Tag Archives: legal updates

Several US States Now have Laws Regulating Use of Credit Reports for Employment Purposes

A number of U.S. states have either passed, or are considering passing, laws regulating credit reports used by employers for employment purposes. Most recently, California Governor Jerry Brown signed Assembly Bill 22 into law that prohibits employers or prospective employers in California, with the exception of certain financial institutions, from obtaining consumer credit reports for employment purposes beginning on January 1, 2012. Here is a summary of the seven states – California, Connecticut, Hawaii, Illinois, Maryland, Oregon, and Washington – that currently have laws regulating credit report use by employers. Continue reading

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

Employment Screening Resources President Lester Rosen Presents Session at 69th Annual HR Southwest Conference in Ft. Worth TX on October 13

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.

Sources:
http://www.hrsouthwest.com/GeneralInformation.aspx
http://www.hrsouthwestsessions.com/

New Massachusetts CORI Reform Law Prohibits Employers from Asking About Criminal Convictions on Initial Job Applications Starting November 4

By Thomas Ahearn, ESR News Blog

Starting November 4, 2010, employers in Massachusetts will no longer be able to ask about convictions on “initial” job applications.

In August 2010, Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick signed into law new legislation that prohibits employers from asking questions on initial written job applications about criminal offender record information, which includes criminal charges, arrests, and incarceration.

The new law overhauls the Commonwealth’s Criminal Offender Record Information (CORI) law and contains several provisions that will affect the way employers use the criminal histories of prospective and current employees and impact Massachusetts employers performing criminal background checks on job applicants and employees.

According to a ‘Management Alert’ from law firm Sayfarth & Shaw, while the new law does not prevent employers from obtaining criminal histories of job applicants or employees contained in the CORI database, under the CORI reform law those records will no longer contain:

  • Felony convictions closed for more than ten years, whether convictions occurred more than ten years ago or individuals were released more than ten years ago.
  • Misdemeanor convictions closed for more than five years.

In addition, the alert indicates the new law also includes the following provisions:

  • Employers that decide not to hire applicants or take adverse actions based on criminal histories in CORI reports must first give applicants copies of the reports.
  • Employers conducting five (5) or more criminal background checks per year must maintain a written criminal offender record information policy.
  • Employers are prohibited from maintaining CORI records of former employees or unsuccessful job applicants for more than seven years from the last date of employment or from the date of the decision not to hire the job applicant.

As previously reported on the ESR News Blog, the initial application of the CORI reform law provision which restricts questions by employers about criminal history on initial written job applications will take effect on November 4, 2010. Employers who continue to ask questions on initial written applications about felony or misdemeanor convictions after that date may be subject to liability under the new law, experts warn. The other provisions described regarding the new law do not take effect until February 6, 2012.

For more information about employment background checks and the latest legal updates for employers, visit Employment Screening Resources (ESR) at http://www.ESRcheck.com.

Sources:
http://www.malegislature.gov/Laws/SessionLaws/Acts/2010/Chapter256
http://www.seyfarth.com/dir_docs/news_item/8795eabd-0b60-47f6-9164-a58c9faf0d7a_documentupload.pdf
http://www.esrcheck.com/wordpress/2010/08/12/new-massachusetts-law-prohibits-employers-from-inquiring-about-criminal-convictions-on-initial-job-applications/

New Massachusetts Law Prohibits Employers from Inquiring About Criminal Convictions on Initial Job Applications

By Thomas Ahearn, ESR News Blog

Starting November 4, 2010, employers in Massachusetts will no longer be able to ask about convictions on “initial” job applications after Governor Deval Patrick signed into law new legislation prohibiting employers from asking questions on initial written job applications about criminal offender record information, which includes criminal charges, arrests, and incarceration.

The new law overhauls the Commonwealth’s Criminal Offender Record Information (CORI) law and contains several provisions that will affect the way employers use the criminal histories of prospective and current employees and impact Massachusetts employers performing criminal background checks on job applicants and employees.

According to a news alert from Sayfarth & Shaw, while the new law does not prevent employers from obtaining criminal histories of job applicants or employees contained in the CORI database, under the CORI reform law those records will no longer contain:

  • Felony convictions closed for more than ten years, whether convictions occurred more than ten years ago or individuals were released more than ten years ago.
  • Misdemeanor convictions closed for more than five years.

In addition, the news alert indicates the new law also includes the following provisions:

  • Employers that decide not to hire applicants or take adverse actions based on criminal histories in CORI reports must first give applicants copies of the reports.
  • Employers conducting five (5) or more criminal background checks per year must maintain a written criminal offender record information policy.
  • Employers are prohibited from maintaining CORI records of former employees or unsuccessful job applicants for more than seven years from the last date of employment or from the date of the decision not to hire the job applicant.

As for effective dates for the CORI reform law, the initial application provision which restricts questions by employers about criminal history on initial written job applications will take effect on November 4, 2010. Employers who continue to ask questions on initial written applications about felony or misdemeanor convictions after that date may be subject to liability under the new law, according to the news alert. The other provisions described regarding the new law do not take effect until February 6, 2012.

For more information about employment background checks, and the latest legal updates, please visit Employment Screening Resources (ESR) at http://www.ESRcheck.com.

Sources:

http://www.malegislature.gov/Laws/SessionLaws/Acts/2010/Chapter256

http://www.mass.gov/legis/bills/house/185/ht01pdf/ht01416.pdf

http://www.seyfarth.com/dir_docs/news_item/8795eabd-0b60-47f6-9164-a58c9faf0d7a_documentupload.pdf