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Let me officially be the last person to wish you a Happy New Year! I have to admit that I’m not a big fan of New Year’s resolutions.  Why should you wait until January 1st to do something you should have been doing when you recognized a problem? Case in point, my least favorite New Year’s resolution is for those that vow to work out more. From February 15th through December 31st, there’s never a problem waiting for equipment at my gym. However, show up during the first 45 days of the year and a 45 minute workout turns into an hour and a half snore-fest. Don’t get me wrong. I’m all for getting into shape, but 45 days does not make a year.

All that said, I have a challenge for you (since I don’t believe in New Year’s resolutions:)). I strongly encourage all human resources professionals resolve to evaluate your company’s employment background screening program from top to bottom in 2014.  The sooner, the better. And lest you think this is a sales pitch, it most definitely is not.  What I am talking about is evaluation of your processes.

Top 10 Items to Consider When Evaluating Your Employment Background Screening Program

  • When was the last time you evaluated your background screening policies and procedures?
  • Are all incoming employees subject to an employment background check?
  • Is the background screening criteria used relevant to the position you are hiring for?
  • Have you clearly defined parameters for what information constitutes a non-hirable offense by position?
  • Are you affected by the myriad “Ban the Box” Laws throughout the country which prohibit you from asking if the candidate has been convicted of a crime on the job application?
  • If so, have you worked that question into a different part of the hiring process?
  • Are you using the proper disclosure forms required by state and federal laws?
  • Are you sure that you are following proper Adverse Action procedures when you deny employment based on the outcome of an employment background check?
  • When was the last time you audited your background screening company for accuracy and compliance?
  • Have you developed the proper procedures to comply with the EEOC requirement for individualized assessment?

Why Should You Care?

Not more than a month went by in 2013 when we didn’t see a marquee press release announcing a multi-million dollar suit being filed against an employer for allegations of violating the Fair Credit Reporting Act in conjunction with their employment background screening practices or discrimination in hiring practices for the same.

Whether these companies being sued are guilty or not, the cost to defend these allegations and the negative publicity surrounding these cases should be a big red flag for all. Class action attorneys have found a new target and they are circling like sharks. Most employers are doing things properly, but there has never been a better time to make sure that you brush up on your responsibilities when it comes to employment background checks.









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With a new year just around the corner, there’s no better way to move forward than to reflect on the events, challenges, and growth of the past year. Particularly for the background screening industry and HR professionals, it’s essential to learn from these stories to prepare for the challenges ahead in 2014. Some of our top stories include the misuse of employment background checks, the ban the box movement, and screening candidates on social media. Keep the lessons in these stories under consideration as you move forward with your background screening program in 2014.

EmployeeScreenIQ's Top Background Screening Stories 2013

1. EEOC Targets Dollar General and BMW for Criminal Background Checks

The EEOC continued its crusade to fight discrimination by way of litigation against Dollar General and BMW. Take a closer look at the claims and what employers need to know. Read More

2. Texas Takes on the EEOC: The Case You’ve Been Waiting For

Texas is took on the EEOC claiming that the latest guidelines unlawfully limit the ability of employers to exclude convicted felons from employment. Read More

3. Cha-Ching! K-Mart to Pay $3 Million to Settle Background Check Claims

Charged with background screening violations in relation to adverse action notifications, employers need to be increasingly aware of compliance risks in 2014. Read More

[...]

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Criminal Record

If you missed our webinar this past Tuesday, you’re in luck—we have a complimentary recording available for download. We had an action-packed hour with veteran HR executives L. Gordon Paisley from United Airlines, Tammy Henry from Walmart and background screening experts Jason Morris, Angela Preston, and Nick Fishman from EmployeeScreenIQ. What is this webinar all about? Keep reading.

When a background check reveals that your job candidate has a criminal record, how do you respond? Company hiring practices have fallen under increased government scrutiny and it’s critical that you understand the implications of your actions – and have a proactive process in place to address these unique hiring situations.

To learn more, watch our recorded webinar, “My Candidate Has a Criminal Record. Now What?” This session will demonstrate the steps you must take when a candidate’s background check uncovers adverse information. In the webinar, we discuss important legal considerations and share practical advice for developing a safe and compliant hiring protocol.

This Webinar Addresses:

  • Precautions to ensure their organization’s hiring practices are legally compliant with FCRA & EEOC requirements
  • Essential considerations before making a hiring decision on a candidate with a criminal record
  • Best practices for individualized assessments and adverse action

Download the webinar recording here

Employment Screening Trends Survey

We would also like to invite you to take part in our 5th Annual Employment Background Screening Trends Survey. Take our survey and share your insights on some of the most talked-about issues shaping hiring practices and the background screening industry. The survey will take just a few minutes of your time and your feedback will help inform your professional peers. You will also receive a free executive summary of the results for your participation and be entered to win one of two $250 American Express gift cards!








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Criminal Background Check Compliance

We’re guilty. From time to time, we use the space in this blog to promote our company events such as webinars, surveys, special awards, etc. And while we are very excited and passionate about what we do as a background screening company, we try not to cross the lines of over-promotion (only you can tell me if we’ve done a good job with this).

Today, I’m going to depart from that philosophy and shamelessly promote our upcoming webinar, “My Candidate Has a Criminal Record: Now What?”. The reason I am doing this is because human resources professionals cannot afford to miss this one. Not more than a month has gone by this month this year where we haven’t seen a marquee press release announcing a multi-million dollar suit being filed against an employer for allegations of violating the Fair Credit Reporting Act in conjunction with their employment background screening practices or discrimination in hiring practices for the same.

Whether these companies that are being sued are guilty or not, the cost to defend these allegations and the negative publicity surrounding these cases should be a big red flag for all. Class action attorneys have found a new target and they are circling like sharks. Most employers are doing things properly, but there has never been a better time to make sure that you brush up on your responsibilities when it comes to employment background checks.

Our panel of experts includes Gordon Paisley from United Airlines, Tammy Henry from WalMart and Jason Morrris, Angela Preston and yours truly from EmployeeScreenIQ. We’re going to talk about how to develop a compliant hiring matrix, what should be considered when determining if a criminal record should disqualify someone from employment, the proper steps you need to follow when sending adverse action notifications and how to perform individualized assessments.

The webinar is free and if early response from your peers is the nudge you need (we already have 500 people signed up), then please take it.

As you can tell, I’m very passionate about this topic. If I’ve violated the blogger compact of promotion, I sincerely apologize. We just want to see less press releases alleging violations of legal background screening practices so that we can focus on the tremendous benefits that a comprehensive and compliant background screening program can have on your hiring practices.

All the info you need about the webinar is listed below:

To make intelligent hiring decisions, your company conducts employment background checks. It makes sense that you want to know all of the information on your candidate before making a final hiring decision. But then—it all comes down to the results. When a background check reveals that your job candidate has a criminal record, how do you respond?

Company hiring practices have fallen under increased government scrutiny and it’s critical that you understand the implications of your actions – and have a proactive process in place to address these unique hiring situations. So what are best practices for protecting your company?

On December 10th, join EmployeeScreenIQ for a complimentary webcast entitled, “My Candidate Has a Criminal Record. Now What?” This info-packed session will demonstrate the steps you must take when a candidate’s background check uncovers adverse information. Our featured panelists are, veteran HR executives L. Gordon Paisley from United Airlines, Tammy Henry from Walmart, and background screening experts Jason Morris, Angela Preston, and Nick Fishman from EmployeeScreenIQ. Join us while we discuss important legal considerations and share practical advice for developing a safe and compliant hiring protocol.

Attendees will learn:

    • Precautions to ensure their organization’s hiring practices are legally compliant with FCRA & EEOC requirements.
    • Essential considerations before making a hiring decision on a candidate with a criminal record.
    • Best practices for individualized assessments and adverse action.




By attending this webinar, you will receive 1 HRCI credit.

HRCI

The use of this seal is not an endorsement by the HR Certification Institute of the quality of the program. It means that this program has met the HR Certification Institute’s criteria to be pre-approved for recertification credit.

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Criminal Background Check Compliance

To make intelligent hiring decisions, your company conducts employment background checks. It makes sense that you want to know all of the information on your candidate before making a final hiring decision. But then—it all comes down to the results. When a background check reveals that your job candidate has a criminal record, how do you respond?

Company hiring practices have fallen under increased government scrutiny and it’s critical that you understand the implications of your actions – and have a proactive process in place to address these unique hiring situations. So what are best practices for protecting your company?

On December 10th, join EmployeeScreenIQ for a complimentary webcast entitled, “My Candidate Has a Criminal Record. Now What?” This info-packed session will demonstrate the steps you must take when a candidate’s background check uncovers adverse information. Our featured panelists are, veteran HR executives L. Gordon Paisley from United Airlines, Tammy Henry from Walmart, and background screening experts Jason Morris, Angela Preston, and Nick Fishman from EmployeeScreenIQ. Join us while we discuss important legal considerations and share practical advice for developing a safe and compliant hiring protocol.

Attendees will learn:

    • Precautions to ensure their organization’s hiring practices are legally compliant with FCRA & EEOC requirements.
    • Essential considerations before making a hiring decision on a candidate with a criminal record.
    • Best practices for individualized assessments and adverse action.








By attending this webinar, you will receive 1 HRCI credit.

HRCI

The use of this seal is not an endorsement by the HR Certification Institute of the quality of the program. It means that this program has met the HR Certification Institute’s criteria to be pre-approved for recertification credit.

Continue Reading

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Resource Page

If you follow EmployeeScreenIQ’s Blog and subscribe to our emails, you know we strive to provide clients and casual observers alike with the latest news and trends in employment background checks. With our knowledge and experience, we fill our Compliance Resource Page to the brim with educational resources to keep human resources, security, and risk management professionals equipped with information needed to keep their HR engines running smoothly.

While these resources were available before, we recently gathered the most pertinent compliance resources to create a user-friendly corner of the EmployeeScreenIQ website.

Visit our Compliance Resource Page for:

Compliance Resource Center: This page features several essential items needed for your organization to stay in compliance, including important downloads, the latest issues of By The Way, legislative updates, and more.

Media Center: This resource features the most recent educational materials created by EmployeeScreenIQ—including white papers and webinars.

EmployeeScreen University: The #1 central resource for HR, security, and risk management professionals alike to find educational information related to employment background checks. We regularly post on a variety of compliance topics, including the latest news and trends in the industry.

IQ Blog: The EmployeeScreenIQ Blog offers human resources and risk management professionals a 360-degree analysis of the evolving trends, ever-changing legislation and innovations in the world of employment background checks, with an occasional opinion or two and attitude mixed in. Our blog rarely goes a week without a new post—so don’t miss out.

Court Delays: There are a multitude of reasons for court delays from holidays to specific locations experiencing delays. We post these updates on this page as we become aware of them, so check back frequently if you think a court delay might be affecting your background check.

Case Studies: EmployeeScreenIQ serves an impressive roster of over 3,000 clients worldwide encompassing all industry segments. Our clients range from Fortune 100 organizations screening several thousand people per month to small businesses with occasional screening needs. Please review some of our recent case studies which highlight how EmployeeScreenIQ has made a difference for the organizations we serve. Be on the lookout for upcoming case studies in the near future.

Visit our Compliance Resource Center here.









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Disney Background Checks

The company known for their signature character, Mickey Mouse, is defending a class action claim based on questions about its background screening policies. The suit against Disney was filed in the Superior Court of California on November 1, 2013, and the complaint alleges that Disney’s policy for notifying applicants about background checks has violated the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA).

The case is part of a bigger trend—the exponential rise in FCRA-based class action claims. The suits have been on the rise for a few reasons. The widespread adoption of employment background checks by companies over the past 10-15 years has justifiably raised awareness about the screening process. FCRA litigation is a “new” area that the trial bar seems to have only recently discovered. With statutory damages, attorney’s fees, punitive damages and costs as well as actual damages, these class actions are much more lucrative than individual plaintiff cases. Disney is not the only large scale employer to be singled out—other household names like Kmart, Domino’s, Swift Trucking, Dillard’s and Rite Aid have all been called out in FCRA-related allegations.

[...]

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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.

[...]

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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 askangela@employeescreen.com, 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: askangela@employeescreen.com.

 

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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.

Cynthia
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.

[...]

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