After a decade of existence, the National Association of Professional Background Screeners (NAPBS®) will celebrate ten years of being “The Voice of Screening Professionals” at the 2013 10th Anniversary NAPBS Annual Conference at the J.W. Marriott Desert Ridge Resort & Spa in Phoenix, Arizona from September 15 to 17, 2013. For information about the 2013 NAPBS Annual Conference, visit http://www.napbs.com/i4a/pages/index.cfm?pageID=3618. Continue reading
The idea that there exists one single “national database” for background checks with accurate and complete criminal record information for every person in America is a “popular myth” fueled by movies and television crime programs, according to a blog written by a member of the National Association of Professional Background Screeners (NAPBS®) Board of Directors. The blog is available at http://thehill.com/blogs/congress-blog/judicial/291939-national-database-for-background-checks-is-a-myth. Continue reading
The National Association of Professional Background Screeners (NAPBS®) – the voice representing the background screening industry – will hold the NAPBS 2013 Mid-Year Legislative Conference from April 14 to 17, 2013 at the Renaissance Arlington Capital View Hotel in Arlington, Virginia. The Conference will feature the largest collection of background screening professionals in the world and provide education about the latest breakthroughs on laws, best practices, and research in the consumer reporting field. To learn more about the Conference, visit http://www.napbs.com/i4a/pages/index.cfm?pageid=3593. Continue reading
The state of Oregon has specified in the Oregon Administrative Rules (OAR) that all background screening firms must be accredited by the National Association of Professional Background Screeners (NAPBS) or pass certain other requirements in order to conduct a criminal background check for certain health workers. The Oregon Administrative Rules are available at http://arcweb.sos.state.or.us/pages/rules/oars_300/oar_333/333_536.html. Continue reading
A letter of public comment was recently submitted by Attorney and safe hiring expert Lester Rosen, Founder and CEO of Employment Screening Resources (ESR), to the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights (USCCR). The comments by Rosen supplemented views stated by the National Association of Professional Background Screeners (NAPBS) at a December 7, 2012 briefing on the impact of criminal background checks and the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission’s (EEOC) conviction records policy on employment of black and Hispanic workers. To read the entire letter, visit http://www.esrcheck.com/Lester-Rosen-Public-Comments-to-USCCR.php. Continue reading
In 2012, after reported cases of inaccurate criminal background checks costing job seekers employment, the background screening industry faced greater scrutiny over accuracy of reports. This increased attention included a Federal Trade Commission (FTC) report recommending regulations on data brokers, the FTC charging companies with alleged Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) violations, a National Consumer Law Center (NCLC) report on inaccurate background checks, two New York Times editorials, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) increasing supervision of background checks, and an NBC Today Show report on background check errors. In response, the National Association of Professional Background Screeners (NAPBS) refuted reports critical of the screening industry and pointed to an accreditation program created to improve accuracy. This focus on accuracy is Trend 1 of the 6th Annual ‘ESR Top Ten Background Check Trends for 2013’ available at http://www.esrcheck.com/Top-Ten-Background-Check-Trends-for-2013.php. Continue reading
For the last day of the year, nationwide accredited background check provider Employment Screening Resources (ESR) – http://www.esrcheck.com – has chosen the following ‘Top 20 Stories for Background Check Screening for 2012’ from the ESR News blog at http://www.esrcheck.com/wordpress/. Here are the top 20 stories for 2012 from ESR in order of the date posted: Continue reading
With accuracy in employment screening a critical element in the current business environment, the National Association of Professional Background Screeners (NAPBS) is offering employers five best practice tips for screening job applicants to ensure the highest degree of professionalism in background checks. To read ‘NAPBS Offers Tips for Screening Job Candidates in 2013,’ visit http://www.marketwatch.com/story/napbs-offers-tips-for-screening-job-candidates-in-2013-2012-11-28. Continue reading
By Thomas Ahearn, ESR Staff Writer
According to popular TV crime dramas, today’s investigators, along with old fashioned gut instincts, use all technology at their disposal when it comes to tracking down and arresting the bad guys. One such technological advantage is a centrally located national computer database containing all past criminal records of anyone who ever killed, stole, drove drunk, or even jaywalked. Best of all, these super crime databases are never, ever wrong.
However, the reality is quite different say experts in employment screening, and also recent headlines. The potential for errors in crime databases was evident in the case of a Maryland woman who lost her job after a background check performed through the FBI National Criminal Information Center (NCIC) indicated that she was unsuitable to work on the contract her company had won to handle mail for the Social Security Administration (SSA).
According to the Baltimore Sun, when the SSA performed a routine background check on the woman in July 2009 for low-level security clearance, the results showed she was “unsuitable” to work on the contract. The subsequent SSA letter to her employer did not specify what the background check had uncovered. The employer fired the woman rather than keep her off the contract.
The woman maintained that she had no criminal history, a claim backed by the Baltimore Sun, which only uncovered a civil case possibly involving a suit against her late father’s estate, and also by the SSA itself, which sent a letter to her employer saying as much. The SSA letter said the woman had passed a pre-screening check and could work on the SSA contract pending a final determination. Instead of reinstating her, the woman’s former company told her to re-apply for her job, then that the department was reorganizing, and later that it had no intention of restoring her old position.
The Baltimore Sun reported that the woman has since learned that an unspecified error in the FBI NCIC database, a repository for criminal records and information on fugitives, stolen property and missing persons fed to the database from local, state. and federal law-enforcement agencies around the country, was the cause for the SSA’s initial determination that she was unsuitabol.
“lthough the NCIC data is the closet thing that exists to a national criminal database, it is not nearly as complete as portrayed in the movies,” ated Les Rosen, Founder and President of Employment Screening Resources (ESR), a nationwide pre-employment screening company. “Many records of crime do not make it into the system because of the chain of events that must happen in multiple jurisdictions in order for a crime to appear in NCIC.”
According to Rosen, author of The Safe Hiring Manual: How To Keep Criminals, Terrorists, and Imposters Out of Your Workplace, employers cannot even access the NCIC unless they are specifically authorized to by law. There are over 10,000 state and federal courthouses in the United States spread out over some 3,300 jurisdictions, each with its own records file.
“Contrary to popular belief, there is actually no central location for all U.S. criminal records,” says Rosen. “There is simply no national computer database of all criminal records available to private employers.”
A 2005 report sponsored byÂ the National Association of Professional Background Screeners (NAPBS), of which Rosen is a past co-chair, reviewed the National Crime Information Center and the Interstate Identification System in order to evaluate its effectiveness in maintaining accurate and complete criminal history records.
Some conclusions from the NAPBS sponsored study were:
- Many states do not report information concerning dispositions, declinations to prosecute, failure to charge after fingerprints have been submitted, and expungements.
- Inconsistency in the various state’s reporting requirements and criminal codes impacts the completeness and accuracy of the records.
- The timeliness of transmission by the local jurisdictions to the state criminal history repositories remains problematic.
- There are still significant time lags between the time information is transmitted to the state repository and entry into the criminal history records.
- The process used to linking data to the proper individual and case is still ineffective.
- Serious problems remain in the process to link dispositional information to the proper case and charge.
- The format and terminology used by the various states creates problems of interpretation for individuals in other states who are using the information.
- Even when a criminal record is searched based fingerprints instead of name matches, many of the same issues still exist.
As the case of the Maryland woman fired from her job due to an “unspecified error” in the NCIC shows, the FBI database, while still the gold standard for those limited employers authorized by state or federal law to access it, is still more of an arrest databases that is not as accurate or complete as people think.
http://www.justice.gov/olp/pdf/ncicreportaugust32005.pdfÂ (ContainsÂ letter to the Department of Justice by Employment Screening Resources Â on FBI records as well as report sponosred by NAPBS)
By Jim Crockett, Employment Screening Resources
A big positive development for employers, and human resources and security professionals is that the national nonprofit trade organization for the screening industry has firmly established itself as the voice of the screening industry, and is fostering higher levels of professionalism. The National Association of Professional Background Screeners (www.NAPBS.com), was established in 2003 to promote ethical business practices, promote compliance with the Fair Credit Reporting Act and foster awareness of issues related to consumer protection and privacy rights within the background screening industry.
One of the big frustrations for employers is how to choose a Background Screening firm. After exhaustive efforts on the part of a great many dedicated screening professionals, NAPBS is conisdering an accreditation program that would give employers much more confidence in selecting a background screening firm. An accreditation program provides a baseline of professional competency that employers can rely upon. Assuming accreditation comes into being, employers will still need to find a screening firm that fits their needs, but at least such a program will help an employer determine whether a firm meets a certain level of professionalism.
Employment Screening Resources was a founding member of NAPBS, and its president, Lester Rosen, was the chairperson of the steering committee that founded NAPBS and served as its first co-chair.