All posts by Les Rosen

New Florida Law Strengthens Background Checks for Caregivers Starting August 1

By Thomas Ahearn, ESR News Staff Writer

Starting August 1, a new law will require workers who care for children, the elderly, and the disabled in the state of Florida to undergo stricter background checks.

According to a report in the Sun Sentinel, House Bill 7069, passed unanimously by the Legislature and signed by Governor Charlie Crist, closes loopholes in the background check process for those seeking jobs with children, seniors, and the disabled and would require that caregivers begin work with vulnerable residents only after a background check is complete and the applicant is found to be qualified.

The law follows a 2009 series by the Sun-Sentinel newspaper, “Trust Betrayed,” that exposed gaps in Florida’s background check system. According to the Sun Sentinel – the newspaper that conducted a six-month investigation that found convicted felons with records for rape, child abuse, and murder had been hired as caregivers – employees of day care centers, assisted living facilities, home health care agencies, and others working with children and vulnerable adults will have to pass a nationwide background check before they can begin working under the law.

In the “Trust Betrayed” series, the Sun Sentinel revealed that outdated laws allowed employees to start working before a background check was made, and people with criminal histories could still work by obtaining an exemption stating they were rehabilitated. the state of Florida had granted exemptions to more than 8,700 people with criminal records – including registered sex offenders and convicted murderers – and that 20 percent were re-arrested, including some after being considered not a danger to children or vulnerable adults.

For more information about background checks, and updates on states laws like the new law strengthening background checks for caregivers in Florida, visit Employment Screening Resources (ESR) at


E-Verify Website Redesign Coming June 13

By Thomas Ahearn, ESR News Staff Writer

The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS)  the government agency that oversees lawful immigration to the United States has announced that “big changes” are coming to E-Verify on June 13 that will enhance the electronic employment eligibility verification systems usability, security, accuracy, and efficiency.

According to ‘E-Verify Redesign web page at, the newly redesigned E-Verify will feature a clean and modern design, easy and intuitive navigation, and clear and simple language. Some new features of E-Verify – a free, Internet-based system that verifies information on an I-9 form against government databases to see if the employee is legally eligible to work in the U.S. will include:

  • Home Page: E-Verify’s new look home page welcomes users by name and displays user IDs and last login dates and times to enhance security. The new E-Verify home page also features an E-Verify User Manual link, a new case alerts feature  to alert users when they are required to take action or when there is an update in the status of a case and an improved E-Verify news section.
  • Easy as 1-2-3: Most verifications of an employee’s employment eligibility with the redesigned E-Verify require only three steps. The process of entering the employee’s Form I-9 information has been streamlined to make it easier and reduce typos and other mistakes that often cause tentative nonconfirmations.
  • Case Results: The redesigned E-Verify features can’t-miss results displayed prominently on screen. Only the last four digits of Social Security numbers are displayed on screen for added privacy and security.
  • Close Case: The redesigned E-Verify features easy-to-follow steps to closing a case as the last step in the verification process – with clear instructions to guide users.

With over 200,000 employers currently using E-Verify and many believing that E-Verify should be mandatory, E-Verify Designated Agents are helping in the employment eligibility verification process. Employment Screening Resources (ESR) ,  a national background screening provider and authorized E-Verify Designated Agent – can help employers virtually eliminate errors, improve the accuracy of their reporting, protect jobs for authorized workers, and help maintain a legal workforce.

For more information about the E-Verify electronic employment eligibility verification system, visit


Former INS, ICE Heads Agree E-Verify Should Be Mandatory for Employers

By Thomas Ahearn, ESR News Staff Writer

Two former heads of the Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS) and the Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) appearing together on a National Public Radio (NPR) program agreed that the E-Verify electronic employment eligibility verification system should be mandatory for U.S. employers, according to a transcript of the radio show available on NPR’s website

Appearing on NPR’s Talk Of The Nation radio program with host Neal Conan, Doris Meissner, former INS Commissioner under President Clinton, and Julie Myers Wood, former Assistant Secretary of ICE under President Bush, were discussing the topic of immigration enforcement when the subject of E-Verify — a free, Internet-based system operated by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and the Social Security Administration (SSA) that allows employers to check information provided by employees on their I-9 Form electronically against records in DHS and SSA databases — came up.

Responding to a caller saying that employers have been able to identify Social Security numbers of workers for some years, Wood said E-Verify — which was initially called Basic Pilot in Commissioner Meissner’s time — has made substantial progress over the past couple of years and has evolved into a program that over 200,000 employers are using to check whether a name and Social Security number match and also, in the case of foreign nationals, to check the picture that’s used on a particular identification card.

“One of the things that many think would help is to make E-Verify mandatory,” Wood added. “And I think the Obama administration should be commended for pushing forward with a Bush administration rule that requires federal contractors to be on E-Verify, and that is greatly expanding the number of employers that do get on E-Verify.”

When Conan asked former INS commissioner Meissner whether E-Verify should be mandatory, Meissner responded: “A system like E-Verify should be mandatory. Until it is, we won’t have the kind of ability to enforce the law against employers that we need.” Meissner later added: “Congress has to act. It’s got to be legislated to make it mandatory.”

In terms of encouraging employers to join E-Verify, Wood observed that very large companies are mandating for their subcontractors to join E-Verify. “In the case of a very large grocery store, for example, you have tens of thousands of subcontractors that have joined E-Verify just so they don’t lose their big contracts.”

The full transcript of the program is available at:

Employment Screening Resources (ESR) — a national background screening provider and authorized E-Verify Designated Agent — can help employers virtually eliminate errors, improve the accuracy of their reporting, protect jobs for authorized workers, and help maintain a legal workforce. For more information about the E-Verify electronic employment eligibility verification system, visit


New Legislation Would Make Companies Inform Customers When Calls Outsourced Outside U.S.

By Thomas Ahearn, ESR News Staff Writer

Ever wonder if the customer service call center at the other end of your phone is located in the U.S., or what foreign country it is located in if outside of the U.S.?

Newly proposed legislation would make companies inform customers when their calls are being transferred outside the United States and charge companies for those transferred calls in an effort to maintain call center jobs currently in the United States and provide a reason for companies that have already outsourced call center jobs to bring them back.

According to a press release on Senator Charles E. Schumer’s (D-NY) website, the new legislation would require companies that transfer calls to foreign call centers to disclose to the caller that their call is being transferred to a particular country. The disclosure requirement would also force companies to annually certify to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) that they are fully complying with this requirement or otherwise be subject to civil penalties that the FTC would prescribe.

In addition, since 800 numbers are often transferred overseas without the caller’s knowledge, the bill would impose a $0.25 excise tax on any customer service call placed inside the United States which is then transferred to an agent in a foreign location, with the fee being assessed on the company that transferred the call.

While the bill’s major aim would be to reduce the outsourcing of U.S. jobs, another benefit could be greater protection against identity theft, since the personally identifying information (PII) of American consumers — such as names, birth dates, addresses, social security numbers, and financial information — would not be offshored as often to call centers in foreign countries beyond the reach of U.S. identity theft and privacy laws.

Employment Screening Resources (ESR) — a member of Concerned CRAs, a group of Consumer Reporting Agencies (CRA) concerned that certain data practices place the personal information of consumers at risk — does not outsource domestic background screening services outside of the U.S. in order to protect the PII contained in background screening reports. ESR believes that sending such personal information offshore places both applicants and employers at risk and should be avoided when possible. If PII is sent to countries outside the U.S., applicants and employers should be made aware of this practice. 

For more information on personally identifiable information, offshoring, and identity theft, visit Employment Screening Resources (ESR) at


May 2010 Employment Report Shows 431,000 Jobs Added But Mostly Temporary Work for Census

By Thomas Ahearn, ESR Staff Writer

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported that employment grew by 431,000 jobs in May, but that number was mostly due to the hiring of 411,000 temporary census workers for the once-in-a-decade Census 2010.

According to THE EMPLOYMENT SITUATION — MAY 2010, private-sector employment changed little, with 41,000 jobs being added, while manufacturing, temporary help services, and mining added jobs. Construction employment declined.

The BLS May 2010 Jobs report also revealed that:

  • Manufacturing employment increased by 29,000 over the month, and factory employment has risen by 126,000 over the past 5 months.
  • Temporary help services added 31,000 jobs over the month, and employment in the industry has risen by 362,000 since September 2009.
  • Mining employment gained 10,000 over the month, and support activities for mining accounted for 8,000 of the over-the-month increase. Since October 2009, mining employment has expanded by 50,000.
  • Employment in construction declined by 35,000 in May, largely erasing gains in the industry in the prior 2 months.

Overall, the unemployment rate edged down to 9.7 percent, the same rate as in the first 3 months of 2010, and the total number of unemployed persons in May was 15.0 million.

Whether the work is temporary, part-time, or full-time, an effective employment screening program can help any business succeed in a tough economy by ensuring a safe workplace. For more information about background checks and drug testing, visit Employment Screening Resources (ESR) at


New Case Demonstrates How the Details are Everything if Taking Adverse Action on a Current Employee Due to a Background Check

A new federal district court case demonstrates the importance of handling the adverse action process correctly when terminating an existing employee due to an unsatisfactory background check.

In the case decided on February 26, 2010 by the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Ohio (2010 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 17373), an employer ran a credit check on all employees in the accounting department, including the plaintiff who had been working in the current location for seven years. For reasons not disclosed in the case, the employer decided to terminate the plaintiff due to the result of the credit report. Continue reading

ESR Provides Information to Job Applicants on Background Checks and Credit Reports

By Thomas Ahearn, ESR Staff Writer

Job applicants need all the information they can get on the subjects of credit reports and background checks, especially when credit report checks by some employers for certain job positions during employment background checks could mean the difference in finding work.

Employment Screening Resources (ESR), a leading national pre-employment screening firm based in the San Francisco area, has made available – at no charge – resources aimed at job applicants concerned about background checks and credit reports. The information, which can help job applicants navigate the background check process and maximize their chance at employment, is available on ESR’s Applicant Resources page at:

As reported earlier on ESR, the use of credit reports during pre-employment background checks has become a controversial issue. Currently, a federal bill – an amendment to the ‘Restoring American Financial Stability Act of 2010’ – seeks to ban credit report checks for most employment screening. In addition, three states – Washington, Hawaii, and Oregon – currently have restrictions on an employer’s use of credit reports in making employment-related decisions.

Consumers and job applicants concerned about background checks and credit reports may now find information that includes special reports, articles, and links on such topics as:

  • Consumer rights when it comes to background checks;
  • How to deal with credit reports, and;
  • How consumers with criminal records can get back into the workforce.    

“As a Consumer Reporting Agency, part of the ESR mission is to help consumers by providing the most accurate reports possible and to give consumers information on how the process works,” says Jared Callahan, Director of Client Relations at ESR and a national speaker on topics related to background checks.   “We are pleased to provide job applicants with information about their rights with respect to background checks in order to help consumers cope effectively with the process and to maximize the opportunity to gain employment.”

Employment Screening Resources (ESR) – the firm that literally wrote the book on background checks, “The Safe Hiring Manual” – provides background checks that do not engage in cheap database shortcuts or off-shoring that endangers privacy. ESR will also soon be launching (, a website that allows job applicants to perform their own professional verifications and employment background checks while also helping employers save time and money hiring qualified employees.

For more information credit reports and background checks, please visit Employment Screening Resources (ESR) at or contact Jared Callahan at


FTC Extends Enforcement Deadline for Identity Theft Red Flags Rule To December 31

By Thomas Ahearn, ESR Staff Writer

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has further delaying enforcement of the Red Flags Rule for identity theft scheduled to begin on June 1, 2010 to December 31, 2010.

According to a FTC news release, the delay of the Red Flags Rule for identity theft to the end of the year would give Congress time to consider legislation that would resolve any questions as to which entities are covered by the Red Flags Rule and remove the need for further enforcement delays. As currently written, the Red Flags Rule — which was developed under the Fair and Accurate Credit Transactions Act (FACTA) — requires “creditors” and “financial institutions” that have “covered accounts” to develop and implement written identity theft prevention programs to help identify, detect, and respond to patterns, practices, or activities — called “red flags” — that may indicate identity theft.

With identity theft on the rise — a recent survey found the number of identity theft and fraud victims in the U.S. increased 12 percent to affect over 11 million adults in 2009 — the FTC’s Red Flags Rule addresses the need for businesses extending credit to customers to develop and implement written identity theft prevention programs. In addition, according to a “Facts For Businesses” page on the FTC website, the Red Flags Rule may apply to groups that might not typically use the words “financial institutions” and “creditors” with “covered accounts” to describe themselves.

  • The Red Flags Rule defines a “financial institution” as banks, savings and loan associations, mutual savings banks, credit unions, or any person, directly or indirectly, holding a transaction account belonging to a consumer.
  • The Red Flags Rule definition of “creditor” is broad and includes businesses or organizations that regularly defer payment for goods or services or provide goods or services and bill customers later. Utility companies, health care providers, and telecommunications companies may fall within this definition. Creditors also include those who regularly grant loans, arrange for loans, or extend credit.
  • The Red Flags Rule defines that term “covered accounts” as 1.) A consumer account primarily designed to permit multiple payments or transactions such as credit card accounts, mortgage/auto loans, and cell phone, utility, and checking and savings accounts; and 2.) Any account for which there is a foreseeable risk to customers or to the financial institution or creditor from identity theft.

Beginning December 31, 2010, the Red Flags Rule would require the entities described above to develop, implement, and administer Identity Theft Prevention Programs that include four basic elements — Indentify, Detect, Prevent, and Update — to address the threat of identity theft:

  • An Identity Theft Prevention Program must include reasonable policies and procedures to identify the “red flags” of identity theft, the patterns, practices, or activities that may indicate the possibility of identity theft.
  • An Identity Theft Prevention Program must be designed to detect the red flags identified, and have procedures in place to help in the detection of red flags.
  • An Identity Theft Prevention Program must spell out the appropriate response to take when red flags are detected to prevent and mitigate identity theft.
  • An Identity Theft Prevention Program should go through a periodic update to reflect new risks from identity theft since this crime is an ever-changing threat.

For more information and the latest news about identity theft and the Red Flags Rule, please visit Employment Screening Resources (ESR) at


NY Times Editorial Focuses On Flawed FBI Background Checks

By Thomas Ahearn, ESR Staff Writer

A recent New York Times editorial – Check It Again – focused on a new bill in the House of Representatives that would require the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) to verify and correct criminal data before issuing background checks for employment purposes, thus fixing the problem of many Americans missing a chance to get hired (as if it wasn’t hard enough to find a job these days) because the FBI background checks employers use to screen job applicants contain incomplete or inaccurate information.

A common problem with FBI background checks, according to the NY Times editorial, is that the criminal records included in those FBI background checks fail to include the final disposition of a case, meaning that the records may only show that a job applicant was arrested but not that the charges were dismissed or that there was no conviction.

The editorial also cites a 2009 report from the National Employment Law Project that revealed the government had mistakenly denied credentials to tens of thousands of workers – partly because of flawed background reports – after Congress required new FBI background checks for about 1.5 million people working at the nation’s ports. The editorial concludes that no one – including the nearly 50 million Americans with arrest or conviction records – should be denied a job because the government’s information contained in an FBI employment background check is wrong.

An earlier story on ESR News explained the bill – called the Fairness and Accuracy in Employment Background Checks Act of 2010 (H.R.5300) – would provide safeguards with respect to FBI criminal background checks prepared for employment purposes and require the Attorney General to find out the outcome of arrests from court offices when an employer requests a background check. The attorney general would update the record in the FBI’s National Crime Information Center (NCIC) database, a computerized index of criminal information available to Federal, state, and local law enforcement 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.

In addition, to help avoid inaccurate or incomplete employment background checks, the legislation would give job applicants the opportunity to challenge the accuracy and completeness of background check reports done through the FBI records database.

A 2005 report – “The National Crime Information Center: A Review and Evaluation” – sponsored by the National Association of Professional Background Screeners (NAPBS) reviewed the FBI’s NCIC to evaluate its effectiveness in maintaining accurate and complete criminal history records. Among the findings of the NAPBS report were:

  • Many states did not report information concerning dispositions, declinations to prosecute, failure to charge after fingerprinting, and expungements.
  • Inconsistency in the reporting requirements and criminal codes in various states impacted the completeness and accuracy of the records.
  • There were significant time lapses between when information was transmitted to the state repository and actual entry into the criminal history records.  

For more information on FBI background checks and the FBI’s NCIC criminal records database – and the reasons why the information contained in that database is sometimes not always entirely accurate – visit Employment Screening Resources (ESR) at


Census Bureau Adopts Stricter Rules for Background Screening of Census Workers

By Thomas Ahearn, ESR Staff Writer

Following two recent incidents concerning census workers endangering U.S. citizens – including an attack of a disabled young woman allegedly by a census taker in Indiana and a registered sex offender using an alias to get a job as a census taker in New Jersey – the U.S. Census Bureau is adopting stricter rules for the background screening of census workers for the once-in-a-decade 2010 U.S. Census.

According to a story in the Washington Post, the bureau’s director said that the stricter rules for background screening means applicants for the job of census takers whose name, age, gender and Social Security number do not match background screening records will undergo more inquiries instead of being sent for FBI fingerprint checks. As part of the background screening process, all census workers are fingerprinted on their first day of training and the fingerprint card(s) are submitted to FBI for processing.

Other changes in background screening will include not hiring applicants whose fingerprints are not legible until their identities and backgrounds can be confirmed and swifter intervention when there is “evidence of criminality” by a census worker, according to the Post.

The changes in background screening for census takers come after a New Jersey woman she was visited by a census worker who asked for the names and birth dates of everyone in the family. She later recognized the man’s photograph under a different name than the one he had given her on a sex-offender registry site. The Post reported that Census officials said the man passed a name check during background screening but failed a fingerprint check and was fired after he visited the woman’s home. In Indiana, a census worker who passed the background screening process was charged in the attack of a disabled woman after allegedly returning to her house after making a visit as a census taker.

According to the ‘Background Check FAQ’ page of the U.S. Census website, the Census Bureau takes public trust seriously and works to ensure that temporary workers undergo the most thorough and accurate background screening possible. The Census Hiring and Employment Check (CHEC) Branch of the Administrative and Management Systems Division (AMSD) performs background screening for all applicants and employees.

Background screening of the approximately 635,000 census takers includes a name check against the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s (FBI) Name Index and a search of the FBI’s National Crime Information Center (NCIC) database of individuals that have been arrested and fingerprinted to see if it contains a criminal history record file that matches an applicant’s name, date of birth, and social security number.

For more information on background screening, including new legislature that would strengthen the accuracy of background screening using FBI criminal databases and how these databases can sometimes have inaccurate or incomplete information, visit Employment Screening Resources (ESR) at