Are Employers Adapting to EEOC Guidance on Employment Background Checks?

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.

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Putting Background Checks to the Test: 4 Best Practices for Better Screening in Education

Background Checks in Education

Nearly every week another news story pops up related to background checks in schools—particularly related to the need for improvement. While background checks in the education industry are standardized by state, the question is not whether or not background checks are in place, but rather how comprehensive they are.

Although each state has its own requirements for school background checks, there’s a false sense of security that comes with them. Many states require academic institutions—from preschools to universities (both public and private)—to only conduct a statewide or fingerprint background check. Because of this, many schools are making hiring decisions based on less-than-accurate results. (more…)

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Baltimore Raises the Stakes with Its Ban the Box Law

Baltimore Ban the Box

Baltimore is the latest major U.S. city to “ban the box.” Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake is expected to sign a controversial bill that prohibits both private and public employers from asking job seekers about their criminal background on job applications. The bill passed the city council on April 28, 2014 with a vote of 10-4.

The Baltimore law raises the stakes to a whole new level by imposing criminal penalties for employers who violate the law, including a fine of up to $500 per violation, and up to 90 days in prison. Employers found in violation may face both a fine and imprisonment for each offense. Ironically, in an effort to help ex-cons, the law creates a new class of criminals.

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Ask Angela: Background Checks and the Candidate Experience

Candidate Experience

This month, we are looking at things from the job applicant’s point of view. I’m answering a question from Quentin, a job candidate who was rejected for employment by Big Kahuna Burger (BKB). Based on Quentin’s version of the facts, his question reads a lot like what NOT to do for a positive candidate experience. Of course, the names have been changed to protect the innocent.


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US Senate Bill Targets Credit Checks and FCRA Reform

Employment Credit Checks

US Senators Brian Schatz (HI) and Sherrod Brown (OH) introduced legislation on April 9, 2014 calling for credit reform. The bill, as introduced, would require significant changes for credit furnishers and consumer reporting agencies (CRAs). The Senators and bill supporters are calling the proposed legislation the “Stop Errors in Credit Use and Reporting”, or SECURE Act of 2014. The bill has been referred to the Senate Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs.

Credit reporting agencies are beholden to both the Dodd Frank Act and the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA). Based on the press releases that announced the introduction of the bill, supporters say that consumers need tighter rules for ensuring that credit reports are accurate. The stated purpose of the bill is, “To enhance the accuracy of credit reporting, provide greater rights to consumers who dispute errors in their credit reports, and for other purposes.” It’s the “other purposes” part that makes me nervous. (more…)

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Background Screening That Reaches Beyond U.S. Borders

International Background Checks

In the past decade, an increasing number of US-based companies have been recruiting candidates from overseas. It’s important that employers seeking candidates from other countries remain as diligent with international background checks as ones conducted domestically. From candidate experience to performing resume verifications abroad to Safe Harbor certification, our video serves as a guide for employers that want to follow best practices related to international background checks.

While there are similarities between background checks conducted in the United States and internationally, there are a few key differentiators employers should know. (more…)

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Not So Fast: Swift Settles FCRA Claim with $4.4M for Background Checks

Swift Transportation Settlement for Background Checks

It’s finally over. Swift Transportation Corporation has entered into an agreement to pay $4.4 million and settle a long-running and contentious class action lawsuit for alleged Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) violations. The settlement marks the resolution of yet another high dollar case following the growing trend of FCRA class action claims for background check violations. The case, Ellis et al v. Swift Transportation Corporation, was filed on behalf of US job seekers who applied for truck driver positions with Swift from July 23, 2008 and after. FCRA Claims Abound

Swift is not alone—it’s just the latest large employer to capitulate. K-Mart agreed to pay out $3 million last year to settle an FCRA claim over background checks, specifically for alleged adverse action and notice violations. Domino’s Pizza paid out a cool $2.5 million in a similar case, and US Xpress settled for $2.75 million. Whole Foods and Disney are currently defending class action claims over their background screening policies filed earlier this year. (more…)

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Something’s Missing: Should the Airline Industry Review Its Background Screening Practices for Contract Employees?

Airport Background Checks

It can be an uncomfortable feeling—laying down all of your personal items, removing items like belts and shoes, all to go through a scanner where a TSA agent will undoubtedly see all. And if that isn’t intimate enough, often we must walk through the full body scanner, where once again, a complete stranger can literally see it all. However, most of us shrug off these moments of vulnerability, because of course—it’s for our safety.

But even if you and your luggage make it through security unscathed, there’s still a chance someone else could be rummaging through your bag later. And hearing a story like this one might make you uncomfortable the next time you check baggage. While there have been headlines of TSA agents stealing from passenger’s luggage, in this instance, the luggage was out of the passenger’s hands and behind the scenes. (more…)

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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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Once a Winner, Not Always a Winner: 3 Reasons to Re-Screen Employees

Rescreening Employees

Before hiring a candidate, you order an employment background check. Let’s say the results come back clean in every area—criminal background, resume verification, and drug screening. Your candidate also meets the requirements and skills needed for the position, so you decide to move forward. Now the question is…is a one-time background check enough? Maybe, maybe not.

You make a hiring decision based on the information you have at the time of hire, and as I’m sure you already know—people and circumstances change over time. That being said, it’s important to maintain a safe work environment by not only screening new employees, but current ones as well.

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