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January 2005 Vol. 5, No. 1
Employment Screening Resources (ESR) Newsletter and Legal Update
1. California Places Sexual Offender List on the Web
1. California Places Sexual Offender List on the Web
Hot off the Press: A new California law is now in effect that permits the Attorney Generalâ€™s office to post detailed information on registered sex offenders on the Internet.
Under California’s Megan’s Law, certain sex offenders are required to register with local law enforcement, but the information was previously only available by personally visiting police stations and sheriffsâ€™ offices or by calling a 900 number.
The new California site can be accessed by going to http://meganslaw.ca.gov/index.htm
Although a valuable tool for employers, volunteer groups and the community, there are several notes of caution in using this database. A user must agree to a disclaimer that states:
Much of that information is gathered from persons who are required to register as sex offenders and to provide, at least once a year, their addresses and other information to local law enforcement. Because information can change quickly, and there may be gaps in data received, the California Department of Justice makes no representation, either express or implied, that the information on this site is complete or accurate.
The site also cautions that: The information on this web site is made available solely to protect the public. Anyone who uses this information to commit a crime or to harass an offender or his or her family is subject to criminal prosecution and civil liability.
Sexual offender lists can be inaccurate or incomplete for a number of reasons. Not all sexual offenders register as required by law or update their current address. A news story reported in 2003 claimed that California law enforcement had lost track of approximately 39% of sexual offenders on the list.
In addition, the internet version of Californiaâ€™s Meganâ€™s law list excludes approximately 25% of registered sex offenders from public disclosure by law. Even those on the internet version can apply for an opt-out under certain circumstances.
The bottom line is that as with any criminal records database, the internet version of Californiaâ€™s Meganâ€™s Law can be an extremely valuable secondary or supplemental tool, but should be used with caution and in conjunction with other safe hiring tools as well.
A detailed discussion of sexual offender databases are contained in, â€œThe Safe Hiring Manual-The Complete Guide to Keeping Criminals, Terrorists and Imposters out of Your Workplace,â€ by Les Rosen, President of ESR.
For any questions about the new summaries, contact Jared Callahan at 415-898-0044 or mailto:jcallahan@ESRcheck.com
2. New Illinois Law Seals Some Non-Violent Felony Records to Help Ex-Offenders Get Employed
A new Illinois law effective 2005 allows for the sealing of certain non-violent felonies in order to ease re-entry into society by helping ex-offenders get jobs without being hindered by a criminal record.
According to one legislator quoted in a press story: â€œIt costs us more than $25,000 a year to send someone to prison. Helping people reintegrate into society doesnâ€™t just help the individuals. It helps the state. People with jobs will be less likely to turn to crime, which mean fewer people in prison.â€
Another supported noted that, â€œMost Chicago ex-offenders return to high-crime and low-employment communities. This leads to difficulties not only for the ex-offender themselves but contributes to neighborhood deterioration. Easing their transition back to pubic life will improve neighborhoods and the city as a whole.â€
The new law allows law enforcement to access the records, and the records can still be utilized for certain high-risk occupations, such as childcare work or driving a school bus. It also calls for a study of recidivism rates among those who had their records sealed.
Under Equal Employment Opportunity law, employers must have a business justification for denying employment based upon a criminal record, taking into account the nature and gravity of the offense, the nature of the job and when the offense occurred.
3. New Free Interview Generator Tool Available to Employers
ESR has released a new free Interview Generator tool for employers. It is available at http://www.esrcheck.com/Interviewgenerator.php
The Interview Generator helps employers to create customized question sets that can be printed out and used during an interview. An employer can also create sets of questions for each position, choosing from general sample questions listed or generating their own questions. Each interview set can be saved in WORD and can be customized by each employer.
The structured interview form can be broken into six separate sections, including: general questions about the applicant, questions about the particular job, behavior and attitude questions, employment history, security questions and follow-up questions.
Using a “structured interview” helps employers ask permissible questions in a consistent fashion for all applicants for a particular position. An employer should only choose those questions that are valid predictors of job performance for a particular position.
The Interview Generator also allows employers to select the five critical interview questions that ESR recommends be asked at every interview. These questions focus in on the essential safe hiring issues, including criminal records, employment history and credentials and unexplained employment gaps.
4. ESR Seminars
ESR is pleased to announce the publication of the first definitive book on pre-employment screening and safe hiring. The book, The Safe Hiring Manual-the Complete Guide to Keeping Criminals, Terrorists and Imposters Out of Your Workplace, is by ESR President Lester S. Rosen. The 512 pages cover only pre-employment background checks and safe hiring. It is available from Amazon.com, Borders, Barnes and Noble and numerous other bookstores.
ESR will be participating in the following seminars across the United States.
April 25, 2005–Little Rock, AR “Background Screening and Higher Education: Special Issues involving Background Screening and Due Diligence in the Educational Environment.” Annual Conference for the Southwest Region for the College and University Professional Association for Human Resources (CUPA-HR). CUPA HR
April 21 and 22, 2005–Dallas, TX “Criminals, Imposters and Recruiting – The Role of Pre-employment Screening in the Hiring Process.” SRHM 36th Annual Employment Management Association Conference and Exposition (EMA website).
March 3, 2005–Aptos, CA “Are You Ready to Hire?” Things are starting to look up, so come in for a tune-up. This half-day seminar will cover everything you need to know in order to hire successfully! Speakers: Janett Spirer, Humanex, Inc. and Les Rosen, Employment Screening Resources (ESR). Sponsored by the Santa Cruz EAC-Aptos Seascape Golf Club event room.
February 23, 2005–San Francisco, CA “Keeping Imposters and Criminals Out of the Workplace–An Introduction to Safe Hiring and Pre-employment Screening in California.” (A three hour workshop for HR professionals and employers sponsored by the NCHRA–www.nchra.org)
February 9, 2005–San Jose, CA “Keeping Imposters and Criminals Out of the Workplace–An Introduction to Safe Hiring and Pre-employment Screening in California.” (A three hour workshop sponsored by the NCHRA-www.nchra.org)
Contact ESR for further details.
Employment Screening Resources (ESR)
1620 Grant Avenue, Suite 7
Novato, CA 94945