All posts by Les Rosen

Court Rules Staffing Firm that Outsources Background Checks Cannot be Sued Under FCRA

By Lester Rosen, Attorney and President of Employment Screening Resources (ESR)

A staffing firm that places individuals in temporary positions with independent employers cannot be sued under the federal Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) when a background check firm hired by the staffing firm delivers a background check report that is inaccurate or erroneous. 

In a case from the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Tennessee, a staffing firm retained an employment screening firm to provide a background check report. The background check report indicated that the plaintiff had been convicted of a felony and misdemeanor, had served jail item, was serving probation, and had made restitution for theft and assault. Continue reading

Court Finds No Liability Though Background Check Report Inaccurate since Employer Already Decided Not to Hire Applicant

In a case that touched upon number of issues affecting background checks, a federal district court held that even though a background check report was erroneous and inaccurate, it had no bearing on the employment decision since a hospital had already decided to not hire a candidate based upon their prior knowledge of misconduct and a bad interview. Continue reading

Three Credit Report Resellers Settle FTC Charges for Not Protecting Personal Information of Consumers

By Lester Rosen, Employment Screening Resources (ESR) President & Thomas Ahearn, ESR News Editor

In the Federal Trade Commission’s (FTC) first cases against credit report resellers for the data security failures of their clients, three companies that resell credit reports of consumers have agreed to settle FTC charges that they did not take reasonable steps to protect personal information of consumers and allowed computer hackers to access that personal information, according to a recent news release from the FTC.

Administrative complaints issued by the FTC showed the three credit report resellers bought credit reports from the three nationwide consumer reporting agencies – Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion – and added them to reports to sell to determine eligibility for credit of consumers. Because these three resellers allegedly allowed clients to access these reports without basic security measures such as firewalls and updated antivirus software, hackers accessed more than 1,800 credit reports without authorization through the computer networks of clients. The three credit report resellers also allegedly did not make reasonable efforts to protect against future security even after becoming aware of these data breaches.

The three credit report resellers are charged with violating the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) by:

  • Failing to protect their internet portals and thereby furnishing credit reports to hackers who lacked a permissible purpose to have them,
  • Failing to maintain reasonable procedures to limit the furnishing of credit reports for such purposes, and
  • Furnishing credit reports when they had reasonable grounds for believing the reports would not be used for a permissible purpose.

The failure of the three credit report resellers to protect personal information of consumers also allegedly violated the FCRA. In addition, the credit report resellers allegedly violated the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Safeguards Rule by failing to:

  • Design and implement information safeguards to control the risks to consumer information;
  • Regularly test or monitor the effectiveness of their controls and procedures; to evaluate and adjust their information security programs in light of known or identified risks; and
  • Have comprehensive information security programs.

The proposed settlement, part of the ongoing campaign of the FTC to protect the personal information of consumers, would require the three credit report resellers to:

  • Have comprehensive information security programs designed to protect the security, confidentiality, and integrity of the personal information of consumers, including information accessible to clients;
  • Obtain independent audits of their security programs, every other year for 20 years;
  • Furnish credit reports only to those with a permissible purpose; and
  • Maintain reasonable procedures to limit the furnishing of credit reports to those with a permissible purpose.

These cases show that the FTC will call for imposition of civil penalties against resellers of consumer reports who do not take adequate measures to fulfill their obligations to protect information contained in consumer reports as required by the FCRA. These cases also send a strong message that companies giving their clients online access to sensitive information of consumers must have reasonable procedures to secure that information.

Consumer protection through data security makes up a critical part of the National Association of Professional Background Screeners (NAPBS) accreditation process. Since its founding in 2003, the NAPBS has believed that there is a strong need for a singular cohesive industry standard and created the Background Screening Agency Accreditation Program (BSAAP). Governed by a strict professional standard composed of requirements and measurements, the BSAAP is becoming a widely recognized seal of approval that brings national recognition to background screening organizations – also referred to as Consumer Reporting Agencies (CRAs) – that will stand as the industry “seal” representing a background screening organization’s commitment to excellence, accountability, high professional standards, and continued improvement.

The NAPBS Background Screening Credentialing Council (BSCC) oversees the application process and is the governing accreditation body that will ensure the background screening organizations seeking accreditation meet or exceed a measurable standard of competence. To become accredited, a CRA must pass an onsite audit of its policies and procedures as they relate to six critical areas of the BSAAP:

  • ‘Section 1: Consumer Protection’ includes standards for: Information Security Policy; Data Security; Intrusion, Detection and Response; Stored Data Security; Password Protocol; Electronic Access Control; Physical Security; Consumer Information Privacy Policy; Unauthorized Browsing; Record Destruction; Consumer Disputes; Sensitive Data Masking; and Database Criminal Records.
  • ‘Section 2: Legal Compliance’ includes standards for: Designated Compliance Person(s); State Consumer Reporting Laws; Driver Privacy Protection Act (DPPA); State Implemented DPPA Compliance; Integrity; Prescribed Notices; and Certification from Client.
  • ‘Section 3: Client Education’ includes standards for: Client Legal Responsibilities; Client Required Documents; Truth in Advertising; Adverse Action; Legal Counsel; Understanding Consumer Reports; and Information Protection.
  • ‘Section 4: Product Standards’ includes standards for: Public Record Researcher Agreement; Vetting Requirement; Public Record Researcher Certification; Errors and Omissions Coverage; Information Security; Auditing Procedures; Identification Confirmation; and Jurisdictional Knowledge.
  • ‘Section 5: Service Standards’ includes standards for: Verification Accuracy; Current Employment; Diploma Mills; Procedural Disclosures; Verification Databases; Use of Stored Data; Documentation of Verification Attempts; Outsourced Verification Services; Conflicting Data; Professional Conduct; and Authorized Recipient.
  • ‘Section 6: General Business Practices’ includes standards for: Character; Insurance; Client Credentialing; Vendor Credentialing; Consumer Credentialing; Document Management; Employee Certification; Worker Training; Visitor Security; Employee Criminal History; Quality Assurance; and Certification.

Employment Screening Resources (ESR) is formally recognized as accredited by the National Association of Professional Background Screeners (NAPBS) Background Screening Credentialing Council (BSCC) for successfully proving compliance with the Background Screening Agency Accreditation Program (BSAAP). For more information, visit Employment Screening Resources (ESR) at http://www.ESRcheck.com

Source:
http://ftc.gov/opa/2011/02/settlement.shtm

Government Accountability Office Report Finds Sex Offenders Employed at K-12 Schools

By Lester Rosen, Employment Screening Resources (ESR) President & Thomas Ahearn, ESR News Editor

The United States Government Accountability Office (GAO) recently released a report to the Chairman, Committee on Education and Labor, House of Representatives that revealed high rates of employees in all sorts of positions at both public and private schools – including teachers, volunteers, aides, support staff, and contractors – who had records of inappropriate sexual conduct and convictions for sex-related crimes.

The GAO report dated December 2010 – ‘K-12 EDUCATION – Selected Cases of Public and Private Schools That Hired or Retained Individuals with Histories of Sexual Misconduct’ – examined 15 cases that showed that individuals with histories of sexual misconduct were hired or retained by public and private schools as teachers, support staff, volunteers, and contractors. At least 11 of these 15 cases involved sex offenders who previously targeted children, and at least 6 cases involved offenders who used their new positions as school employees or volunteers to abuse more children.

The GAO report revealed that the following factors contributed to hiring or retention of sex offenders:

  • School officials allowed teachers who had engaged in sexual misconduct toward students to resign rather than face disciplinary action, often providing subsequent employers with positive references;
  • Schools did not perform pre-employment criminal history checks;
  • Even if schools did perform pre-employment criminal history checks, they may have been inadequate in that they were not national, fingerprint-based, or recurring; and
  • Schools failed to inquire into troubling information regarding criminal histories on employment applications.

Some examples of cases from around the United States that the GAO examined for the report include:

  • Ohio: A teacher forced to resign because of inappropriate conduct with female students received a letter of recommendation from the school superintendent calling him an “outstanding teacher.” After being subsequently hired at a neighboring district, he was convicted for sexual battery against a sixth grade girl.
  • Louisiana: A teacher and registered sex offender whose Texas teaching certificate had been revoked was hired by several Louisiana schools without receiving a criminal history check. A warrant is currently out for his arrest on charges of engaging in sexual conversations with a student at one of these schools.
  • Arizona: A school rushing to fill a position did not conduct a criminal history check before hiring a teacher who had been convicted for sexually abusing a minor, even though he disclosed on his application that he had committed a dangerous crime against a child. He was later convicted for having sexual contact with a young female student.
  • California: A sex offender was convicted for molesting a minor in 2000 and the school where he worked was aware of his conviction but did not fire him. After the GAO referred the case to the California Attorney General, officials placed the sex offender, who has since resigned, on administrative leave.

The GAO report also found no federal laws regulating the employment of sex offenders in public or private schools and varying laws at the state level. While some states required a national, fingerprint-based criminal history checks for school employment, others states did not. State laws also varied as to whether past convictions would result in termination from school employment, revocation of a teaching license, or refusal to hire.

GAO performed the study after a 2004 Department of Education report estimated that millions of students are subjected to sexual misconduct by a school employee at some time between kindergarten and the twelfth grade (K-12). GAO was asked to:

  • Examine the circumstances surrounding cases where K-12 schools hired or retained individuals with histories of sexual misconduct and determine the factors contributing to such employment actions and
  • Provide an overview of selected federal and state laws related to the employment of convicted sex offenders in K-12 schools.

To identify case studies, the GAO compared recent data in employment databases from 19 states and the District of Columbia to the National Sex Offender Registry and also searched public records to identify cases where sexual misconduct by school employees resulted in a criminal conviction. GAO ultimately selected 15 cases from 11 states for further investigation.

Employment Screening Resources (ESR) – a leading background check provider accredited by The National Association of Professional Background Screeners (NAPBS) performs sexual offender searches as well as criminal record searches around the United States supplemented by a national multi-jurisdictional search. Although no one search is perfect, ESR recommends a series of overlapping tools that must also include checking professional licenses and verifying past employment, especially looking for unexplained gaps in employment where an offender may try to hide past negative information.

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

Source:
http://www.gao.gov/new.items/d11200.pdf

Latest Jobs Report Shows Unemployment Rate Fell to 9 Percent in January 2011

 By Thomas Ahearn, Employment Screening Resources (ESR) News Editor

The latest jobs report from the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) – ‘THE EMPLOYMENT SITUATION — JANUARY 2011’ –shows the unemployment rate in the United States declined from 9.4 percent to 9.0 percent and the number of unemployed persons fell by approximately 600,000 to 13.9 million people in January 2011.                  

According to a Statement on the Employment Situation from the Commissioner of the DOL’s Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), nonfarm payroll employment added 36,000 jobs, and has increased by one million jobs since a recent low point in February 2010. While employment in most major industries changed little in January, the report revealed that there were some gains in the following areas:

  • Manufacturing employment grew by 49,000 over the month and has increased by 161,000 jobs since a recent low point in December 2009. Employment increased in motor vehicles and parts (+20,000 jobs), fabricated metal products (+13,000 jobs), machinery (+10,000 jobs), and computer and electronic products (+5,000) in January.
  • Retail trade added 28,000 jobs over the month, including an increase in clothing stores (+15,000 jobs). Employment in retail trade has increased by 123,000 jobs since a recent low point in December 2009.
  • Health care employment added 11,000 jobs over the month and has added an average of 22,000 jobs per month over the past 12 months.

On the negative side, employment in transportation and warehousing decreased by 38,000 jobs over the month, and construction employment continued to decline in January with a loss of 32,000 jobs, possibly due to severe winter weather impacting this industry in many parts of the country.

The Employment Situation for February is scheduled to be released on Friday, March 4, 2011, at 8:30 a.m. EST / 5:30 a.m. PST.

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

Founded in 1996 in the San Francisco area, Employment Screening Resources (ESR) wrote the book on background checks with ‘The Safe Hiring Manual’ by ESR founder and President Lester Rosen and is accredited by The National Association of Professional Background Screeners (NAPBS®) . To learn more about Employment Screening Resources, visit http://www.ESRcheck.com or contact Jared Callahan, ESR Director of Client Relations, at 415.898.0044 or jcallahan@ESRcheck.com.

Email Thomas Ahearn, Employment Screening Resources (ESR) News Editor, at tahearn@ESRcheck.com

Sources:
http://www.bls.gov/news.release/empsit.nr0.htm
http://www.bls.gov/news.release/jec.nr0.htm
http://www.bls.gov/news.release/pdf/empsit.pdf

Current Unrest in Egypt May Cause Delays with International Background Screening

By Thomas Ahearn, Employment Screening Resources (ESR) News Editor

The current unrest in Egypt, with hundreds of thousands of protesters crowding the streets of Cairo and calling for the ouster of Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak, will most likely cause delays with international background screening conducted by U.S. companies on job applicants who were born, or who have spent considerable time, in that country.

The most recent reports from CNN state that violent street battles between supporters and foes of the embattled President Mubarak have left hundreds of people injured, and pandemonium reigns over the demonstrations that have lasted more than a week in Egypt’s capital city. Mubarak recently announced he would not seek reelection after nearly 30 years in office.  

A Wall Street Journal article dated 02/01/11 – ‘Multinationals Keep Egypt Offices Shut, Workers Home’ – reported that multinational companies operating in Egypt including Procter & Gamble and Coca-Cola had closed offices and facilities for employee safety. None had made any decision on reopening and were following the situation closely.

The current – and historic – turmoil in Egypt serves as a reminder that the international background screening process is subject to delays in foreign countries that are beyond anyone’s control and may affect both Americans who spent time in a foreign country or people in the U.S. on visas. Employers should not discriminate based on national origin.

Employers in the United States should be aware that every country is different when it comes to international background screening. The general availability of public records that is taken for granted in this country is often times not the case outside of the U.S., where there may be very limited access to the types of information needed for employment background screening.

Since each country has its own laws, customs, and procedures for background screenings, employers face a number of the special challenges and practical difficulties when performing background screening outside of the United States, including:

  • Differences in courts and legal systems.
  • Language barriers.
  • Name variations including transliteration into English and Phonetic transcription or “transcribing.”
  • Time differences.
  • Means and cost of communications.
  • Differing calendars and holidays.
  • Inherent risk of fraud.
  • Costs more expensive compared to background screening in U.S.
  • Payments must be made in another country’s currency.

However, although international background screening can be challenging, it is not impossible. U.S. employers can find themselves in hot water if they assume that international background screening is too difficult or expensive and simply bypass the process.

International background screening has become more necessary in recent years due to the mobility of workers across international borders in a global economy that make it no longer adequate to conduct background screening on workers only in the United States. The need for international background screening can occur in several situations:

  • Job Applicant Born Abroad: An American company is considering a job applicant who was born abroad and is either coming directly to the U.S. from another country or has not been in the United States long enough to rely solely upon checking American references and criminal records.
  • Job Applicant Spent Time Abroad: An American company is considering a job applicant who spent considerable time abroad in another country and the employer wants to obtain data for that time period.
  • Job Applicant from Another Country Will Work in that Country: An American company is hiring an individual from another country to work in that country, such as an outside sales representative.

Recent government statistics show that U.S. residents who were born, or have spent significant time, abroad make up a large amount of the current U.S. population:

International background screening becoming more necessary due to mobility of workers in global economy is Trend #5 in a list of top background screening trends compiled by Employment Screening Resources (ESR), a leading background check provider accredited by The National Association of Professional Background Screeners (NAPBS®). ESR’s Fourth Annual ‘Top Ten Trends in Pre-Employment Background Screening for 2011′ is available at: http://www.esrcheck.com/Top-Ten-Trends-In-Background-Screening-2011.php.

Besides Egypt, Employment Screening Resources performs background checks internationally in countries that include Australia, Brazil, Canada, Chile, China, France, Germany, India, Ireland, Israel, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, Nigeria, Pakistan, Philippines, Russia, Singapore, South Africa, and the United Kingdom (U.K.).

For information about International Background Screening from Employment Screening Resources – including criminal background checks and employment and education verifications – visit http://www.esrcheck.com/ESR-International-Resources.php.

An A to Z List of countries served by ESR International Background Screening Services is available at: http://www.esrcheck.com/ESR-International-Background-Screening-Countries/index.php.

Founded in 1996 in the San Francisco area, Employment Screening Resources (ESR) wrote the book on background checks with ‘The Safe Hiring Manual’ by ESR founder and President Lester Rosen and is accredited by The National Association of Professional Background Screeners (NAPBS®) . To learn more about Employment Screening Resources, visit http://www.ESRcheck.com or contact Jared Callahan, ESR Director of Client Relations, at 415.898.0044 or jcallahan@ESRcheck.com.

Sources:
http://topics.cnn.com/topics/egypt
http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748704358704576118690516166396.html
http://www.census.gov/prod/2010pubs/acsbr09-15.pdf
http://www.dhs.gov/xlibrary/assets/statistics/publications/lpr_fr_2009.pdf
http://www.dhs.gov/xlibrary/assets/statistics/publications/ois_ill_pe_2009.pdf

Use of Credit Reports and Criminal Records for Employment Screening comes under Scrutiny

By Thomas Ahearn, Employment Screening Resources (ESR) News Editor

An article in the February 2011 issue of the Society for Human Resource Management’s (SHRM) HR Magazine‘Close Up On Screening’ – describes how employers are scrambling to adjust to changes in the myriad of state and federal laws that govern pre-employment background screening due to increased scrutiny by legislators and policy enforcers on the use of credit reports and criminal records in hiring decisions.

For examples, Illinois recently became the fourth state — after Hawaii, Oregon, and Washington — to restrict the use of credit histories in hiring decisions, while Massachusetts became the second state, in addition to Hawaii, to prohibit private employers from asking about criminal records of job applicants on initial written job applications.

However, contrary to public opinion, a 2010 survey from SHRM – ‘Conducting Credit Background Checks’ – showed credit histories were used sparingly and wisely in hiring decisions.

“The perception that employers are ordering massive amounts of credit reports is nothing like the truth,” said Lester Rosen, President of San Francisco-area background check provider Employment Screening Resources (ESR), who was quoted in the HR Magazine article.

According to the SHRM survey on credit background checks, when respondents were asked if their organization or an agency hired by their organization conducted credit background checks for any job candidates by reviewing their credit reports:

  • 47 percent responded they performed credit background checks on selected job candidates.
  • 40 percent responded they did not perform credit background checks on any job candidates.
  • 13 percent responded they performed credit background checks on all job candidates.

Regarding which categories of job candidates that organizations conducted credit background checks on, the SHRM survey revealed that 91 percent of “job candidates for positions with fiduciary and financial responsibility” underwent credit background checks.

As for restrictions on criminal records, the SHRM article indicates at least two dozen cities and counties and five states have narrowed questions on their job applications to cover only felony convictions or have stopped asking about criminal history entirely and have “banned the box,” a reference to removing the boxes on applications that job applicants must check if they have even been convicted of a crime. 

“With ‘ban the box’, applicants can be considered without pre-judging,” said Rosen, the author of ‘The Safe Hiring Manual – The Complete Guide to Keeping Criminals, Terrorists, and Imposters Out of Your Workplace,’ a comprehensive guide to background checks. “From a government point of view, it makes sense to get people back to work and to avoid the extra costs of social services. Private employers prefer to ask upfront.”

Furthermore, while employers conduct criminal background checks to guarantee safety in the workplace and to avoid negligent hiring lawsuits, they may attract attention from the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) if they are not careful in doing so. The article noted that while procedural consistency is important throughout an organization, criteria consistency is important within job groups.

“Not all janitors are background screened the way you screen accountants, but janitors should be screened consistently with janitors,” Rosen explained in the article. “Employers get in trouble when they engage in automated decision-making. There always should be a human review to make sure you’re making the right decision.”

Rosen added that while many employers know the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) contains procedures for conducting credit background checks, some are unaware the FCRA also covers criminal background checks and offers specific “adverse action” procedures an employer must follow if a background check results in a denial of employment for a job applicant.

As a result, many employers are turning to an outsourced background screening and safe hiring partner to establish protocols and consistent practices while also helping to eliminate inappropriate use of screening results.

“A good background-screening partner makes sure the employer is in compliance with the act and other laws, abides by adverse action rules, conducts consistent checks within job groups, and follows EEOC guidelines for using criminal reports,” Rosen said.

To learn more about background checks, visit the Employment Screening Resources (ESR) website at http://www.ESRcheck.com and read more about ‘credit reports’ and ‘criminal records’ on the ESR News Blog

Founded in 1996 in the San Francisco area, Employment Screening Resources (ESR) wrote the book on background checks with ‘The Safe Hiring Manual’ by ESR founder and President Lester Rosen and is accredited by The National Association of Professional Background Screeners (NAPBS®) . To learn more about Employment Screening Resources, visit http://www.ESRcheck.com or contact Jared Callahan, ESR Director of Client Relations, at 415.898.0044 or jcallahan@ESRcheck.com.

Sources:
http://www.shrm.org/Publications/hrmagazine/EditorialContent/2011/0211/Pages/0211roberts.aspx
http://www.shrm.org/Research/SurveyFindings/Articles/Pages/BackgroundChecking.aspx

Five Questions Employers Should Ask Job Applicants in Interviews for Safe Hiring

By Lester Rosen, Employment Screening Resources (ESR) President

The job interview, along with being an opportunity to find applicants who are a good fit for a company, is also when employers should perform due diligence and try to identify applicants who may be too dangerous, unqualified, unfit, or dishonest for the position.

While employers would not want to start the interview off with questions aimed at past criminal conduct or negative employment experiences, every interview must have a “safe hiring” portion where the job applicant is asked due diligence questions. This would be an appropriate time for the following five suggested due diligence questions to be asked in every interview:

  • “Our firm has a standard policy of conducting background checks on all hires before an offer is made or finalized. You have already signed a release form. Do you have any concerns about that?” This is a general question about background screening. Since applicants should have already signed a consent form for a background check, they have a powerful incentive to be truthful, honest, and reveal any issues.
  • “We also check for criminal convictions for all finalists. Do you have any concerns about that?” This question goes from the general to the specific. Employers should ask the question in a form that is legally permissible in their state of operation. It is important not to ask questions that are so broadly worded that they may lead to applicants revealing more information then allowed by law. Again, employers should make sure applicants understand that they signed a release for a background check and this process is standard company policy.
  • “When we contact your past employers, what do you think they will say?” This general question, which indicates past employers will be contacted, again provides a powerful incentive to be very accurate.
  • “Will your past employers tell us that there were any issues with meeting job requirements?” This question goes again from a general to a specific area, asking about matters that are expressly relevant to the job function or the workplace.
  • “Tell me about any unexplained gaps in your employment history.” If there are any unexplained employment gaps, it is imperative for employers to ask about them to make sure the employment gap was not a result of some negative situation such as the applicant being in custody for a criminal offense.

Employers should always indicate that these five suggested due diligence questions are standard job-related questions asked of all applicants and that they need to be answered. Asking standard written questions in an interview allows for a consistent process so that all applicants are subjected to the same questions. Standard questions also create a more comfortable environment for the interviewers since they do not have to remember every question asked because the questions are written down. If the questions on safe hiring issues make applicants feel uncomfortable, interviewers can simply indicate that these questions are asked of everyone and they are required due to standard company policy.

To help design their own interview template, including these five due diligence questions, employers may access the Free Online Interview Guide Generator Tool from Employment Screening Resources at http://www.esrcheck.com/Interviewgenerator.php.

Founded in 1996 in the San Francisco area, Employment Screening Resources (ESR) wrote the book on background checks with ‘The Safe Hiring Manual’ by ESR founder and President Lester Rosen and is accredited by The National Association of Professional Background Screeners (NAPBS®) . To learn more about Employment Screening Resources, visit http://www.ESRcheck.com or contact Jared Callahan, ESR Director of Client Relations, at 415.898.0044 or jcallahan@ESRcheck.com.

Source: http://www.esrcheck.com/Five-Due-Diligence-Questions-Asked-In-Every-Interview.php

Churches Using Background Checks to Ensure Safety of Most Vulnerable Members

By Thomas Ahearn, Employment Screening Resources (ESR) News Editor

According to a report ‘Churches check closer after molestation cases’ from OnlineAthens.com, the website for the Athens Banner Herald, more churches are using background checks to ensure the safety of their most vulnerable members in the wake of several molestation cases involving employees and volunteers.

The report indicates three youth ministers in Northeast Georgia churches were arrested and charged with molesting minors in their congregations in the past four months.

  • A 33-year-old male Sunday school teacher was arrested on charges of child molestation after allegedly sending sexually explicit text messages to a 14-year-old boy’s phone.
  • A 21-year-old man who claimed to be a youth minister for the church was arrested for child molestation after inviting two teenage boys to a church festival and allegedly molesting one on a nature hike afterwards.
  • A 32-year-old man was arrested on charges of child molestation due to his alleged relationship with a 16-year-old girl who attended the same Church with him.

More churches are taking the time to run background checks on employees and volunteers to make sure their members are safe, especially since the majority of people trust church workers since they find it hard to suspect someone holding a position at a religious institution of wrongdoing, according to the report.

While parents should trust in their churches and other community groups, a police Sergeant working in the special victims unit who was quoted in the story said that parents should remain aware of who their children are with and always need to be on guard since child molesters can come from all walks of life and can be married or single.

Churches, like any organization, need to provide due diligence to ensure a safe workplace for everyone. Employment Screening Resources (ESR) – a background check provider accredited by The National Association of Professional Background Screeners (NAPBS) – offers background screening solutions for Faith-Based and Volunteer organizations by checking available resources such as sex offender registries, county courts, and utilizing an address information manager as a locater for additional criminal records checks.

Services in the ESR ‘Basic Volunteer Safety 1st Package’ include:

  • Criminal Search of selected criminal court records, state criminal repositories, probation, prison parole, and release files using the ESR proprietary National Multi-Jurisdictional Criminal Database. 
  • Sex Offender Search of the state-maintained registries, noting that each originating agency determines what is to be public information at that time and not all states release registries in their entirety.
  • Residence Address Search for the previous residence addresses of volunteers and employees.
  • Social Security Number (SSN) Search to find if the SSN has been issued and whether other names are associated with the same SSN.

For more information about background screening solutions for volunteer, youth, and faith-based organizations, visit http://www.esrcheck.com/services/Background-Screening-Solutions-Churches-Volunteer-Groups.php.

For a PDF document containing a list of Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) for Church and Volunteer groups regarding background checks, visit http://www.esrcheck.com/docs/FAQs%20for%20Churches%20&%20Volunteer%20Groups%20%20v01-09.pdf.

Founded in 1996 in the San Francisco area, Employment Screening Resources (ESR) wrote the book on background checks with ‘The Safe Hiring Manual’ by ESR founder and President Lester Rosen and is accredited by The National Association of Professional Background Screeners (NAPBS®) . To learn more about Employment Screening Resources, visit http://www.ESRcheck.com or contact Jared Callahan, ESR Director of Client Relations, at 415.898.0044 or jcallahan@ESRcheck.com.

Sources:
http://www.onlineathens.com/stories/013011/new_778281504.shtml

Supporters Say E-Verify Helps Employers Check Immigration Status of Newly Hired Employees

By Thomas Ahearn, Employment Screening Resources (ESR) News Editor

A member of the U.S. House of Representatives responding to an editorial in the Washington Post wrote that the E-Verify electronic employment eligibility verification system helps employers check the immigration status of workers and maintain a legal workforce, and also that E-Verify can only be used on new hires and not for screening job applicants.

The January 22 Washington Post editorial, ‘The limits of immigration enforcement,’ focused on one of the world’s largest food processing firms that recently received a federal seal of approval for its hiring practices from the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) after officials from the agency checked employment records for just about every one of the more than 100,000 workers employed by the company. Although roughly a quarter of a million companies have enrolled in E-Verify – which is described as “a federal program that screens potential new hires for employment eligibility” in the 1/22 editorial – most companies seem reluctant to have existing workforces checked since the U.S. labor force contains an estimated 6 to 7 million undocumented immigrants.

The following response appeared in the Washington Post on January 27, in part to support use of E-Verify but also to remind employers that E-Verify can only be used after a job applicant is hired and should not be used as a method of background screening:

Helping employers check workers’ immigration status

Contrary to the Jan. 22 editorial “The limits of immigration enforcement,” the E-Verify federal program is not used on potential hires, as the editorial stated. It can be used only for newly hired employees. In order to prevent discrimination, the Web-based E-Verify program, administered by the Department of Homeland Security, prohibits employers from using E-Verify to screen potential hires. Rather, E-Verify is a tool to confirm that the information given on an I-9 form, which is required for every new employee, is correct.

As a former small-business owner in the restaurant industry, I found it frustrating that employers were expected to hire legal workers but were given no tools to do so. Since employers cannot be expected to be document experts, when I became a member of Congress I created E-Verify as a way to provide employers a simple, free and easy way to check the information provided on the I-9. Fifteen years later, E-Verify has exceeded expectations through the use of biometric data for non-citizens, is 99.6 percent accurate and continues to improve, expand and evolve.

Ken Calvert, Washington

The writer, a California Republican, is a member of the U.S. House of Representatives.

Recently, a story in the Wall Street Journal (WSJ) ‘Crackdown on Illegal Workers Grow’ told how ICE had announced that it was cracking down on larger companies that may employ undocumented workers. ICE conducted audits of more than 2,740 companies in the fiscal year 2010, nearly twice as many as the previous fiscal year, and levied a record $7 million in civil fines on businesses employing illegal workers, according to the WSJ.

Because of this, U.S. businesses are getting their employment records, particularly the Employment Eligibility Verification Form (“I-9 form”), in order. Employment Screening Resources (ESR) – a background check firm accredited by the National Association of Professional Background Screeners (NAPBS) – is also a Designated E-Verify Employer Agent that can help employers virtually eliminate I-9 form errors, improve the accuracy of their reporting, protect jobs for authorized workers, and maintain a legal workforce.

For more information on E-Verify Service from Employment Screening Resources (ESR), visit http://www.esrcheck.com/formi9.php.

Founded in 1996 in the San Francisco area, Employment Screening Resources (ESR) wrote the book on background checks with ‘The Safe Hiring Manual’ by ESR founder and President Lester Rosen and is accredited by The National Association of Professional Background Screeners (NAPBS®) . To learn more about Employment Screening Resources, visit http://www.ESRcheck.com or contact Jared Callahan, ESR Director of Client Relations, at 415.898.0044 or jcallahan@ESRcheck.com.

Sources:

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2011/01/27/AR2011012706723.html

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2011/01/21/AR2011012106497.html

http://www.ice.gov/news/releases/1101/110120washingtondc.htm

http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748703951704576092381196958362.html?mod=ITP_pageone_1