ESR Newsletter and Legal Update

This newsletter is sent to clients of Employment Screening Resources (ESR) as
well as employers, HR and Security professionals and law
firms who have requested information on pre-employment screening, safe
hiring, the FCRA and legal compliance. If this was sent in
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September, 2003 Vol. 3, No. 9

www.ESRcheck.com


Employment
Screening Resources (ESR) Newsletter and Legal Update


1. Shocking New Study Shows 1 in 37 Americans Have Prison History

2. Screening Tool for Employers-Social Security Trace NOT an Official Government Record

3. New California Privacy Legislation will not Affect Pre-employment Screening

4. FCRA and Workplace Investigations: ESR Featured in Security Management Magazine Article from ASIS


1.
Shocking New Study Shows 1 in 37 Americans Have Prison History

About one in every 37
U.S. adults was either imprisoned at the end of 2001 or had been incarcerated
at one time, according to a new government report issued in August, 2003

The report found that 5.6 million people had
“prison experience” which represented about 2.7 percent of the adult
population of 210 million as of Dec. 31, 2001, the report found. The study by
the Justice Department Bureau of Justice Statistics looked at people who served
a sentence for a crime in state or federal prison. The study did not even include those who served time in local
county jails for misdemeanor violations or felony offenses where they received
probation and a county-time jail sentence.

The study is the first to measure the prevalence of prison time among
American adults. Last month, the bureau reported that a record 2.1 million
people were in federal, state or local custody at the end of 2002. The full
study is available at http://www.ojp.usdoj.gov/bjs/pub/press/piusp01pr.htm

The study underscores the fact
that, unless an employer takes some measure to protect their workplace, there
is a near statistical certainty that an employer will hire someone with a
criminal record that is relevant to the selection process. Every employer has a duty of due diligence
in hiring, which is violated if they hire someone they either knew, or reasonably
should have known
, was dangerous or unfit for a particular job.


2.
Screening Tool for Employers-Social Security Trace NOT an Official Government
Record

A standard tool used by pre-employment
screening firms is a “social security trace.” A Social Security Trace is a compilation of names and addresses
that are associated with social security numbers in data collected by national
credit bureaus. In addition, many
screening firms add a large number of other databases as part of the
search.

Many
employers mistakenly believe that these searches are an “official” review of
government records.
In fact, the only
governmental database that is included in these types of searches is the
national death record index that reflects if a social security number belongs
to a deceased individual.

The purpose of this type of search
is to gather information about a person’s past addresses and to help discover
any identity fraud. Past addresses are
critical because it helps employers determine where to search for criminal
records. Since there is not a national
criminal database available for private employers, and there are over 10,000
courthouses in America, a social security trace can help employers narrow down
the relevant courts to search.

Although these
reports can be helpful for identity purposes, they are not positive proof of
identity or the validity of a Social Security Number. There may be occasion
where there are names or addresses incorrectly associated with
a social security trace. This can occur for a variety of
reasons, such as clerical errors that occurred when information was entered
into the system. On occasion, there are
no names or addresses associated with a social security trace. This can
occur when a person has never applied for credit, so there is no history in the
credit bureau files, or the social security number does not belong to the
applicant.

The method for employers to
verify a Social Security Number, post-offer only, is to contact
the Social Security Administration. They will verify a social security number
to ensure that the records of employees are correct for the purpose of
completing Internal Revenue Service Forms W-2 (Wage and Tax Statement).

The
toll-free number for the Social Security Administration is 1-800-772-6270 and
their office hours are weekdays from 7:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. EST. An employer
will be asked for their company name and Employer Identification Number (EIN). More information is available at: http://www.ssa.gov/employer/ssnv.htm


3. New
California Privacy Legislation will not Affect Pre-employment Screening

In August 2003, California passed into law the Financial
Privacy Protection Act
(SB1), a measure designed to protect financial
privacy and to curb identity theft.

A review of the legislation indicates that it will not
affect pre-employment background screening performed by third party firms under
the federal Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA), or the California Investigative
Consumer Reporting Agencies Act (ICRAA).

Part of the advantage of
operating under the federal FCRA is that privacy rights of job applicants are
highly protected. Everything under the
FCRA is conducted pursuant to a written consent and disclosure, and consumers
have rights to obtain copies of their reports and to request
re-investigations. For more
information about background screening under the FCRA, see the ESR article “Complying with the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA)
in Four Easy Steps.”

http://www.esrcheck.com/articles/article.php?article_id=article9.html


4. FCRA and Workplace Investigations: ESR Featured in
Security Management Magazine Article from ASIS

The
September, 2003 issue of Security Management
Magazine
,
the official publication of the American Society for Industrial Security
(ASIS), featured an article on the Fair Credit Reporting Act by ESR President
and Attorney Lester S. Rosen:

FCRA’s Meaning Unveiled

The Fair Credit
Reporting Act continues to be interpreted by the courts, affecting how
corporate investigations should be conducted.

By Lester S. Rosen

For
information on the article, please contact ESR Sales and Marketing Director
Jared Callahan at 415-898-0044, or by e-mail at
jcallahan@ESRchech.com

Other
educational opportunities where ESR is participating includes:

November 12, 2003–Tampa, FL –Pre-employment
Screening, Safe Hiring and Homeland Security.”
Full-day
seminar on safe hiring and due diligence by ESR in conjunction
with the HR Screener, a new national publication on
pre-employment screening and safe hiring for HR professionals. Safety
Harbor Resort and Spa, Tampa, FL See the HR Screener>>>.

November 10, 2003- Tampa, FL-National Convention of Background Screening
Firms-“Legal Update– What Every Background Firm Needs To Know
About the FCRA and Laws Effecting Pre-Employment Screening.
” (For
background firm and record retrievers only). Details to be announced.

October 23, 2003–Chicago, IL –Pre-employment
Screening, Safe Hiring and Homeland Security.”
Full-day
seminar on safe hiring and due diligence by ESR in conjunction
with the HR Screener, a new national publication on
pre-employment screening and safe hiring for HR professionals. Ramada
Plaza Hotel, Rosemont, IL See the HR Screener>>>.

October 10, 2003-Dallas-Ft. Worth, TX-“The FCRA: Avoiding the
Traps
” Presented at the HR Southwest Annual Conference.
See http://www.hrsouthwest.com

September 30, 2003–Oakland, CA– “Safe Hiring
Audit-Implementing and Measuring Due Diligence in Your Hiring.”
Northern California Human Resources Association (NCHRA) Annual
Conference. (See www.NCHRA.org)

September 19, 2003–Los Angeles, CA–“Safe Hiring
Audit-Implementing and Measuring Due Diligence.”
2003
Professionals in Human Resources Association (PIHRA) Annual Conference.
(see www.PIHRA.org)

September, 2003“Pre-employment Screening and Safe
Hiring.”
Full-day seminars on safe hiring and due diligence
by ESR in conjunction with Lorman Educational Services in
California:

Sacramento 9/23

Stockton 9/26


Please feel free to
contact Jared Callahan at ESR at 415-898-0044
or jcallahan@esrcheck.com if
you have any questions or comments about the matters in this newsletter. Please
note that ESR’s statements about any legal matters are not
given or intended as legal advice.


Employment
Screening Resources (ESR)
 

www.ESRcheck.com

1620
Grant Avenue, Suite 7
 

Novato, CA 94945

415-898-0044

Employment Screening
Resources (ESR
)
Rated Top Background Screening Firm in First Independent Industry Study

http://www.ereleases.com/pr/2002-12-12e.html

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