Criminal Records

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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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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EmployeeScreenIQ Survey Reveals Criminal Offenses That Concern Employers

Trends Cover

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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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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To Hire Or Not to Hire: 5 Steps to Compliance When Your Candidate Has a Criminal Record

Compliance Criminal Background Check

To hire, or not to hire…that is indeed the question. Employers review qualifications, skills, and typically, the results of an employment background check to determine if a candidate is not only eligible for a position, but if they would be a good fit for the company.

For most companies, it goes without saying that you should conduct employment background checks to verify education and employment, confirm credentials, and search criminal history. However, when the background check results come in and a criminal record is found on your candidate’s background check—what steps should you take?

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Cold Weather Be Darned: Illinois is Great for Employment Background Checks

Employment Background Checks in Illinois

I have a confession to make: I hate Chicago-style pizza and I don’t get Illinoisans fascination with it. I mean come on! It’s like a slab of concrete. And what’s with the sauce on top of the cheese? Really?

So maybe we don’t know pizza, but the state of Illinois has it going on when it comes to employment background checks. Unlike its border state Michigan, there are very few obstacles to conducting criminal background checks. There are no counties that mandate clerk research, and court access fees are few, inexpensive, and far between. So whether you’re in Chicago, Springfield, Aurora, Naperville, Waukegan, Peoria, Champagne–Urbana or Rockford–that equals lower background check costs and faster turnaround time for employers.

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U.S. Civil Rights Commissioners Take EEOC to Task on Background Checks

Assessing the Impact of Criminal Background Checks

As many of your know, I had the privilege of providing testimony to the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights at their hearing on the impact of criminal background checks and the EEOC’s conviction policy on the employment of Black and Hispanic workers in December of 2012.

After great debate and deliberation, the commission released their official statements regarding the hearing in mid-February. I’ve been dissecting the material for a couple weeks now and there is simply no way to give you all of the highlights and lowlights. Instead, I’d like to focus on the conclusion (below) drawn by Commissioner Peter N. Kirsanow (joined by Vice Chair Thernstrom and Commissioner Gaziano), in which I’ve highlighted several key points.

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San Francisco Joins the Growing Number to Ban The Box

San Francisco Ban the Box

It’s official—San Francisco has banned the box. Employers in the city or county of San Francisco may no longer inquire about criminal history on employment applications or during interviews. Titled The Fair Chance Ordinance, No. 17-14, the new law goes into effect on August 13, 2014 and prohibits both private and public employers with at least 20 employees from asking about a criminal past on the job application or in an initial interview. The law also restricts asking about criminal history on applications for affordable housing within the city. With respect to employment, the law applies to temporary workers, contract workers, and city contractors and subcontractors.

If an employer wants to screen for criminal history information, the ordinance adds some new requirements. In addition to delaying the criminal question until post interview or post-offer, it also requires additional notification prior to any inquiry, notice prior to taking a negative action, and an individualized assessment to give the applicant a chance to ask for reconsideration.

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HR’s Guide to Avoiding a Hiring Horror Story

Background Check Company

You know that feeling when you’re watching a horror movie? That creeping feeling of anticipation, knowing that at any minute something will go wrong? If you think horror movies are scary, just imagine how a hiring horror story might feel for your company. Maybe a candidate’s criminal record wasn’t found in the screening process…or you didn’t send an adverse action notice to your applicant and now you have a lawsuit breathing down your neck. And you’re left wondering, how could this happen?

We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again—an employment background check is only as effective as the background screening provider behind the results. Are you confident that your company is receiving the most accurate results? You rely on these results to ensure that you’re making informed hiring decisions and that the candidate you choose is the best fit for the position. Are you placing your trust in less-than-reliable background check results?

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Ask Angela: Questions on the EEOC Guidance

EEOC Guidelines Employment Background Checks

Since the EEOC clarified its guidance on the use of criminal background checks in 2012, there’s still a lot of confusion out there. I am hearing from many employers struggling with how to draft and implement a background screening policy that 1) protects their organization 2) is fair to job applicants, and 3) will stand up to an EEOC enforcement action. Below are a just a few of the questions that I’ve been hearing recently.


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