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    We are pleased to report that employeescreenIQ has been recognized as a Weatherhead 100 organization for the 4th consecutive year.  The award, which is named for Case Western Reserve University’s Weatherhead School of Management honors the fastest growing companies in NE Ohio.

    The final rankings will be announced in December.

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        We’ve spent a lot of time over the last couple of months talking about diploma mills and how job applicants are using fraudulent degrees to gain employment, promotions, incentive pay, etc.  and we thought it made sense to assemble a resource for employers to use when evaluating academic credentials.

        Therefore, we have published a White Paper entitled “Known Diploma Mills Resource Guide” which is available to download by clicking here.  We hope that you don’t mind providing some basic information in exchange for this invaluable guide which includes a list of Known Diploma Mills, a list of Unapproved Accrediting Organizations and a guide to identify approved accrediting organizations.  Any organization who verifies their applicants’ educational background can benefit.

        Check it out.

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            Last week, I blogged about how the Pennsylvania Interscholastic Athletics Association (PIAA) does not conduct background checks on those officiating school sporting events (see Pittsburgh Newspaper Reports Sports Officials Have Criminal Records).  Since that blog, I’ve seen numerous follow up stories regarding this issue, the majority disagreeing with PIAA officials that their current process of not conducting background checks is acceptable.  Well, it appears that PIAA may not have a choice in the future of whether to screen those they hire to work directly with children.

            State Rep. Pushes For Background Checks For PIAA Officials

            WPXI.com – September 23, 2008

            CANONSBURG, Pa. — Pennsylvania State Rep. Tim Solobay is pushing for a new law to protect high school athletes from child predators.

            Under Solobay’s legislation, all Pennsylvania Intercollegiate Athletic Association officials who have direct contact with children will have to undergo a background check.

            A recent report showed several PIAA officials had criminal histories including child abuse, sexual battery and child pornography.

            Let’s just hope Pennsylvania does their homework on what constitutes a thorough background check.  Otherwise, this may not be the last we hear on this issue.

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                According to the Evening Sun:

                CLEARING THE RECORD: Certain former offenders who remain crime-free for several years would have a chance to clear their criminal records under a bill passed 198-1 by the House.

                The bill would apply to people who have committed summary offenses, second-degree misdemeanors under the age of 25, and third-degree misdemeanors. They would be allowed ask county courts to expunge their records within 5 to 10 years after their release, depending on the nature of the offense.

                Under current law, offenses can only be expunged from the criminal records of people who have been dead for three years or who have reached the age of 70 after spending 10 years crime-free following their last confinement or supervision. The measure goes to the Senate, which passed a measure in April to allow the expungement of summary offenses only. (House Bill 1543)

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                  International Recruiting

                  Published on 24 September 2008 by in Global Screening

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                    According to Human Resource Executive Magazine the need for international recruiting is going to explode.  In the United States we are experiencing a massive nursing shortage.  According to the Baltimore based Center for Nursing Advocacy, the US is projected to have a shortage of 275,000 nurses by 2010.  HR Executive writes an interesting article;  RX for International Recruiting.  Currently there are no standards for recruiting nurses internationally.

                    And the United States is not alone, according to Patricia Pittman, executive vice president of Washington-based AcademyHealth, a nonpartisan organization that focuses on health research and policy.

                    Pittman says the nursing shortage is a global crisis, affecting developed and underdeveloped countries. Yet, developed countries such as the United States have a distinct advantage in recruiting foreign-educated nurses from so-called “source countries,” because of the potential earnings.

                    “It’s really impossible to compete with salaries in the United States,” says Pittman, who estimates that a nurse can earn up to 10 times their salary in the source country.

                    This is creating some big issues across the globe.  Unethical recruiters see huge dollar signs and are doing everything they can to bring nurses to the US.  Recruiters in India and the Philippines seem to be taking advantage of this and are using unethical means to recruit talent.  According to HRE in order to respond to the problem, a code of ethics for recruiting foreign-educated nurses was recently unveiled at the National Press Club in Washington by a task force of health care professionals, attorneys and recruiters, among others.

                    What does this mean to you?  Make sure you are doing background checks on your recruiters and nurses.  International Background Checks or Global Background Screening services are available and should be utilized in all cases.  Make sure your foreign recruiters are adhearing to ethical standard and not putting your orgainization at risk.

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                        A new law requiring more background checks on Ohio teachers and school employees is finding a lot of adverse information.  No one ever wants to see someone lose their job, especially after so many years of gainful employment.  However, this is for a greater good, protecting our children.

                        Searches of Old Criminal Records End School Jobs

                        Sweeping changes in state laws intended to keep students safe have uncovered criminal offenses — some decades old — that are costing school employees their jobs.

                        The impact has been especially evident among nonteaching employees who, until this year, did not have to undergo the kind of comprehensive background checks done for teachers.

                        Now, staffers such as custodians, secretaries and cafeteria workers may face dismissal for newly unearthed offenses committed years ago.

                        John Reccord, a night supervisor for the Orange school district, has worked there for nearly two decades. But he stands to lose his job for an offense to which he pleaded guilty 35 years ago and was sentenced to probation.

                        “I have been at the school for 19 years without any problems,” Reccord said. “This is going to affect people who did something when they were young. Why should they lose their jobs now?”

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                          Dorm Rules: A Background Check?

                          Published on 22 September 2008 by in Criminal Records

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                            If you live in Northeast Ohio, you may remember the scandal that rocked the University of Akron about two years ago.  For those not from around here, I’ll recap.  The Akron Beacon Journal reported back in November of 2006 that the school allowed convicted felons to live on campus.  It was even reported that a 45-year-old ex-con was paired to room with a 19-year-old college freshman.  The University of Akron did not conduct background checks on students applying to live in the dorms.  My sister attends the University of Akron and was attending during the time this story hit the media.  I can’t tell you how glad I am that she was (and still is) a commuter.

                            According to this article, only about 10% of colleges conduct background checks on students applying for housing on campus.  I see that percentage rising over the next few years.  It has the same look and feel of employment screening.  Like employers, schools want to make sure that the people inhabiting their facilities are not a threat to others around them.

                            When I read this news story, I definitely saw a similarity between employment screening and screening students who wish to live on a college campus.  For instance, the University of Central Florida states that they only conduct background checks on applicants who admit to criminal activity on their admissions application.  In other words, they rely on their prospective students to be truthful about their past.  This sounds oddly familiar. Just like job applicants, students have a vested interest in not disclosing that information.  If that college (employer) has a really great program (job) they want to get into (land), they will do what it takes.  Who wants to set up road blocks for themselves?  They probably think it’s better to take the chance that their background won’t be checked.

                            This is precisely the reason employers and schools need to stop these people at the gate.  Why let them get the one-up on you?  It’s always better to know who you are dealing with and avoid a potential bad situation.  When it comes to the question of whether to conduct a background check, the pros always outweigh the cons.  If safety and security is of the utmost priority, what are you waiting for?

                            Click here to read “More Schools Using Checks”

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                                Time again for our TWIB Notes (This Week in Backgrounds).   If you hadn’t had time to check our blog or employeescreen University, here’s what you’ve missed.

                                A few blog stories we wanted to highlight this week:

                                City of Tallahassee Ending Background Checks.  They site the fact that of the 714 checks that they’ve performed on those seeking promotions, only one check has caused them to deny a promotion.

                                A Pittsburgh newspaper reports sports officials have criminal records. The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette launched a 9-month investigation into the backgrounds of registered Pennsylvania Interscholastic Athletics Association (PIAA) referees and can you guess what they found?  They discovered ”dozens of officials had convictions involving child pornography, molestation charges, drug offenses and assaults, among other offenses.”

                                Hurricane Ike. As you know, the city of Houston, TX and surrounding areas suffered heavy damages caused by Hurricane Ike.  Currently (at the time of this post) 93% of those in Harris County (Houston) are without power.  Neighboring counties of Brazoria, Montgomery and Fort Bend are also largely without power.  And of course, many people are returning to severely damaged homes.

                                Blog Rumble. We have been pretty vocal about our opposition to the use of Social Networking Sites for employment screening purposes and have not heard many counter arguments from respected voices. Until Now.

                                We also posted a new guest article on employeesceen Univeristy.  Attorney Seth Brisking writes about Complying with the Fair Credit Reporting Act.

                                You can also download a podcast of This Week in Backgrounds (TWIB Notes) on our iTunes Channel or by listening below:

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                                    We are in one of the worst financial disasters of our generation.  Every day the news is worse.  One day the market is tanking, the next it seems to rebound, only to plummet again the following day.  Poor oversight from government agencies and greed have taken us to this monumental point in our nation’s economic history.  It appears the government‘s plan is not only a short term band-aid but also a long term fix of some serious banking issues.  President Bush has authorized the Treasury to tap into a $50 billion depression-era fund to insure the holdings of eligible money market mutual funds.  In addition, Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson and Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke are creating a huge rescue plan to buy up “dodgy assets” held by banks that made bad financial decisions.

                                    Does the government have all the answers?  I don’t know, but it appears the solutions look better than the alternative.  However, aside from being a business owner, my economic background ends at reading Alan Greenspan’s “The Age of Turbulence” and Steven D. Levitt’s & Stephen J. Dubner’s “Frekonomics“.  I do however know that in tough times, simple answers may be the best solutions.  What can consumers do?  They can learn from mistakes of others.  Don’t buy houses you can’t afford. Don’t take out loans you can’t pay back.  Gas prices are high, don’t drive so much.

                                    But what can corporations do?  I can only lend advice in one area, your people.  Look at where you are vulnerable.  Make sure you have the best employees in your organization.  Tough economic times mean some people are desperate to get jobs.  Do thorough background checks when hiring your staff.  People need to work and sometimes desperate times create desperate measures.  Lying on a resume is a sure fire way for someone to look better than another applicant and get the job that pays the bills.  Time will tell, but we expect to see more people claim degrees they don’t have, employment titles and salaries they didn’t earn.

                                    So, now more than ever, it is important companies do a quality employment background check.  Don’t use a tough economy as an excuse to cut employment screening. Economics conditions affect your organization’s revenue, but decisions you make also affect your profits.  It’s a shortsighted decision that could fundamentally alter the talent pool within your organization. There are also tools available to vet your current staff.  Aside from the liabilities you have with new employees, potential criminal acts committed by current employees can cause you the same heartache. It is my hope we have learned a lot from these tough times.  Let’s not turn the housing “bubble” into the “now my company is filled with unqualified employees bubble.”

                                    Thanks to Kevin Bachman, Vice President of Quality Service at employeescreenIQ for help with this posting!

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                                        We have been pretty vocal about our opposition to the use of Social Networking Sites for employment screening purposes and have not heard many counter arguments from respected voices.  Until now.

                                        Employment attorney, Molly DiBianca has called me out in a very public way. (Okay, maybe she hasn’t called me out exactly, but isn’t sensationalism everything these days?)   I’ve read a few of her posts concerning her support of this practice, and while I respect her opinion, I’m still not swayed.  Nor are many FCRA experts that I have spoken with on the topic including top labor law firm Jackson Lewis who just released a survey on employers’ use of this practice.  Included in this study was a comment from attorney Paul Siegel which supports our position.

                                        ” . . . taking adverse employment action against employees on the basis of their protected recreational activities outside of the workplace is unlawful.”

                                        Last evening, I had dinner with two prominent employment attorneys who have considerable FCRA experience and both agree that using social networking sites, such as My Space and Facebook, for screening purposes is a bad idea whether the FCRA applies or not.

                                        While I disagree with Molly, I think it would be short sighted and small minded not to show you her opposing view.  Check it out.

                                        What do you think?

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                                          All information contained on this website is provided by employeescreenIQ solely for the convenience of the site viewers. employeescreenIQ is not providing legal advice or counsel and nothing provided on this website or otherwise by employeescreenIQ should be deemed as legal guidance or advice. Users are solely responsible for complying with all local, state, and federal laws relating to the use of any information provided on this website and any information products provided by employeescreenIQ. Users should consult with their own legal counsel if they have questions regarding their legal responsibilities or any information provided by employeescreenIQ.