Employment screening background checks have become a mission critical task to ensure employers avoid the legal and financial nightmare of hiring employees who are unfit, unqualified, dangerous, or dishonest. However, some employers have misconceptions concerning background checks. Here are eight simple truths every business, both large and small, should know about employment screening background checks. Continue reading
Lester Rosen, an Attorney and President of Employment Screening Resources (ESR), a background screening firm located in the San Francisco Bay area and accredited by The National Association of Professional Background Screeners (NAPBS®), will present a live webcast titled ‘Top Ten Trends for Background Screening in 2011 – What Every Employer Needs to Know’ for The Institute for Human Resources (IHR), the certification and accreditation process arm of HR.com, the largest social network and online community of Human Resources (HR) executives. The webcast takes place at the IHR Quality of Hire Virtual Workshop on Tuesday, April 19, 2011 from 12:30 p.m. to 1:30 p.m. ET. For more information, visit: http://www.hr.com. Continue reading
With negligent hiring currently one of the fastest growing areas of employment litigation, employers and Human Resources (HR) professionals need to implement legally compliant background screening processes to hire the best employees.
Employment Screening Resources (ESR), a background check firm located in Novato, California that is formally accredited by the National Association of Professional Background Screeners (NAPBS®), has announced its founder and President, Lester Rosen, will present an educational session titled ‘Negligent Hiring and Background Checks: Best Practices and Legal Compliance’ at the Northern California HR Association (NCHRA) HR West® 2011 at the Oakland Convention Center in Oakland, California on Monday, April 11, 2011 from 3:00 p.m. to 4:15 p.m. PST. For more information or to register for the event, visit: http://www.hrwest.org/. Continue reading
Lester Rosen, Attorney at Law and President of Employment Screening Resources (ESR), a background check company in Novato, California accredited by the National Association of Professional Background Screeners (NAPBS®), will present an educational session – ‘Negligent Hiring and Background Checks: Best Practices and Legal Compliance’ – for the San Francisco Employers Advisory Council (SF EAC). The event will take place on Thursday, April 7, 2011 from 8:00 a.m. to 10:00 a.m. Pacific Time at the San Francisco Chamber of Commerce, 235 Montgomery Street, in San Francisco, California. For more information or to register, visit: http://ceac.org/events/detail/san_francisco_04_07_11. Continue reading
By Thomas Ahearn, Employment Screening Resources (ESR) News Editor
A recent article from Inc.com, ‘How to Run a Credit Check,’ reveals best practices from experts for every step of the credit check process during employment screening so that employers may check the financial stability of potential employees.
According to the Inc.com article, employers using credit checks must consider the strong protections for potential employees that are built into federal regulations. They also need to be prepared for what to do with the results of the credit check and whether a bad credit history should automatically disqualify a job applicant from working at their business.
Financial background check experts – including Jared Callahan, Director of Client Relations for Employment Screening Resources (ESR) – agree the following five basic steps should be followed to get the most out of credit checks:
- Step #1 – Have a Permissible Use
- Step #2 – Get Permission
- Step #3 – Find a Service to Use
- Step #4 – Interpreting the Results
- Step #5 – Do a Test Run
Step #1 – Have a Permissible Use
The federal Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) dictates what constitutes a permissible use for credit reports:
- In connection with a credit transaction;
- Employment purposes;
- Underwriting of insurance;
- Professional licensing; and
- Account review or other legitimate business needs.
For employment purposes, Callahan says only potential employees seeking jobs related to financial responsibilities should be subjected to a credit check: “If you’ve got ditch diggers out in the middle of nowhere, a credit check might not be relevant.” Employers also need to make sure the credit report is for a relevant purpose and that they are not arbitrarily digging into someone’s financial history.
Step #2 – Get Permission
Federal law requires employers always disclose when they seek to run a credit check on job applicants and they need to get their permission in writing too, along with personal information since credit check agencies require a full name and Social Security number. “The candidate’s rights are absolutely bulletproof protected by the Fed and the state you are in,” Callahan says.
Step #3 – Find a Service to Use
After attaining the permission of applicants, employers running credit checks on potential employees may use services such as Employment Screening Resources (ESR) that provide special employment-only credit checks with other background check information. These services usually charge a fee to run a credit check.
Step #4 – Interpreting the Results
Experts advise that standards for weighing the results should be established before employers start running credit checks on job applicants and that it is important to have a plan in place for what items will signal “red flags” or warning signs.
However, Callahan warns employers against jumping to a conclusion no matter what the credit report says since up to 75 percent of all credit reports contain incorrect information, including wrong home addresses and inaccurate bankruptcy details. “You really have to take a credit report with a grain of salt,” says Callahan, who also suggests that employers give subjects of credit reports a chance to respond and produce authentication for any financial points appearing on the credit report.
Step #5 – Do a Test Run
Consumers can run their own credit reports since the FCRA allows consumers to receive one free credit report a year from each of the three main reporting agencies: Equifax, TransUnion, and Experian. Consumers running their own credit check can keep on top of financial issues such as identity theft while finding and correcting inaccurate information. Government regulations make it easy to go online and contest the details of credit reports.
Employment Screening Resources (ESR) – a leading background check provider accredited by The National Association of Professional Background Screeners (NAPBS®) – recommends that employers should approach the use of credit reports for employment purposes with caution and use them only if there is a business justification. The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) is very concerned about the use of credit reports for employment purposes and has filed legal actions against some firms that use credit reports alleging that it results in a disparate or discriminatory impact.
In addition, some states are considering, or have passed, legislation to restrict the use of credit reports for employment purposes. For example, effective January 3, 2011, the State of Illinois restricts employers from using credit reports for employment purposes. Under Illinois House Bill 4658 ‘The Employee Credit Privacy Act,’ employers in Illinois may not use a person’s credit history to determine employment, recruiting, discharge, or compensation.
The Inc.com article ‘How to Run a Credit Check’ is available at http://www.inc.com/guides/2010/12/how-to-run-a-credit-check.html.
For more information about credit checks, visit the Employment Screening Resources (ESR) website at http://www.ESRcheck.com.
Founded in 1996 in the San Francisco Bay area, Employment Screening Resources (ESR) is the company that wrote the book on background checks with ‘The Safe Hiring Manual’ by ESR founder and President Lester Rosen. Employment Screening Resources is accredited by The National Association of Professional Background Screeners (NAPBS®) Background Screening Credentialing Council (BSCC) for proving compliance with the Background Screening Agency Accreditation Program (BSAAP). ESR was the third U.S. background check firm to be ‘Safe Harbor’ Certified for data privacy protection. To learn more about ESR’s Leadership, Resources, and Solutions, visit http://www.ESRcheck.com or contact Jared Callahan, ESR Director of Client Relations, at 415.898.0044 or jcallahan@ESRcheck.com.
Employment Screening Resources (ESR) Fourth Annual ‘Top Ten Trends in Pre-Employment Background Screening’ for 2011 – Trend #10: New Accreditation Standards Help Employers Select Background Screening Firms
Before this year, employers were largely on their own when selecting a background screening firm. With hundreds upon hundreds of background screening firms to choose from, employers faced a bewildering landscape of competing claims that touted any number of bells and whistles that made it hard to distinguish one background screening provider form another. Some background screening firms had ISO (International Organization for Standardization) certification, but as noted in the article “Backgrounds to the Foreground” in the December 2010 issue of HR Magazine, the ISO designation is not specific to background screening and does not guarantee quality of products or services. Employers were also faced with “commercial” rankings published by private “for-profit” publications, which only added to the confusion. The problem for employers is that background screening is a critical function subject to intense legal regulation, and so the stakes are high.
In 2010, the National Association of Professional Background Screeners (NAPBS®) Background Screening Credentialing Council (BSCC) took significant steps towards solving this perplexing problem with the creation of the Background Screening Agency Accreditation Program (BSAAP) that covers all areas related to the background screening process and, most important, is professional and objective and not based upon any commercial considerations. The BSAAP advances professionalism in the background screening industry through the promotion of best practices, awareness of legal compliance, and development of standards that protect consumers.
A number of background screening firms have already completed the accreditation process with NAPBS – which was formed in 2003 as a non-profit trade association to promote professionalism in the background screening industry – and more firms are in the process of making a commitment to demonstrate professionalism by going through the accreditation process. The NAPBS press release announcing the companies that have successfully achieved compliance with the BSAAP, ‘Background Screening Credentialing Council Recognizes Accredited Companies,’ is available at: http://www.marketwatch.com/story/background-screening-credentialing-council-recognizes-accredited-companies-2010-12-01?reflink=MW_news_stmp.
An emerging trend for 2011 is that employers will start looking for the NAPBS BSCC accreditation seal during their selection process of a background screening firm. This industry “seal” will represent a background screening organization’s commitment to excellence, accountability, high professional standards, and continued institutional improvement. The advantage to employers is that they will know they are dealing with a background screening firm that has demonstrated their expertise and compliance in background screening processes. To become accredited, background screening firms – also known as Consumer Reporting Agencies or CRAs – must pass a rigorous onsite audit, conducted by an independent auditing firm, of its policies and procedures as they relate to six critical areas of the Background Screening Agency Accreditation Program:
- ‘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.
Any U.S.-based employment screening organization is eligible to apply for accreditation. A copy of the standard, the policies and procedures, and measurements is available on the NAPBS website at http://www.napbs.com/.
Employment Screening Resources (ESR) is releasing the ESR Fourth Annual ‘Top Ten Trends in Pre-Employment Background Screening’ for 2011 throughout December. This is the Tenth of the Top Ten Trends ESR will be tracking in 2011. To see a continuously updated list of ESR’s ‘Top Ten Trends in Pre-Employment Background Screening’ for 2011, visit: http://www.esrcheck.com/Top-Ten-Trends-In-Background-Screening-2011.php.
Founded in 1996 in the San Francisco Bay area, Employment Screening Resources (ESR) is the company that wrote the book on background checks with ‘The Safe Hiring Manual’ by ESR founder and President Lester Rosen. Employment Screening Resources is accredited by The National Association of Professional Background Screeners (NAPBS®) Background Screening Credentialing Council (BSCC) for proving compliance with the Background Screening Agency Accreditation Program (BSAAP). For more information about Employment Screening Resources, visit http://www.ESRcheck.com or contact Jared Callahan, ESR Director of Client Relations and Business Development, at 415.898.0044 or jcallahan@ESRcheck.com.
By Thomas Ahearn, ESR News Blog
Author, speaker, and safe hiring expert Lester Rosen, President of Employment Screening Resources (ESR), the company that literally wrote the book on background checks, will present a session titled ‘Background Checks: Trends, Best Practices, and Legal Developments’ at the 69th Annual HR Southwest Conference in Ft. Worth, Texas on Wednesday, October 13, 2010 at 8:30 AM local time. To register for the HR Southwest conference, visit http://www.hrsouthwest.com/GeneralInformation.aspx. For more information about educational sessions, visit http://www.hrsouthwestsessions.com/.
“As hiring increases, employers need to select safe, qualified, and honest candidates,” explains Rosen, an attorney at law and author of ‘The Safe Hiring Manual – The Complete Guide to Keeping Criminals, Terrorists, and Imposters Out of Your Workplace,’ a comprehensive guide for employment screening. “This session covers best practices and current issues in background checks, including EEOC considerations for criminal records and credit reports, and the dangers of using social networking sites.”
The presenter of ‘Background Checks: Trends, Best Practices, and Legal Developments,’ Lester Rosen, is a frequent speaker nationwide on pre-employment screening who has testified as an expert witness on issues surrounding safe hiring and due diligence. He was the chairperson of the steering committee that founded the National Association of Professional Background Screeners (NAPBS) and also served as the first co-chairman.
The 69th Annual HR Southwest Conference lasts from October 10 to October 13, 2010 and is the largest regional human resources conference in the United States.
About Employment Screening Resources (ESR):
Founded in 1996 in the San Francisco area, Employment Screening Resources (ESR) literally wrote the book on background checks with ‘The Safe Hiring Manual’ by ESR founder and President Lester Rosen. The company is a leading provider of information, education, and training on “all things background checks” and is dedicated to promoting a safe workplace for both employers and employees. In 2003, ESR was rated the top U.S. employment screening firm in the first independent study of the industry. To learn more about Employment Screening Resources, visit http://www.ESRcheck.com or contact Jared Callahan at 415.898.0044 or jcallahan@ESRcheck.com.
By Thomas Ahearn, ESR News Blog
Author, speaker, and safe hiring expert Lester Rosen, President of Employment Screening Resources (ESR), the company that literally wrote the book on background checks, will present a webinar titled ‘Background Screening Best Practices: How to Use the Web to Conduct Searches & Avoid Legal Landmines’ with the Institute of Management and Administration’s (IOMA) Institute of Financial Management (IOFM) on Friday, October 8, 2010 at 2:00 PM ET. For more information on this interactive webinar that will help participants discover key sources for gathering critical information while minimizing their liability, visit: http://www.iofm.com/products/view/background-screening-webinar.
“More companies are planning to use Internet searches for background screening in the next year. And many more have staff performing casual searches of Facebook, LinkedIn, and similar sources outside of the formal screening process,” explains Rosen, author of ‘The Safe Hiring Manual – The Complete Guide to Keeping Criminals, Terrorists, and Imposters Out of Your Workplace,’ the first comprehensive guide for employment screening. “The information can be invaluable, including helping to identify potentially dangerous employees and job candidates—but it’s not risk free. Using these sites to conduct investigations can present legal risks, raising both privacy and discrimination issues. Failure to follow best practices in collecting information from social media sites exposes organizations to unnecessary and costly litigation.”
Through case studies and viewing Internet sites, participants in the webinar ‘Background Screening Best Practices: How to Use the Web to Conduct Searches & Avoid Legal Landmines’ will join Rosen for a first-hand guided tour of the ins-and-outs of social networking sites, the treasure trove of information they contain, and the privacy and discrimination issues they raise. By joining Rosen for this tour of social networks as they apply to background screening of job candidates and employees, participants will:
- Learn why major employers, human resources, and security professionals use search engines and social network sites to screen candidates and gather information.
- Understand the full scope of risks in using these social network sites.
- Learn the myths and realities of investigations utilizing these sources: Isn’t everything on the web fair game since privacy is waived once someone places something on the Internet?
- Learn how discrimination laws and rules concerning off-duty conduct apply.
- Uncover best practices for conducting Internet investigations.
- Hear how to evaluate the pros and cons of using Internet sites in background screening.
- Get answers to specific questions in the Q&A session following the presentation.
The webinar presenter, Lester Rosen, is an attorney at law and a frequent speaker nationwide on pre-employment screening who has testified as an expert witness on issues surrounding safe hiring and due diligence. He was the chairperson of the steering committee that founded the National Association of Professional Background Screeners (NAPBS) and also served as the first co-chairman.
IOMA’s Institute of Finance Management (IOFM) is the leading source of information, tools, and resources for corporate managers and professionals in budgeting and cost control management.
About Employment Screening Solutions (ESR):
Founded in 1996 in the San Francisco area, Employment Screening Resources (ESR) literally wrote the book on background checks with ‘The Safe Hiring Manual’ by ESR founder and President Lester Rosen. The company is a leading provider of information, education, and training on “all things background checks” and is dedicated to promoting a safe workplace for both employers and employees. In 2003, ESR was rated the top U.S. employment screening firm in the first independent study of the industry. To learn more about Employment Screening Resources (ESR), please visit www.ESRcheck.com or contact Jared Callahan at 415.898.0044 or jcallahan@ESRcheck.com.
By Thomas Ahearn, ESR News Blog
A story from south Florida demonstrates how criminal results found in database searches during background checks may be incorrect and the problems and embarrassment that can result from such mistakes.
According to a report on NBCMiami.com, a candidate running for Cooper City, FL commission named David Nall was falsely labeled a criminal after a required background check database search erroneously stated that he had been arrested for credit card fraud in 1987.
Due to a recently passed ordinance, a background check on all nine candidates was conducted by City Hall, NBCMiami.com reports, and although City Hall never published the results of the background checks, they were released to five parties – including the Mayor’s Office – who requested them.
By the time Nall – who had no criminal record in a subsequent Florida Department of Law Enforcement (FDLE) check – was made aware of the mistake on his background check, supporters of his opponent’s campaign had already gone door-to-door with the false report and spread news of his supposedly crooked past through the small town, according to NBCMiami.com. Nall even told the South Florida Sun-Sentinel that that his ten-year-old daughter even asked him if he was a criminal.
NBCMiami.com also reports Cooper City blamed the incident on a defect in the database of the background check vendor, and posted a note on the City Hall website saying Nall had a clean record and apologized for releasing false information about him:
Please be advised that pursuant City Commission Resolution 10-8-4, as adopted on August 17, 2010, the City attempted to access a criminal history record check for all City Commission candidates for the November 2, 2010 City election. However, because of a defect in a portion of the criminal history record search data base, inaccurate information was received by the City (and made available for public inspection) mistakenly suggesting that District 2 Commission candidate David A. Nall had a criminal record from a 1987 matter. As a result of a prompt objection from Candidate Nall, the City immediately examined the matter further and has determined that the criminal history report received by the City was inaccurate and that there is no verification that any criminal violation ever occurred. Accordingly, please be advised that based upon reliable FDLE data, Candidate Nall has a clean (no criminal record) criminal history background check under the terms of Resolution 10-8-4. The City respectfully apologizes for this incident.
Based upon this news story, it appears the false accusation stemmed from a database search as part of a background check. As noted in numerous articles from Employment Screening Resources (ESR), such database searches can easily result in a “false positive,” meaning a person is incorrectly labeled a criminal when they are not. ESR has a policy of always checking the results of any database “hit” at the country courthouse level.
For more information on databases searches, read “Criminal Databases & Pre-Employment Screening: The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly,” which investigates all aspects of criminal database searches.
- The Good: Criminal records database searches are valuable because they cover a much larger geographical area than traditional searches, which are run at the county level. Since there are more than 3,200 jurisdictions in America, not all courts can be checked on-site.
- The Bad: Despite their value, criminal records databases have serious flaws, including incomplete records, name variations, and untimely information. Also keep in mind that database checks by private screening firms are NOT FBI records.
- The Ugly: Inaccuracy is only one pitfall of national criminal database searches. They also make employers vulnerable to a number of legal landmines, especially when it comes to confirming if the record is current and accurate and even belongs to the applicant.
The article can be found at http://www.esrcheck.com/articles/Criminal_Databases.php. For more information on background checks and database searches, visit Employment Screening Resources (ESR) at http://www.ESRcheck.com.
The boundaries of using the internet for employment decisions was tested in a Michigan case involving the termination of a teacher that was photographed without her consent at an adult party engaged in a simulated sexual act, where students were not present and the conduct was not unlawful. Continue reading