The U.S. Commission on Civil Rights has announced its briefing regarding the recent changes in the EEOC’s Conviction Records Policy on the employment of black and Hispanic workers as well as the impact of criminal background checks for employers. On one side of the conversation, it’s argued by employers that conducting criminal background checks assists in ultimately ensuring a safer work environment for everyone, reducing negligent hiring and criminal activity in the workplace. From the EEOC’s perspective the increase in criminal background checks for employment could cause discrimination in the hiring process. This hearing will bring in a number of experts who will present their experiences to assist in this investigation. This investigation will serve for use in future decisions with changes in EEOC guidelines. EmployeeScreenIQ’s Nick Fishman, Chief Marketing Officer and EVP, will be among these experts and presenting the perspective from the background screening industry.
While your name might not show up with a criminal record in a background check, what if an advertisement for a background check service used your name stating, “John Smith, arrested.” Although there may be someone with a criminal record under that name, you don’t have a criminal record. How would you feel if you saw this advertised while doing a simple search on the internet?
A few cases have shown up recently for professionals with ethnic sounding names finding that their names are listed in Instant Checkmate’s advertisements typically with the word, “arrested” or something equally misleading. This points to suspicion that the website, Instantcheckmate.com is using profiling in their advertisements. One example is Ebony Jefferson. When her name was found in an Instant Checkmate advertisement, it read, “Ebony Jefferson, arrested?” But when a similar name, Emily Jefferson was listed in an ad, it simply said, “We found Emily Jefferson.” Coincidence? Perhaps. However there are many instances where similar results were found in relation to ethnic sounding names being associated with listing words like “arrest” with those names in particular. Another example is the case of Latanya Sweeney,a Harvard University professor of government, whose name was found by a colleague while searching for an article Sweeney published. The ad listed her name alongside, “arrested” much like Ebony Jefferson.
With NBC’s Today Show report on the negative side to background screening companies, another case arose this past week with the story of Darlene T. Martinez of Arizona, who was denied a job due to an inaccurate background check. After the NBC report, many background screening companies, including EmployeeScreenIQ responded confirming that, yes, companies in our industry do make mistakes sometimes. While we can’t speak for our competitors, our company does everything possible to conduct a complete and accurate background check, especially when it comes to criminal records. However, for Darlene, the mistake in her background check not only cost her a job opportunity, but caused additional hardships for the months that followed.
On this Eve of Thanksgiving Eve (yes, I’ve just created two new holidays), we are all looking forward to the greatest holiday of all time and can only hope that when the turkey emerges from his cave this year that he will see his shadow and there will be six more weeks of Thanksgiving!!!!
So what better way to kick off the festivities than with our Annual List of Employment Background Check Turkeys. Who could forget this motley group of fools that we’ve chronicled over the past year? [...]
While a great amount of confidence comes with conducting a background check on someone working with children, what happens if a criminal history was not found in the background check? This was exactly the case with Jessica Tata, who ran a day care from her home in Texas where a fire started and killed four children under her care, in addition to injuring others. When Jessica applied for a child care license in Texas she refrained from listing that she had a criminal past–a juvenile conviction from when she was in high school, which could have prevented the child care license from being issued. Ironically, the juvenile conviction was an arson related case as well. While a background check was conducted, no record was found.
With less than a week left before the big day-AKA Thanksgiving, you are probably busy preparing plans with your family or trying to get ahead with work due to the short work week for the upcoming holiday. With so many responsibilities vying for your attention, you may have missed some industry news highlighted in our blog this week. We covered two stories regarding employees with criminal records who work with children, including School Employees with Criminal Backgrounds and No Records Found for Babysitters with Criminal Records. We also caught wind of a few additional details about the developing background check ban in Seattle, Seattle Still Working to Ban Employer Access to Criminal Records. And finally, as an addition to last week’s blog on the investigative report by the Today Show on the inaccuracies of background screening companies, Nick Fishman, our Chief Marketing Officer offered an additional response with a slightly different perspective, Today Show Report Highlights Room for Improvement.
The Washington Policy Center posted an article on some additional information regarding a ban on employment background checks in Seattle. While background checks are not being banned altogether, employers in Seattle will be extremely limited when it comes to pre-employment screening. This “Job Assistance Legislation” offers both pros and cons. (See More)
You may remember previous blog posts from Angela Bosworth in September on Seattle’s potential “ban” on employment background checks. If you missed them, check them out for some background:
The Washington Policy Center posted an article on some additional information regarding a ban on employment background checks in Seattle. While background checks are not being banned altogether, employers in Seattle will be extremely limited when it comes to pre-employment screening. This “Job Assistance Legislation” offers both pros and cons. Most importantly, this legislation would prevent criminal recidivism and perhaps give these candidates with criminal records a better chance at getting the job. It could also prove to be a positive for candidates with a criminal past so they are not differentiated from those with a clean record.
Imagine you want a job as a babysitter. You love kids, so you sign up on a free online service that connects babysitters, or caregivers, to jobs. The only problem is that you have a criminal record that you don’t want a potential parent/employer to know about…and if that’s the case, you may be in luck on some caregiver websites. While EmployeeScreenIQ is in the business of background screening for companies and not individuals, this is a perfect example of what happens when inaccurate information is received from background checks that are completed through certain online services. NBC Chicago reported on two caregiver websites, both of which could be a parent’s dream to finding a caregiver, anywhere from a full-time nanny to a babysitter for date night. The two sites in this article are Sittercity.com and Care.com, and both allow potential sitters to sign up for free.
NBC Chicago created a profile and conducted background checks on four applicants through these two websites. Each site promises accuracy in their background screening, however they can be rather expensive, with a price tag of up to $85 on Sittercity.com. While you’re hoping the price is worth it, you might get what you paid for, and you might not.
We all do dumb things. If you ask my wife, she’ll tell you I do them every day. Well, thank goodness I’ve never been brought in front of a judge to answer for my idiocy like this Ohio woman who was sentenced to hold up a sign proclaiming that she was an idiot. The punishment couldn’t have been more fitting for her offense. On multiple occasions she drove up on a school sidewalk around a bus that was loading special needs children.
According to WJW Fox 8, Shena Hardin, 32, of Cleveland pleaded guilty to not stopping for a school bus and reckless operation. A Cleveland Municipal Court judge ordered her driver’s license suspended for 30 days and ordered her to pay $250 in court costs.
As part of the sentence, Hardin must also must wear a sign that reads, “Only an idiot would drive on the sidewalk to avoid the school bus” for an hour a day for two days next week at the intersection where the incident occurred, according to Fox 8.
Now, if you were an employer and this woman applied for a job, that would be one entertaining employment background check.
Check out this clip from the Today Show.
As you’ve probably heard before, there are many cases of school employees having criminal records that are not revealed until after they have worked for a school system for a significant period of time. In some instances, this might be because the background check that was conducted was not thorough enough, however, in other cases, previous regulations allowed those with criminal records to work for a school district, as long as enough time had passed since they were convicted. As laws and regulations are narrowing down to prevent these employees from working for the school system, there are many situations that do not have a black or white answer.
One such case reported by WTAE Pittsburgh, is the employment of Art Johnson, a counselor for young fathers at a community center in Penn Hills. In 1982, Johnson was convicted of voluntary manslaughter, and served five years in prison. He says he now uses his experiences from when he was younger to educate the men he counsels. Johnson stated, “I’m not coming at them with what I found out in a book. I’m sharing my experience, my strengths and my hopes…” At the time Johnson was hired, the law did not prevent him from getting the job. However, under a new state law, there will be a lifetime employment ban for certain criminal offenses. While a judge ruled that Johnson could keep his job, the Department of Education appealed the decision. In addition, 53 people working in schools have been reported for criminal records that are covered under this new law. While some of these cases may be a grey area, the state of Pennsylvania does not allow employment to anyone with a criminal record that relates to children. The Pennsylvania Department of Education also has an extensive section on their website regarding background checks for school employees.
Another article from The Daily News in Jacksonville, NC covers the strategic plan for Onslow County Boys & Girls Club and Onslow County Schools, in addition to other local programs. Not only do they conduct national background checks, county records searches, and checks for sexual offenders, but they also institute a program that regulates employees and volunteers from being left alone with children one on one.