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Our friends from the great state of Texas are in the news once again when it comes to employment background checks , and once again, their efforts are worthy of applause for those who support this responsible business practice. You might recall last month the Lone Star State filed a federal lawsuit against the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission for their guidance …

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Criminal Background Check Compliance

We’re guilty. From time to time, we use the space in this blog to promote our company events such as webinars, surveys, special awards, etc. And while we are very excited and passionate about what we do as a background screening company, we try not to cross the lines of over-promotion (only you can tell me if we’ve done a good job with this).

Today, I’m going to depart from that philosophy and shamelessly promote our upcoming webinar, “My Candidate Has a Criminal Record: Now What?”. The reason I am doing this is because human resources professionals cannot afford to miss this one. Not more than a month has gone by this month this year where we haven’t seen a marquee press release announcing a multi-million dollar suit being filed against an employer for allegations of violating the Fair Credit Reporting Act in conjunction with their employment background screening practices or discrimination in hiring practices for the same.

Whether these companies that are being sued are guilty or not, the cost to defend these allegations and the negative publicity surrounding these cases should be a big red flag for all. Class action attorneys have found a new target and they are circling like sharks. Most employers are doing things properly, but there has never been a better time to make sure that you brush up on your responsibilities when it comes to employment background checks.

Our panel of experts includes Gordon Paisley from United Airlines, Tammy Henry from WalMart and Jason Morrris, Angela Preston and yours truly from EmployeeScreenIQ. We’re going to talk about how to develop a compliant hiring matrix, what should be considered when determining if a criminal record should disqualify someone from employment, the proper steps you need to follow when sending adverse action notifications and how to perform individualized assessments.

The webinar is free and if early response from your peers is the nudge you need (we already have 500 people signed up), then please take it.

As you can tell, I’m very passionate about this topic. If I’ve violated the blogger compact of promotion, I sincerely apologize. We just want to see less press releases alleging violations of legal background screening practices so that we can focus on the tremendous benefits that a comprehensive and compliant background screening program can have on your hiring practices.

All the info you need about the webinar is listed below:

To make intelligent hiring decisions, your company conducts employment background checks. It makes sense that you want to know all of the information on your candidate before making a final hiring decision. But then—it all comes down to the results. When a background check reveals that your job candidate has a criminal record, how do you respond?

Company hiring practices have fallen under increased government scrutiny and it’s critical that you understand the implications of your actions – and have a proactive process in place to address these unique hiring situations. So what are best practices for protecting your company?

On December 10th, join EmployeeScreenIQ for a complimentary webcast entitled, “My Candidate Has a Criminal Record. Now What?” This info-packed session will demonstrate the steps you must take when a candidate’s background check uncovers adverse information. Our featured panelists are, veteran HR executives L. Gordon Paisley from United Airlines, Tammy Henry from Walmart, and background screening experts Jason Morris, Angela Preston, and Nick Fishman from EmployeeScreenIQ. Join us while we discuss important legal considerations and share practical advice for developing a safe and compliant hiring protocol.

Attendees will learn:

    • Precautions to ensure their organization’s hiring practices are legally compliant with FCRA & EEOC requirements.
    • Essential considerations before making a hiring decision on a candidate with a criminal record.
    • Best practices for individualized assessments and adverse action.




By attending this webinar, you will receive 1 HRCI credit.

HRCI

The use of this seal is not an endorsement by the HR Certification Institute of the quality of the program. It means that this program has met the HR Certification Institute’s criteria to be pre-approved for recertification credit.

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Criminal Background Check Compliance

To make intelligent hiring decisions, your company conducts employment background checks. It makes sense that you want to know all of the information on your candidate before making a final hiring decision. But then—it all comes down to the results. When a background check reveals that your job candidate has a criminal record, how do you respond?

Company hiring practices have fallen under increased government scrutiny and it’s critical that you understand the implications of your actions – and have a proactive process in place to address these unique hiring situations. So what are best practices for protecting your company?

On December 10th, join EmployeeScreenIQ for a complimentary webcast entitled, “My Candidate Has a Criminal Record. Now What?” This info-packed session will demonstrate the steps you must take when a candidate’s background check uncovers adverse information. Our featured panelists are, veteran HR executives L. Gordon Paisley from United Airlines, Tammy Henry from Walmart, and background screening experts Jason Morris, Angela Preston, and Nick Fishman from EmployeeScreenIQ. Join us while we discuss important legal considerations and share practical advice for developing a safe and compliant hiring protocol.

Attendees will learn:

    • Precautions to ensure their organization’s hiring practices are legally compliant with FCRA & EEOC requirements.
    • Essential considerations before making a hiring decision on a candidate with a criminal record.
    • Best practices for individualized assessments and adverse action.








By attending this webinar, you will receive 1 HRCI credit.

HRCI

The use of this seal is not an endorsement by the HR Certification Institute of the quality of the program. It means that this program has met the HR Certification Institute’s criteria to be pre-approved for recertification credit.

Continue Reading

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Employment Background Screening Trends

Take Our 5th Annual Employment Screening Trends Survey to Share Your Insights!

With an overwhelming response to our 2013 Employment Background Screening Trends Survey, we can’t wait to hear what HR professionals have to say in this year’s survey. Knowing that change is the only constant in life, we ask: how are you doing in today’s ever-changing hiring environment?

A few questions from this year’s survey include:

  • How are you doing in today’s ever-changing hiring environment?
  • How have you been impacted by the EEOC’s guidance on criminal records?
  • Do online searches play a significant role in your screening process?
  • When is a resume distortion relevant?Background Screening Survey

Take the 5th Annual Trends Survey and share your insights on some of the most talked-about issues shaping hiring practices and the background screening industry. The survey will take just a few minutes of your time and your feedback will help inform your professional peers. You will also receive a free executive summary of the results for your participation and be entered to win one of two $250 American Express gift cards!

Last year, nearly 1,000 HR pros just like you (and perhaps including you) responded to our survey. USA Today even featured the results! Don’t miss your opportunity to be heard and help make this our biggest research effort yet.




Employment Background Screening



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Background Checks Weekly Wrap Up

Happy Friday! What do Texas, ALDI, and Mickey Mouse have to do with each other? As far as I know, not much–other than the fact that they were all on our blog in some way in the past week or so. We’ve had some great posts on the EmployeeScreenIQ blog lately, so if you haven’t checked in this week, here’s what you might have missed. First, take a look at Angela’s post, Texas Takes on the EEOC: The Case You’ve Been Waiting For. We also released a new case study featuring one of our clients, ALDI Inc. Find out how ALDI has improved hiring practices and its background screening program by reading more of the story here. Lastly check out our post, Is Mickey Mouse in Trouble? Disney Defends Its Background Screening Policies. Visit our blog home page for more posts.

Background Checks in TexasTexas Takes on the EEOC: The Case You’ve Been Waiting For.

Texas is taking on the EEOC, claiming that the latest guidelines unlawfully limit the ability of employers  to exclude convicted felons from employment. Read More

 

 

ALDI Background ChecksThink You’ve Got Hiring Challenges? Find Out How ALDI Hires the Best Workforce.

Think you’ve got hiring challenges? Find out how ALDI hires the best workforce possible with the help of EmployeeScreenIQ’s background screening services. Read More

 

 

Disney Background Checks

Is Mickey Mouse in Trouble? Disney Defends Its Background Screening Policies.

The company known for their signature character, Mickey Mouse, is defending a class action claim based on questions about its background screening policies. Read More





Criminal Background Checks



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Background Checks in Texas

Earlier this week, Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott filed a legal action challenging the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) “enforcement guidance” that limits the use of criminal records during the hiring process. Texas is a big state, with a big reputation, so it’s fitting that this case is a big deal. The suit hits hard, claiming that EEOC guidelines unlawfully limit the ability of employers – including the State of Texas and its agencies–from excluding convicted felons from employment.

Texas Takes on the EEOC

The suit is the first direct challenge to the EEOC’s controversial criminal background enforcement guidance, which went into effect last April, 2012.  For those who follow EmployeeScreenIQ’s blog, the EEOC guidance on criminal background checks has been a frequent topic. Interestingly, Texas was not one of the states that joined in the recent letter to the EEOC from nine state Attorney’s General that protested the guidance. However, in a similar vein, the Texas complaint challenges the Commission’s statutory authority under Title VII to improperly “bully” the State and its agencies at the expense of the safety of Texans.

State of Texas Law vs. EEOC Guidance

The suit points out that under Texas law, both state agencies and private employers are prohibited from hiring convicted felons or certain types of ex-offenders for jobs that require high levels of security and public trust. The persuasive argument is that the EEOC’s guidance is harmful, damaging to both the state and private employers who are required to conduct background checks under state and federal law.

As the state’s legal action explains: “If state agencies choose to comply with the EEOC’s interpretation, they not only violate state law, but also must begin evaluating and hiring felons to serve in law enforcement, teach in local elementary schools, nurse veterans and the disabled, counsel juvenile detainees, and coach little league.”

In the press conference, Abbott got political, saying this: “Once again, the Obama Administration is overreaching its legal authority by trying to impose hiring rules on states that violate state sovereignty and – in this instance – endanger public safety. Texas has an obligation to enforce its absolute ban on hiring convicted felons for certain jobs, including state troopers, school teachers, and jailers.”

The State of Texas is pushing back—taking issue with the EEOC’s approach of sue first and sort out later, which it says simply encourages disqualified applicants to file discrimination claims in situations where they are simply not qualified. Whether other states will jump into the fray remains to be seen.

The complaint itself asks the federal court for the following relief:

  • A declaratory judgment that the State of Texas and its agencies are entitled to maintain and enforce state laws and policies that absolutely bar convicted felons – or a certain category of convicted felons – from government employment;
  • A declaration that the EEOC cannot enforce its guidelines against the State of Texas – and an injunction that bars the EEOC from issuing right-to-sue letters to persons seeking to pursue this type of discrimination charge against the State of Texas or any of its agencies;
  • a judgment holding unlawful and setting aside the EEOC’s hiring guidelines.

I will be tracking this one closely—as will employers in Texas and across the US.

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Background Checks in Public Schools

In previous posts, we’ve often discussed the need for more comprehensive background checks in schools as well as a process that should be followed on a national level—not just school district to school district or state by state etc. This year alone, we’ve covered several stories on the EmployeeScreenIQ Blog involving new laws for both child care centers and schools.

Requirements for Background Checks in Schools

There is no standard of background checks for all schools in the United States to follow, nor are there federal laws that must be adhered. This results in many of the stories we hear—that teacher that was on the sex offender registry, yet worked for years in a middle school, or another who was convicted of sexual misconduct and worked with second graders. In any situation, the solution has been to step up background checks on employees in that particular school or school district, and in some instances on a state level. However, as we know, this has not been a true solution to the problem.

[...]

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Target to Ban the Box on Criminal Background Checks

In an effort to hire more ex-offenders, Minnesota-based Target Corporation has announced they are banning the box. The national retailer announced that it will be eliminating the box on the job application that asks the candidate about criminal history. Target Vice President, Jim Rowader announced that the new policy will go into effect for all U.S. applicants.

On May 13, 2013, the state of Minnesota passed a law expanding the state’s ban the box law to include private employers. The new law goes into effect January 1, 2014 and will prevent employers from conducting a criminal background check until later in the hiring process. For more details on the specifics of this law, read our post here. Target has decided to proactively take the step of implementing the policy on a national level, even though it is not required in most states.

In a report by Minneapolis Public Radio, Target is planning to work with a Minneapolis-based group Council on Crime and Justice to increase the company’s hiring of ex-offenders. In addition, Rowander announced the decision while participating as a panelist at a forum addressing unemployment among ex-offenders, organized by the advocacy group Take Action Minnesota.

[...]

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Adverse information on a background check

If you read the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) as much as I do (insert nerd joke here), you might know that it allows non-conviction criminal information to be reported for up to seven years. One question that occasionally comes up is, when does the clock start on the seven year count? According to a recent brief filed jointly by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) and the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), your count may be wrong. [...]

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You might recall that back in 2011 a federal judge ordered the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) to reimburse the staffing company, PeopleMark, for over $750,000 worth of legal fees and expert witness costs it incurred as a result of  overzealous prosecution tactics concerning their employment background check practices.

The premise of the case was the EEOC’s contention that PeopleMark automatically rejected candidates that had criminal records.  Even worse was that they ignored evidence that would have torpedoed their case. The EEOC put together a list of 286 applicants they said were denied employment based on PeopleMark’s blanket policy.  Evidently, they wouldn’t release the names of these applicants until they were compelled to do so by the court. When PeopleMark received the list, they discovered that 22% of these applicants with criminal records were actually hired.  They even notified the EEOC of this fact, yet the EEOC continued to pursue the case.

EEOC appealed the court’s ruling to the Sixth Circuit court and earlier this week [...]

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