Yearly Archives: 2010

Employment Screening Resources (ESR) President Lester Rosen to Speak at 2010 Pre-employment Screeners Conference to be Held in Florida from November 7-10

By Thomas Ahearn, ESR News Blog

Safe hiring expert Lester Rosen, founder and President of Employment Screening Resources (ESR), the company that literally wrote the book on background checks, will be the keynote speaker at the 2010 Pre-employment Screeners Conference to be held at the Sheraton Sand Key Hotel in Clearwater, Florida from Sunday, November 7, 2010 to Wednesday, November 10, 2010.

Rosen – an attorney at law and author of “The Safe Hiring Manual – How To Keep Criminals, Terrorists, and Imposters Out of Your Workplace,” the first comprehensive guide to background checks – will speak about “Trends, Legal Developments and Best Practices for Due Diligence in Hiring and Employment Screening Background Checks” as part of an all-Star panel of nationally known attorneys and leading pre-employment screening industry experts.
 
For more information about this conference for both pre-employment screeners and Human Resources (HR) Professionals, visit http://thebackgroundinvestigator.com/Conferences/clearwaterProgram.asp.

Topics of discussion for the 2010 Pre-employment Screeners Conference include:

  • The Art of Access to Public Records
  • Becoming a Category of One
  • Ding Happens! How to Quickly Make the Most of Whatever Life Throws at You!
  • Industry Update- What a Year!
  • Using Facebook, MySpace and Other Social Networks for Pre-employment Screening
  • International updates
  • 5 Billion Versus 1: How to Stay Safe in a Dangerous World – Hacking 101
  • Background Checks Today From the Eyes of an Expert Witness

Founded in 1996 in the San Francisco area, Employment Screening Resources (ESR) is dedicated to promoting a safe workplace for both employers and employees. ESR was rated the top U.S. employment screening firm in the first independent study of the industry. The National Association of Professional Background Screeners (NAPBS®) Background Screening Credentialing Council (BSCC) formally recognizes Employment Screening Resources as BSCC Accredited by successfully proving compliance with the Background Screening Agency Accreditation Program (BSAAP). For more information about Employment Screening Resources (ESR), please visit http://www.ESRcheck.com.

Contract Worker Arrested for Disorderly Conduct after Incident at Elementary School in South Carolina

By Thomas Ahearn, ESR News Blog

A story from Greenwood County, South Carolina shows why background checks should be run on all workers with access to schools, including contractors and sub-contractors, and not just full time employees.

According to a report on the News Channel 7 website at WSPA.com, a contract worker at a Greenwood County, S.C. school was arrested for disorderly conduct when he allegedly yelled and cursed at police after students complained about his behavior. According to a police report, students at the school claimed the accused man made sexual gestures and asked the children to give him a hug.

The 22-year-old man – a subcontractor working at the school – was charged with public disorderly conduct for allegedly cursing at deputies and school officials while they kicked him off campus.

In their report, News Channel 7 learned that, according to a South Carolina Law Enforcement Division (SLED) background check, the man had been accused with sexual misconduct with a child under the age of 16 and sexual misconduct with a child under the age of 11. Although not convicted on those charges, the man had been convicted of aggravated assault.

Contract workers at schools in South Carolina are not required to submit to any kind of background checks since they are not employed by the state.

However, there are background check rules in place for school workers, according to information provided by the South Carolina Department of Education:

  • All school employees must have a SLED check.
  • Teachers and other certified positions must have SLED and FBI fingerprint checks done.
  • Volunteers must be checked on sexual predator web site.
  • Contract workers are not required to submit to any sort of background since they are not employed by the state.

To ensure a safe workplace (which can include schools), employers following best practices guidelines should run background checks on all employees – from full-time to part-time and from contractors to sub-contractors.

For more information on background checks, visit Employment Screening Resources (ESR) at http://www.ESRcheck.com.

Employment Screening Resources (ESR) literally wrote the book on background checks with ‘The Safe Hiring Manual’ by ESR founder and President Lester Rosen. ESR is recognized as Background Screening Credentialing Council (BSCC) Accredited by the National Association of Professional Background Screeners (NAPBS®) for proving compliance with the Background Screening Agency Accreditation Program (BSAAP). For more information about Employment Screening Resources, visit http://www.ESRcheck.com.

Source:
http://www2.wspa.com/news/2010/oct/28/6/contract-workers-accused-trying-lure-students-ar-1023276/

Senator Sends Letters to Social Networking Sites Facebook and MySpace after Wall Street Journal Reports Privacy Breach

By Thomas Ahearn, ESR News Blog

Senator John D. (Jay) Rockefeller IV, Chairman of the U.S. Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation, has sent letters to the heads of two popular social networking sites – Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg and MySpace President Michael Jones – requesting more information about privacy breaches recently reported in the Wall Street Journal (WSJ), according to a press release from the Senator that includes the text of both letters.

Senator Rockefeller states in both letters that he is troubled by a recent Wall Street Journal investigation report that revealed the practice of Facebook, MySpace, and affiliated applications (or “apps”) transferring user IDs and user personal information to marketing firms, tracking companies, and third-party advertisers without their knowledge. As reported by the WSJ:

  • Third-party applications have transferred Facebook users’ personal information to marketing firms, data brokers and tracking companies. This violates Facebook’s explicitly stated privacy policy.
  • MySpace has shared user IDs with third-party advertisers. This has happened after users clicked on advertisements or accessed affiliated third-party applications.

Senator Rockefeller is quoted in the press release saying that these reports “raise serious questions about social networking sites’ commitment to enforcing their own privacy policies on behalf of consumers” and that, as Chairman of the Senate Commerce Committee, he intends to “find out whether today’s social networking sites are adequately protecting their users’ personal information.”

In the letter to Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, Senator Rockefeller requests answers – with specificity – to the following questions:

  • 1) How does Facebook enforce its Privacy Policy relating to affiliated application operators and websites? What logistical protocols are in place to promote maximum compliance? What resources, including the number of personnel, does Facebook dedicate to monitoring and enforcing application operators’ compliance with its Privacy Policy?
  • 2) What penalties does Facebook impose on application operators and websites that violate the company’s Privacy Policy? Are offending application operators allowed to continue to do business with Facebook?
  • 3) Does Facebook take steps to retrieve information from application operators found in violation of the company’s Privacy Policy?
  • 4) The Journal article quotes a Facebook official that asserts the company has “taken steps… to significantly limit RapLeaf’s ability to use any Facebook-related data.” What exactly does this mean?
  • 5) According to the Journal article, there appears to be a pattern of privacy infractions involving Facebook applications. Specifically, what other past problems has Facebook encountered with regard to applications, and what steps did Facebook take to rectify them? Are these applications still available on Facebook’s platform?
  • 6) To the extent that personal data has been shared in violation of Facebook’s Privacy Policy, what steps has Facebook taken to notify individual users as to the specific information that has been mishandled, and who has had access to that information?

In the letter to MySpace President Michael Jones, Senator Rockefeller requests answers – again, with specificity – to the following questions:

  • 1) Why does MySpace’s Privacy Policy place the responsibility on Members to control their personal information when interacting with affiliated apps and advertisers, when other social networking sites have more restrictive policies that better protect consumer privacy?
  • 2) Why does MySpace’s Privacy Policy assert that the company “does not control” and “cannot dictate” the actions of third-party applications on how they retrieve and use Members’ information when other social networking sites impose limits on the use of such information?
  • 3) The definition of PII is very narrow and does not capture a range of consumer information – such as user IDs – that could be used to identify MySpace Members. Please explain the rationale behind this narrow definition of PII and how it differs from personal information that is considered non-PII.
  • 4) How does MySpace reconcile the explicit terms of its own Privacy Policy with the Journal’s report that the company “had pledged to discontinue the practice of sending personal data” to ad networks and similarly prohibited third-party application operators from doing so?
  • 5) If MySpace has publicly pledged to prohibit such information transfers, how has this prohibition been enforced and what plans does MySpace have in place to effectively enforce its policy in the future?

The protection of Personally Identifiable Information (PII) of individuals – such as names, birthdates, addresses, identification such as Social Security Numbers (SSN) and driver’s licenses, and financial data – should be reflected in the Privacy Policy of every company.

Employment Screening Resources (ESR) does not re-sell or “offshore” Personally Identifiable Information (PII) of individuals and all domestic background checks are performed exclusively in the United States. Once Personally Identifiable Information is offshored and leaves the U.S., the PII is beyond the reach of U.S. privacy laws. A large number of background screening firms have also taken a position against offshoring Personally Identifiable Information at http://www.concernedcras.com/no_offshoring.htm.

For more information about Employment Screening Resources (ESR), visit http://www.ESRcheck.com.

Employment Screening Resources (ESR) literally wrote the book on background checks with ‘The Safe Hiring Manual’ by ESR founder and President Lester Rosen. ESR is recognized as Background Screening Credentialing Council (BSCC) Accredited by the National Association of Professional Background Screeners (NAPBS®) for proving compliance with the Background Screening Agency Accreditation Program (BSAAP). For more information about Employment Screening Resources, visit http://www.ESRcheck.com.

Source:
http://commerce.senate.gov/public/index.cfm?p=PressReleases&ContentRecord_id=c26b5c34-cf19-4d8a-93aa-d9a29b749337

Ohio Supreme Court Rules School Employees with Criminal Pasts Revealed in Background Checks can Be Fired

The Ohio Supreme Court has upheld the constitutionality of a state law that requires the dismissal of school employees with serious criminal convictions in their pasts, according to a story from The Plain Dealer on Cleveland.com.

The Ohio Supreme court said in issuing a 5-2 decision that the law can continue to be applied to employees or applicants whose criminal history is revealed through background checks.

Eight months after the law took effect prohibiting districts from employing people with felony convictions after November 14, 2007, a background check on an unnamed Cincinnati school district employee (named “John Doe” in the ensuing lawsuit) turned up a drug-trafficking conviction from 1976. Doe was fired, as the law mandated, even though the conviction occurred 21 years before he was initially hired by the school district, the Plain Dealer reports.

The new law had extended the background check requirement to non-teaching school employees like secretaries, janitors and mechanics whereas only teachers had to pass background checks previously. 

The fired man, Doe, brought a suit challenging the law, arguing that the law was unconstitutionally retroactive since it was based on his conduct before he was employed by the district, but the law prohibited districts from employing people with felony convictions after November 14, 2007, and the “disqualifying background check” happened after that date. A summary of the court’s decision can be viewed at: http://www.supremecourt.ohio.gov/PIO/summaries/2010/1026/092104.asp.

The Ohio Department of Education has since issued more specific rules outlining how the law should be enforced, including considering crimes that happened more than 10 years in the past showing rehabilitation and leaving the decision up to the district.

The Plain Dealer also reports that twenty-three employees of the Cleveland school district lost their jobs because of the law, according to a spokeswoman.

For more information about pre-employment background checks, please visit Employment Screening Resources (ESR) at http://www.ESRcheck.com.

Employment Screening Resources (ESR) literally wrote the book on background checks with ‘The Safe Hiring Manual’ by ESR founder and President Lester Rosen. ESR is recognized as Background Screening Credentialing Council (BSCC) Accredited by the National Association of Professional Background Screeners (NAPBS®) for proving compliance with the Background Screening Agency Accreditation Program (BSAAP). For more information about Employment Screening Resources, visit http://www.ESRcheck.com.

Sources:
http://blog.cleveland.com/metro/2010/10/ohio_supreme_court_rules_schoo.html
http://www.supremecourt.ohio.gov/PIO/summaries/2010/1026/092104.asp

Connecticut Receiving $2 Million in Federal Funds for Caregiver Background Checks to Protect Elderly and Disabled

By Thomas Ahearn, ESR News Blog

Connecticut Governor M. Jodi Rell has announced that the state is receiving a $2 million federal health care grant to design a comprehensive caregiver background check program for employees of nursing homes and other long-term care agencies to further strengthen protections for elderly and disabled residents.

According to a news release from the Governor, Connecticut is one of six states to receive the federal grant through the Affordable Care Act to bolster protection of nursing home residents with caregiver background checks. The background check program will help identify whether job seekers have any kind of criminal history or other disqualifying information that could make them unsuitable to work directly with residents.

Governor Rell stated that the funds “will allow Connecticut to have one of the most comprehensive background checks in the nation.” The Connecticut state Departments of Public Health (DPH) and Public Safety (DPS) will work together on the initiative.

The new law set aside $160 million for the program, which is to run through September 2012. The other five states awarded grants in addition for Connecticut are Alaska, Delaware, Florida, Missouri, and Rhode Island. 

The national background check for each prospective direct patient care employee will include a history search of both state and federal criminal records, abuse and neglect registries, and databases such as the Nurse Aide Registry. Long-term care facilities or providers covered under the new program include:

  • Nursing facilities,
  • Home health agencies,
  • Hospice providers,
  • Long-term care hospitals,
  • Intermediate care facilities for persons with mental retardation,
  • Adult day care, and
  • Personal care assistants.

For more information about caregiver background checks, visit Employment Screening Resources (ESR) at http://www.ESRcheck.com.

Employment Screening Resources (ESR) literally wrote the book on background checks with ‘The Safe Hiring Manual’ by ESR founder and President Lester Rosen. ESR is recognized as Background Screening Credentialing Council (BSCC) Accredited by the National Association of Professional Background Screeners (NAPBS®) for proving compliance with the Background Screening Agency Accreditation Program (BSAAP). For more information about Employment Screening Resources, visit http://www.ESRcheck.com.

Source:
http://www.ct.gov/governorrell/cwp/view.asp?A=3872&Q=467624

New Poll Shows Two Out of Three Americans Feel At Risk for Identity Theft

By Thomas Ahearn, ESR News Blog

A September 2010 web poll from the National Foundation for Credit Counseling (NFCC) testing the attitudes of Americans toward identity theft revealed that 66 percent – or two out of three people – of more than 1,300 respondents felt at risk for identity theft.

In an October NFCC press release, a spokesperson for the NFCC stated that in recent years “identity theft has claimed more than 10 million victims per year, and has been the top complaint to the Federal Trade Commission for the last five years in a row.”

According to the press release, the actual survey question – “Q: I don’t think I’m at risk of being a victim of identity theft because…” – and multiple choice results from the poll are as follows:

  • A. Identity theft is on the decline = 1%
  • B. My credit card company has systems in place that protect me = 9%
  • C. I don’t carry my Social Security card in my wallet = 10%
  • D. I never open emails from unknown sources = 15%
  • E. I do think I am at risk of ID theft = 66%

The NFCC’s September Financial Literacy Opinion Index was conducted via the homepage of the NFCC Web site at http://www.debtadvice.org/ from September 1 to September 30, 2010 and answered by 1,352 individuals.

To help meet the need of identity theft protection education, the NFCC – the nation’s largest and longest serving national nonprofit credit counseling organization – and the Council of Better Business Bureaus (CBBB) joined together to host Protect Your Identity Week (PYIW) from October 17 to October 23, 2010 (http://www.protectyouridnow.org/).

The 2010 Identity Fraud Survey Report by Javelin Strategy & Research found that the number of identity theft and fraud victims in the United States increased 12 percent to affect 11.1 million adults in 2009, while the total annual fraud amount in the country increased by 12.5 percent to $54 billion.

To read more posts from the Employment Screening Resources (ESR) News Blog tagged ‘Identity Theft,” visit http://www.esrcheck.com/wordpress/tag/identity-theft/.

Employment Screening Resources (ESR) literally wrote the book on background checks with ‘The Safe Hiring Manual’ by ESR founder and President Lester Rosen. ESR is recognized as Background Screening Credentialing Council (BSCC) Accredited by the National Association of Professional Background Screeners (NAPBS®) for proving compliance with the Background Screening Agency Accreditation Program (BSAAP). For more information about Employment Screening Resources, visit http://www.ESRcheck.com.

Sources:
http://www.nfcc.org/newsroom/newsreleases/files10/FLOI_SeptemberResults.pdf
http://www.esrcheck.com/wordpress/2010/04/01/study-finds-identity-theft-and-fraud-increased-12-percent-in-2009-affecting-over-11-million-americans/

WSJ Investigation Finds Facebook in Privacy Breach with Personally Identifiable Information (PII) of Users

 By Thomas Ahearn, ESR News Blog

A recent Wall Street Journal (WSJ) investigation (see WSJ article ‘Facebook in Privacy Breach’) has found many of the most popular “apps” (applications) on the world’s most popular social networking site, Facebook.com, have been transmitting Personally Identifiable Information (PII) of tens of millions of users – such as names and names of friends – to advertising and Internet tracking companies.

After a WSJ investigation showed that personal IDs were being transmitted to third parties via “apps” – pieces of software that let Facebook’s more than 500 million users play games or share common interests with one another – a Facebook spokesman said the social networking site would take steps to “dramatically limit” the exposure of the PII of users. The WSJ found that all of the 10 most popular apps on Facebook were transmitting PII. 

According to the WSJ investigation, the information transmitted – the unique “Facebook ID” number assigned to every user on the site –is a public part of any Facebook profile that anyone can use to look up names of users even if they have set their Facebook information to be private. For those profiles set to share information with “everyone,” the Facebook ID reveals data including age, residence, job occupation, and photos.

As defined on Wikipedia.com, “Personally Identifiable Information (PII), as used in information security, refers to information that can be used to uniquely identify, contact, or locate a single person or can be used with other sources to uniquely identify a single individual. The abbreviation PII is widely accepted, but the phrase it abbreviates has four common variants based on personal, personally, identifiable, and identifying. Not all are equivalent, and for legal purposes the effective definitions vary depending on the jurisdiction and the purposes for which the term is being used.”

In addition, Personally Identifiable Information “has become much more important as information technology and the Internet have made it easier to collect PII, leading to a profitable market in collecting and reselling PII. PII can also be exploited by criminals to stalk or steal the identity of a person, or to plan a person’s murder or robbery, among other crimes. As a response to these threats, many web site privacy policies specifically address the collection of PII, and lawmakers have enacted a series of legislation to limit the distribution and accessibility of PII.”

According to Wikipedia, the following are often used for the express purpose of distinguishing individual identity, and thus are clearly PII under the definition used by the U.S. Office of Management and Budget:

  • Full name (if not common)
  • National identification number
  • IP address (in some cases)
  • Vehicle registration plate
  • Driver’s license number
  • Face, fingerprints, or handwriting
  • Credit card number
  • Digital identity
  • Birthday
  • Birthplace
  • Genetic information

The following are less often used to distinguish individual identity, because they are traits shared by many people. However, they are potentially PII, because they may be combined with other personal information to identify an individual.

  • First or last name, if common
  • Country, state, or city of residence
  • Age, especially if non-specific
  • Gender or race
  • Name of the school they attend or workplace
  • Grades, salary, or job position
  • Criminal record

For more information about PII, please visit Employment Screening Resources (ESR) News Blog for posts tagged ‘personally identifiable information’ at: http://www.ESRcheck.com/wordpress/tag/personally-identifiable-information/

For more information about background checks, visit Employment Screening Resources (ESR) at http://www.ESRcheck.com.

Sources:

http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052702304772804575558484075236968.html

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Personally_identifiable_information

EEOC Public Meeting Explores Use of Credit Histories of Job Applicants for Employment Background Screening

By Thomas Ahearn, ESR News Blog

According to a press release from the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), the EEOC held a public Commission meeting on Wednesday, October 20 to hear testimony from representatives of various groups, social scientists, and the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) on the growing use of credit histories of job applicants as selection criteria during employment background screening.

The EEOC Chair commented that the discussion provided important input into EEOC’s work to ensure that “the workplace is made free of all barriers to equal opportunity.” She also said that as a result of high unemployment forcing more people into the job market, an increasing number of job applicants are exposed to employment background screening tools such as credit checks that could unfairly exclude them from job opportunities. 

The Commission heard from a diverse set of experts, including one from the National Consumer Law Center (NCLC) who expressed concerns that the use of credit histories creates a “Catch-22” situation for job applicants during the current period of high unemployment and high foreclosures, both of which have negative impacts on credit. Others explained using credit histories for employment purposes can have a disparate impact on protected groups, including people of color, women, and the disabled. 

Representatives from the business community – including the U.S. Chamber of Commerce (USCC) and the Society for Human Resources Management (SHRM) – told the Commission that the use of credit histories is permissible by law, limited in scope, and predictive in certain situations of reliability. A recent survey from SHRM revealed that 13 percent of organizations conduct credit checks on all job candidates and another 47 percent consider credit history for selected jobs. Also, it is the experience of SHRM member companies that few organizations utilize credit histories for every job opening. 

However, an industrial psychologist said that there is little research exploring the implications of using credit checks in the employment context and – given the potential for discriminatory exclusion – he concluded that it would be wise to use an applicant’s credit history only within the context of a thorough background check.

The statements of all the panelists at the meeting, along with their biographies, can be found on the EEOC website at http://www.eeoc.gov/eeoc/meetings/10-20-10/index.cfm. A complete transcript of the testimony will be posted later.

For more information about employment background checks, visit Employment Screening Resources (ESR) at http://www.ESRcheck.com.

Sources:
http://www.eeoc.gov/eeoc/newsroom/release/10-20-10b.cfm
http://www.eeoc.gov/eeoc/meetings/10-20-10/index.cfm

New Research Finds Companies Using Employment Background Screening Experience 60 Percent Better Quality of Hire Compared to Companies without Screening

By Thomas Ahearn, ESR News Blog

A recently published new study on employment background screening has found that organizations using automated tools for background checking, employment and education verification, and reference checking experienced 60 percent better quality of hire compared to those without employment background screening solutions in place.

The new report from Aberdeen Group, a Harte-Hanks Company – “Employment Screening: Mitigating Risk, Driving Down Cost” (September 2010) – is based on over 400 survey respondents to Aberdeen’s 2010 Talent Acquisition Strategies study and looks at the components of employment background screening that are most widely used and how these components impact hiring performance.

The report found that employment background screening is fundamental to best-in-class performance. When asked what kinds of technology they currently used as part of their talent acquisition process, over three-quarters (78 percent) of survey respondents cited the use of employment background screening solutions. The report also found that companies using employment background screening were 43 percent more likely to achieve “Best-in-Class” companies, which Aberdeen Group defines as the top 20 percent of performers along the following categories:

  • First year retention of hires.
  • Percentage of new-hires that were the top-choice candidate.
  • Average year-over-year decrease in time-to-fill vacant positions.

Overall, the research revealed that among Best-in-Class companies the most utilized employment screening technology was employment background screening, with 83 percent using employment screening such as background checks and drug testing.

As for the most common aspects and elements of an employment background screening solution, the Aberdeen Group found that out of all of the survey respondents:

  • 88 percent performed domestic criminal background checks.
  • 87 percent performed previous employment/education verification.
  • 72 percent performed reference checking.
  • 60 percent performed drug screening.

The use of employment background screening has shown an impact on overall quality of hire, with an increase of 7 percent year-over-year for organizations using employment background screening as compared to a 5 percent average increase among those that did not use employment background screening.

The need for criminal background checks and employment and education verifications is key when it comes to risk inherent in hiring, the Aberdeen Group survey found, since even seemingly ideal candidates may have issues unearthed via background checks that make them undesirable for hiring and prospective employees may be included to stretch the truth about their educational backgrounds or previous employment in the current ultra-competitive job market.

The Aberdeen Group survey also shows these two employment background screening elements – criminal background checks and employment/education verifications – are even more important in the financial services, healthcare, and public sector environments:

  • Financial services: 93 percent performed criminal background checks and 97 percent performed employment/education verifications.
  • Healthcare: 94 percent performed criminal background checks and 94 percent performed employment/education verifications.
  • Public sector: 100 percent performed criminal background checks and 83 percent performed employment/education verifications.

Lastly, when it comes to selecting a partner for providing employment background screening, the Aberdeen Group survey found that the speed with which the process was completed (62 percent of respondents) and the accuracy of the results (54 percent of respondents) were far and away the top criteria.

For more information on employment background screening, visit Employment Screening Resources (ESR) at http://www.ESRcheck.com.

Sources:

http://www.aberdeen.com/link/sponsor.asp?spid=30410182&cid=6812&camp=2

http://www.marketwatch.com/story/new-research-links-employment-screening-to-recruiting-performance-2010-10-19?reflink=MW_news_stmp

Hot Off the Press: EEOC To Hear Testimony on Employer Use of Credit Reports as Background Screening Tool at Open Meeting on October 20

By Thomas Ahearn, ESR News Blog

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) has announced it will hold a meeting Wednesday, October 20, 2010 to hear testimony about employer use of credit reports as a background screening tool and to investigate the practice of using credit histories as employment screening devices.

According to various news releases and news reports, some of the testimony aims to clear up some common misperceptions about the use of employment credit reports by employers, including a common misperception that employment credit reports include a credit score.

The House Financial Services Committee conducted a hearing in September to discuss the Equal Employment for All Act (H.R. 3149), a bill aimed at severely limiting the use of credit checks on employees that would amend the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) to make it unlawful to discriminate against job applicants based on consumer credit reports. The Equal Employment for All Act would make it unlawful to base adverse-employment decisions against job applicants and current employees on consumer credit reports.

The EEOC last held a meeting on credit checks in 2007. No action was taken. The meeting on Wednesday, October 20, 2010 will be held at 9:30 A.M. Eastern Time in the Commission Meeting Room on the First Floor of the EEOC Office Building, 131 “M” Street, NE, Washington, D.C.

The Employment Screening Resources (ESR) News Blog has several previous posts dealing with the issue of employers using employment credit reports during background screening. As reported before on the ESR News Blog, several states have already passed laws restricting the use of credit checks in hiring: 

ESR has long taken the position that employers should proceed with caution with using applicant and employee credit histories in the background screening process and not use employment credit reports unless they can clearly articulate a business justification, which normally means that that the job applicants or current employees have or will hold “sensitive” positions in which they may handle money or have access to personal data.

ESR also co-authorized a white paper with LexisNexis, “The Use of Credit Reports
in Employment Background Screening – An Overview for Job Applicants,”
on the protections applicants have when it comes to credit reports and the fact that credit reports do not contain credit scores. To read the white paper, visit: http://www.napbs.com/files/public/Consumer_Education/Credit_Reports_for_Background_Screening.pdf

For more information about background checks, visit Employment Screening Resources (ESR) at http://www.ESRcheck.com.

Sources:
http://www.eeoc.gov/eeoc/meetings/next.cfm
http://www.businesswire.com/news/home/20101019005748/en/EEOC-Discuss-Employer-Credit-History-Screening-Tool
http://www.washingtonexaminer.com/local/blogs/capital-land/eeoc-looking-at-practice-of-credit-checks-screening-105215569.html
http://www.govtrack.us/congress/bill.xpd?bill=h111-3149
http://www.napbs.com/files/public/Consumer_Education/Credit_Reports_for_Background_Screening.pdf