The use – and, in some cases, misuse – of criminal background checks of job applicants by employers, a practice which has come under greater scrutiny of the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), has topped the fifth annual Employment Screening Resources ‘Top 10 Trends in Background Checks’ for 2012. For the past five years, Attorney Lester Rosen, founder and CEO of Employment Screening Resources (ESR) – ‘The Background Check Authority(SM)’ and nationwide background screening firm accredited by the National Association of Professional Background Screeners (NAPBS®) – has compiled a list featuring emerging and influential trends in employment screening background checks for employers.
“Although the EEOC’s concern over criminal background checks of applicants was the number one trend for 2012, employers need to be aware of several other developments, including the increased regulations of credit report checks, the controversial use of social media background checks, and screening automation leading to both increased efficiency and risks,” says Rosen, a recognized background check expert and author of ‘The Safe Hiring Manual,’ a comprehensive employment screening guide for employers. For 2012, Rosen has selected the following Ten Top Trends in Background Checks:
With a recent survey showing nine out of ten employers conduct criminal background checks on some or all job candidates, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) held a public meeting in July 2011 examining the use of arrest and conviction records by employers for criminal background checks to determine if the practice was an unfair and discriminatory hiring barrier to job seeking ex-offenders. The EEOC’s actions, coupled with the growing “Ban the Box” movement seeking to remove the criminal history question from job applications, shows that employer use of criminal records is under fire now more than ever. Read more about Trend Number 1 of the Employment Screening Resources Top 10 Trends in Background Checks for 2012.
In recent years, several U.S. states have passed laws regulating the use of employment credit reports of job applicants and current employees that have impacted the way employers conduct background checks. Seven states – California, Connecticut, Hawaii, Illinois, Maryland, Oregon, and Washington – currently have laws that limit the use of credit report checks by employers for employment purposes, with the most recent law, California Assembly Bill 22 (CA AB 22), taking effect January 1, 2012. Other states, and the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), are considering further restrictions on credit checks by employers. Read more about Trend Number 2 of the Employment Screening Resources Top 10 Trends in Background Checks for 2012.
Employers and recruiters have discovered a treasure trove of information about potential job applicants on social media sites such as Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter, and so-called ‘social media background checks’ are becoming more popular and prevalent than ever. However, the use of social media background checks for job applicants has become controversial and can present legal risks. Failure to utilize social media resources can arguably be the basis of a negligent hiring claim if an unfit person was hired for a position where a search of the internet may have raised a “red flag.” Conversely, employers face numerous landmines and pitfalls that can include that include privacy, discrimination, and accuracy issues. Lawsuits and developments in this area will likely be an ongoing topic in 2012. Read more about Trend Number 3 of the Employment Screening Resources Top 10 Trends in Background Checks for 2012.
In recent years, employment background screening has gone from a costly and time consuming task reserved for selected job applicants to an increasingly automated and technology driven business necessity in a global economy where employers expect fast, accurate, and inexpensive results from screening providers. However, both employers and background screeners are finding with increased efficiency comes increased risks, especially when it comes to the use of unfiltered information going directly to employers from criminal database or inaccurate information obtained by “screen scrapping or automated robotic searches.” Read more about Trend Number 4 of the Employment Screening Resources Top 10 Trends in Background Checks for 2012.
When the National Association of Professional Background Screeners (NAPBS®) was formed in 2003 as a professional trade association for the background screening industry, the idea of an accreditation process was a central driving force in order to demonstrate that background screening was a professional endeavor. Currently, NAPBS accreditation is quickly becoming a requirement of many employers when considering a background screening provider since it is the only practical means of third party verification of the professionalism and competency of a particular screening firm. Read more about Trend Number 5 of the Employment Screening Resources Top 10 Trends in Background Checks for 2012.
A 2011 report from Europe’s leading background screening firm revealed an astounding 48 percent increase worldwide in the number of known fake diploma mills in the previous year, and the number of what the report describes as “largely online entities whose degrees are worthless due to the lack of valid accreditation and recognition” is likely to increase in the coming year as desperate job applicants knowingly – and unknowingly – do business with companies that offer fake degrees and false credentials for a price. Read more about Trend Number 6 of the Employment Screening Resources Top 10 Trends in Background Checks for 2012.
Consumers and attorneys are looking more closely at background check reports and laws governing employment screening and filing more lawsuits against employers. On one hand, employers are being sued by victims that alleged the employer failed to perform adequate screening. On the other, employers and background screening firms also face lawsuits from job applicants complaining about the accuracy of background reports, or failure to meet the guidelines of the federal Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA). In a number of cases, class action suits are being utilized as the vehicle to bring legal actions against employers. Read more about Trend Number 7 of the Employment Screening Resources Top 10 Trends in Background Checks for 2012.
While federal law mandates that federal contractors and subcontractors in all states must use the otherwise voluntary electronic employment eligibility verification system known as E-Verify, several U.S. states – including Alabama, Arizona, California, Georgia, and North Carolina – recently enacted laws mandating the use (or non-use) of E-verify, a free web-based system that allows employers to verify the legal work authorization status of newly hired employees, creating a complex and confusing web of laws and regulations. Read more about Trend Number 8 of the Employment Screening Resources Top 10 Trends in Background Checks for 2012.
A new California law due to take effect January 1, 2012 – Senate Bill 909 (SB 909) – appears to be one of the first in the nation that addresses the growing concerns over the controversial practice of “offshoring” personally identifiable information (PII) collected during background checks of job applicants by sending the data outside of United States and its territories and beyond the protection of U.S. privacy and identity theft laws. Read more about Trend Number 9 of the Employment Screening Resources Top 10 Trends in Background Checks for 2012.
If jobseekers want to get hired for a job these days, they will probably have to undergo a background check. And if they have to undergo a background check, it would be in their best interest to make sure the information found on the background check is accurate, up-to-date, and complete. As a result, some jobseekers are taking matters in their own hands by proactively conducting “self” background checks on themselves to verify the accuracy of their public information. Read more about Trend Number 10 of the Employment Screening Resources Top 10 Trends in Background Checks for 2012.
To view the fifth annual Employment Screening Resources (ESR) ‘Top 10 Trends in Background Checks’ for 2012 web page, visit http://www.esrcheck.com/ESR-Top-10-Trends-in-Background-Checks-for-2012.php.
About Employment Screening Resources (ESR):
Employment Screening Resources (ESR) provides accurate and actionable information, empowering employers to make informed safe hiring decisions for the benefit for our clients, their employees, and the public. ESR literally wrote the book on background screening with “The Safe Hiring Manual” by Founder and CEO Lester Rosen. ESR is accredited by The National Association of Professional Background Screeners (NAPBS), a distinction held by less than two percent of all screening firms. By choosing an accredited screening firm like ESR, employers know they have selected an agency that meets the highest industry standards. For more information about ESR – ‘The Background Check Authority(SM)’ – visit http://www.esrcheck.com/ or call 888.999.4474.
About ESR News:
The Employment Screening Resources (ESR) News blog – ESR News – provides employment screening information for employers, recruiters, and jobseekers on a variety of topics including credit reports, criminal records, data privacy, discrimination, E-Verify, jobs reports, legal updates, negligent hiring, workplace violence, and use of search engines and social network sites for background checks. For more information about ESR News or to send comments or questions, please email ESR News Editor Thomas Ahearn at firstname.lastname@example.org.