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Background Checks

 

 

 

 

 

 

As I’m sure you can imagine, the search term “background check” has skyrocketed on the internet due to the tidal wave of stories about toughening the checks associated with gun ownership. For the last month, my Google alerts are filled with these stories every day even though they have nothing to do with employee background checks (someday Google will just know what I want). Generally, I just ignore them and look for the next thing that peaks my interest. Well, today I came across a Wall Street Journal article that exposed the criminal background checks that are used by gun shops for the Swiss cheese that they are. See below.

Polls show that expanding background checks to cover all gun sales, not just those by licensed dealers, is one of the most popular measures being considered by the White House to curb gun violence. There’s one problem: The system President Barack Obama and many lawmakers hope to expand is full of holes. The National Instant Criminal Background Check System, which federally licensed firearm dealers must use to check the credentials of potential gun buyers, doesn’t include millions of people legally barred from owning guns, researchers and advocates say. Fourteen states list fewer than five people flagged for mental-health issues.

“Many states are still failing to do the bare minimum,” said Mark Glaze, director of Mayors Against Illegal Guns, which studied the matter in a 2011 report. “We know they have hundreds of thousands of records sitting in state agencies.”

If this is about gun ownership databases, why should we care?

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Criminal Record Background Check

 

 

 

 

 

 

A law implemented in Ohio last year has changed the state background check process and the information provided to employers. Specifically, state criminal records are only reported in a background check when they include convictions and guilty pleas. Unfortunately for employers that means that many applicants may appear to have a clear slate, but the truth is that they might have any number of indiscretions in their criminal history. These might include arrests or charges that never resulted in a conviction.

The hope for the new law was that it would help ex-offenders to become integrated into society again by getting jobs and hopefully avoid any future indiscretions. Even with this positive aspect to the law, employers still have reason to be concerned. As reported by the Associated Press, this includes three categories of criminal activity, “juveniles convicted of serious crimes that aren’t required to be reported, adults with recent arrests whose cases haven’t been concluded and adults who years ago violated their bail conditions and fled to avoid prosecution.” As you can see these are serious instances and I’m sure any employer would want to know if their candidate had a history in any of those categories.

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School Background Checks

Conducting background checks on teachers has become more imperative now than ever it seems. In recent months, additional measures have been taken in various states to improve the background screening process for teachers as well as other school employees and anyone else that works with or around children. In particular, the state of Massachusetts has just passed a law with several changes for the background screening process for teachers. Governor Deval Patrick signed a bill that would require a national criminal history background check as well as fingerprint screening for all teachers. The Associated Press reported that State Rep. Alice Peisch also pushed for the changes and said Massachusetts will “no longer lag behind” other states which have already adopted the national fingerprint background check.

The background checks will extend beyond just teachers and the law requires background screening for school employees, bus drivers and subcontractors. According to the press release, “Prior to this law, school districts and early education providers were allowed only to conduct name-based Criminal Offender Record Information (CORI) checks covering criminal history record information for crimes committed in Massachusetts.” The law requires that fingerprints will be submitted to the state police for a state criminal history check and also forwarded to the Federal Bureau of Investigation for a national background check. Under the previous law, fingerprints were not required and only a state check was conducted.

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Happy (belated) New Year! The year seems to be off to a good start as I write the first weekly wrap of 2013. On Monday, we talked about a new proposal in the state of New York to require background checks for anyone working at senior care facilities. Nick also shared some of his favorite blogs within the industry-check out (Blog) Rolling Out the New Year with Our Faves! for a few great resources. We also posted on yet another media report of background checks gone wrong in 5 Bad Background Checks and 1 Perception Problem (with a few thoughts on how background screening SHOULD go) Lastly, and most importantly, we’re excited that we extended our Annual Background Screening Trends Survey. We’ve gotten a great response and are keeping it open a little longer so we can hear from even more of you! So don’t miss your chance to participate and enter to WIN an iPad mini! Have a great weekend!

New York Proposal to Require Background Checks for Senior Care WorkersSenior Care Employee Background Checks

There are new stories almost every week reporting a company or organization’s failure to conduct background checks on employees working with children or the elderly. We’ve blogged on several stories recently about childcare workers or school employees who were employed with a criminal record, which was discovered after they were already working for the school or daycare. Similarly, recent cases have shown that greater care should also be taken when hiring senior care workers. Background checks for senior care workers are imperative to insuring the safety and happiness of the many parents or grandparents who are placed in their care. Read More

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Criminal Record Background Checks

I guess you can’t blame Huffington Post blogger Erin Steiner for her post entitled “5 Stories of Background Checks Gone Awry” where she highlights five individuals who were adversely affected by inaccurate background checks.  It’s time to acknowledge that we as background screening companies and employers have a perception problem.  The mainstream media continues to highlight instances of inaccurate background checks as they occur.  I think that’s fair.  It shouldn’t happen.

Background screeners have a responsibility to their clients and to their clients’ employees and job candidates to ensure maximum possible accuracy.  That means that they should confirm that the record belongs to the subject of the report before ever reporting the information.  Employers, hiring managers and human resources can’t walk away blameless either.  They have a responsibility to partner with suppliers that are committed to taking the necessary steps to ensure the results are reliable..

That begs the question of whether the perception fair?   [...]

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Background Checks for Senior Care Employees

There are new stories almost every week reporting a company or organization’s failure to conduct background checks on employees working with children or the elderly. We’ve blogged on several stories recently about childcare workers or school employees who were employed with a criminal record, which was discovered after they were already working for the school or daycare. Similarly, recent cases have shown that greater care should also be taken when hiring senior care workers. Background checks for senior care workers are imperative to insuring the safety and happiness of the many parents or grandparents who are placed in their care.

In New York, a new state proposal would require employee background checks on anyone applying for a job with a senior care facility. Surprisingly, the current law does not require that a background check be completed on workers in these facilities. However, a background check can be done free of charge for these facilities, so why aren’t they being done?

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You may feel there is an overload of information when it comes to school background checks lately, but many schools and organizations continue to move in a positive direction. Schools are tightening security by doing background checks on not just teachers but also parents, volunteers and other school employees.

One such school district is Johnston County in North Carolina. They are hoping to change their policy so that not only new hires are screened, but every employee would periodically have a background check done to screen for any recent criminal records since they were first employed. A recent case within the school district was a teacher’s assistant in the district who “was charged with distributing heroin in, on or within 1,000 feet.”

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Children play outside the Child Development Center at Fort Myer, Va. Adam Skoczylas/U.S. Army

 

It began with the disclosure that two employees at Fort Myer’s Child Development Center were arrested for assault charges on children under their care. Later it was revealed that there was a third woman caught on video assaulting a child. These cases ultimately led to an investigation that revealed 31 of 130 CDC employees had criminal records. For any company or organization, this would be a huge number-especially to have slipped through the employment background screening process. You have to wonder how these employees were hired by anyone, let alone within the military.

The first employee cases uncovered involved assaults, not sexual, but still harmful to the children involved. The two initial suspects reportedly “pinched, kneed, and punched toddlers.” The videos that later proved these violent outbursts were installed due to a mother complaining that she witnessed an employee yelling at children.

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Things are quickly winding down for the year at EmployeeScreenIQ, and we’re excited (much like Ralphie from A Christmas Story) for what’s to come in 2013. We’ve had quite a few blog posts this week that you might have missed in the hustle and bustle of the end of the month and the end of the year. Something I would like to highlight in particular is that our Employment Background Screening Trends Survey is awaiting your participation (and even better, we’ve extended the deadline through January)! As proven in 2011, our survey is a great resource for us and others in our industry. I’m not even sure where to begin wrapping up this last week because there are an overabundance of exciting stories on our blog.  I recommend taking a ten minute break from your work and scroll down our blog page. Some of the stories from this past week include, Recruiting On Social Networks: The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly of 2012, an important update with ban the box in Pittsburgh and the results of a CareerBuilder survey showcasing the costliness of bad hires. Thanks for reading throughout this year and happy holidays!

 

Recruiting On Social Networks: The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly of 2012

Social MediaSocial recruiting has seemingly moved up on HR’s list of priorities when it comes to hiring-and not only seeking job candidates via Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn, but also searching profiles for reasons to remove a candidate from the process. If a potential employee has a public profile, HR can easily scan their page. However, this becomes a problem if employers are requesting user names and passwords to look at a candidate’s private profile. See More

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We’ve encountered countless stories of job applicants lying on their resume, whether it’s been education or employment, somehow these tricksters have gained employment or even entered Ivy League schools based on resume lies. Several months ago the news was buzzing with the story of the Yahoo CEO, Scott Thompson who deceivingly listed that he earned a degree in accounting and computer science. The latter degree claim was a lie. Earlier this year it was discovered that the CEO had only received a degree in accounting from Stonehill College and built his career based on this lie.

Another fascinating fabrication from 2010 was the story of Adam Wheeler, who elaborately created a resume not with little white lies, but blatant claims of attending schools he never did and earning test scores he never received. Wheeler was admitted into Harvard and even attended until his lies were uncovered.

It’s troubling that if Thompson and Wheeler got away with lies like these, there are definitely employees that are slipping through the cracks all the time. Whether it’s a huge lie like these two or something smaller, it’s disconcerting that either these companies are not completing employment background checks or these background checks are not being done thoroughly.

A recent Careerbuilder survey revealed intriguing statistics from employers saying they’ve made costly hiring mistakes in the past year.  [...]

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