t realize that there’s a loophole in the federal law (the Fair Credit Reporting Act) that was designed to help consumers but actually hurts them.

Employment background checks exist because organizations simply want to protect their interests. Hiring managers have a duty to insulate their employees, customers and clients from individuals who pose a risk to them or the organization as a whole. But many times the pre-employment screening process is questioned for a lack of accuracy or seen as a barrier for employment.

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NAPBS Conference Focuses on Criminal Background Checks

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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WSJ op-ed Writer on Syria Fired For Lying on Her Resume

No one is immune to being in the spotlight for resume lies!  Was a background check conducted?

The Syria researcher whose Wall Street Journal op-piece was cited by Secretary of State John Kerry and Sen. John McCain during congressional hearings about the use of force has been fired from the Institute for the Study of War for lying about having a Ph.D., the group announced on Wednesday.

“The Institute for the Study of War has learned and confirmed that, contrary to her representations, Ms. Elizabeth O’Bagy does not in fact have a Ph.D. degree from Georgetown University,” the institute said in a statement. “ISW has accordingly terminated Ms. O’Bagy’s employment, effective immediately.”

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10 Years Later and Still Going Strong: The Birth of NAPBS

First NAPBS Meeting

As many of our loyal readers know, I have been very passionate about the National Association of Professional Background Screeners (NAPBS) for many years.  This trade association has become an important voice for the entire background screening industry both to the public and the government. I couldn’t be prouder of the many accomplishments that have been made in ten short years. NAPBS started with an idea, when a group of like-minded competitors gathered in a room with one mission-to elevate our industry and create a higher standard for companies in the background screening industry.

We met at a background screeners conference in Tampa, Florida in late 2001, early 2002 and set forth in developing the framework needed to create a trade association. It wasn’t long after that many of us met in Washington D.C. and locked ourselves in a room with the shared aim to form a brand new 501(C)(6) by the time we left. We reached that goal with the assistance of a hired consulting firm and suddenly, NAPBS was born.  Some of the best minds in the industry collaborated in this meeting including, Lester Rosen, Dan Stevens, Sandra Burns, Derek Hinton and myself. With representation from companies of all sizes, each of us shared a passion and desire to standardize an industry that was fragmented at the time.

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State Attorneys General Fight Back Against EEOC

In an interesting turn of events, nine State Attorney Generals are fighting back against the EEOC Criminal Record Guidance. These states include; West Virginia, Montana, Alabama, Nebraska, Colorado, South Carolina, Georgia, Utah and Kansas.

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The EEOC Has Failed Martin Luther King Jr.

The EEOC’s policy repudiates what the federal government’s own employment practices make obvious: A person’s history of compliance with the law is relevant to any job. In a recent decision, NASA v. Nelson, the Supreme Court upheld the federal government’s inquiry into whether employees of federal contractors had previously used drugs because “the Government is entitled to have its projects staffed by reliable, law-abiding persons”

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My Shortest Blog Ever – Do It Right

Accurate Background Checks

Background checks for the purchase of guns have been in the spotlight since the Sandy Hook massacre—the  topic has been front and center over the past few months.  We don’t conduct these type of checks, those checks are left to the inadequate FBI background screening system—a big problem but a debate for another time.  This post is about the “other” articles I have seen over the past few weeks regarding our industry.  I have seen at least five pieces about how the background screening companies should focus on accuracy, and I can’t stay silent anymore. Here is my blog, short and sweet, see below and don’t blink because you may miss it.


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Have You Chosen Wisely? Resume Fraud

I have been neglecting my blogging duties as of late and for that, you should be grateful! However, every so often I come across something that I feel passionate about. Today is one of those days as I have just come across an article that every job seeker should read. It’s about choices.

In this story, Steve was presented with an option. Lie on his resume and pretty much be guaranteed a job, or tell the truth and actually prove himself and his skills. Steve was more than qualified for a job but a recruiter told him that unless he made up a degree, the employer would likely pass. What did Steve do? Steve owned it! I love this guy, I love his story!

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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).

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