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October, 2003 Vol. 3, No. 10

1. A Deadly Summer for Workplace Violence

2. Tools for Employers-Avoiding Education Fraud

3. 2004 FCRA Amendments Pending in US Senate

4. Embezzlement and Detecting Liars at Interviews: ESR Featured in Two HR Magazine Articles from SHRM

1. A Deadly Summer for Workplace

This past summer has seen tragedies strike workplaces across the country.

In Chicago, seven people were killed when a former employee stormed an auto
parts warehouse armed with a semi-automatic handgun.

In June, a man at a Lockheed Martin aircraft parts plant in Meridian, MS,
shot 14 co-workers, killing six of them.

Although the totals are not in for
2003, the US Department of Labor reported there were 639 workplace homicides in 2001. Even though the
serious incidents grabbed the headlines, the problem is much deeper. The Department of Labor reports that two
million Americans are subject to some form of workplace violence each year, ranging
from serious assaults, sex crimes and robbery, to battery and threats of

Many experts agree that although it
is not possible to predict who will be violent, the number one common
denominator in episodes of workplace violence is a history of past
violence. Since many employers will not
give references or report past violence, the primary tool that employers have
to try to screen out potentially violent employees is a background check that
includes a check for criminal records.

For information on how to include background checks and pre-employment
screening as part of an overall strategy to effectively deal with
workplace violence, see the ESR knowledge base at:

2. Tools for
Employers-Avoiding Degree Fraud with Education Checks

Studies have shown that as many as 30% of all job applicants
falsify information about their educational backgrounds. This high percentage
underscores the need to do research on the educational qualifications of
candidates. Confirming diplomas, degrees, or certificates, along with dates of
attendance, verifies applicants’ education and skills as an indication of their
ability to do the job. It also supports their honesty if claims they have made
on an application are substantiated.

Schools and universities can normally be located through
directory assistance or on the Internet. To verify education, start by asking
for the Registrar’s Office. Many schools will give verifications over the
phone. Some require use of an Internet-based service. Others might require a
small fee to be sent to them, or a release faxed over, before they will provide
you with information. A pre-employment
screening firm can also offers this service on an outsourced basis.

Another problem that has arisen for employers are diploma mills that give
worthless degrees. According to the State of Oregon Office of Degree
Authorization, “Diploma mills (or
degree mills) are substandard or fraudulent “colleges” that offer potential
students degrees with little or no serious work. Some are simple frauds: a
mailbox to which people send money in exchange for paper that purports to be a
college degree. Others require some nominal work from the student but do not
require college-level course work that is normally required for a degree.”

Diploma mills should not be confused with legitimate schools that offer
valuable distance-learning programs over the Internet. If an employer is not familiar with a
school, an employer should review the school’s web site to check out the
curriculum, faculty and graduation requirements. More information about diploma mills and fake degrees are
available at

3. 2004
FCRA Amendments Pending in US Senate

As reported in previous editions
of the ESR Newsletter, Congress is taking up crucial issues this
year concerning the federal Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA). In September, 2003, the House of Representatives,
by a vote of 392-30, passed H.R.
2622, known as the Fair and
Accurate Credit Transactions Act of 2003
. The bill is now pending in
the US Senate.

The bill addresses several key issues effecting employers. The
bill exempts
third party investigations of current employees from the FCRA. Under an interpretation of the FCRA issued
by the Federal Trade Commission in the “Vail” letter, the FTC indicated
that the full FCRA notice and disclosure rules that apply to pre-employment screening must also be followed when it comes to any investigation of current
for misconduct. This has been criticized by Human Resources,
Legal and Security experts as crippling investigations of sexual harassment
claims, as well as other misconduct such as theft or threatened workplace
violence. If the bill passes, the
“Vail” letter will be repealed.

The bill also deals with the
expiration in 2004 of sections of the FCRA that preempt states from passing
laws that conflict with certain portions of the FCRA. HR 2622 “re-authorizes” the FCRA in 2004 so that there is one uniform credit system governed by the federal law rather than a hodge-podge of
different laws, varying from state to state.

ESR will continue to monitor the progress of this
critical legislation.

Embezzlement and Detecting Liars at Interviews: ESR Featured in Two HR Magazine Articles from SHRM

The cover
story for the October, 2003 edition of HR Magazine by SHRM concerned employee
theft and embezzlement. Another story
was called, “Spotting Lies. Reference checks
alone won’t protect you from a mendacious job applicant.”

Both articles featured extensive quotes from ESR’s president and attorney,
Lester S. Rosen. The articles can be
found a, or by clicking:

information on the articles, please contact ESR Sales and Marketing Director
Jared Callahan at 415-898-0044, or by e-mail at
[email protected]

educational opportunities where ESR is participating include:

November 21, 2003–New Orleans, LA– “Crimes,
Criminals and Background Screening.”
Presentation to the
National Credit Reporting Association Annual Conference.  

November 12, 2003–Tampa, FL –Pre-employment
Screening, Safe Hiring and Homeland Security.”
seminar on safe hiring and due diligence by ESR in conjunction
with the HR Screener, a new national publication on
pre-employment screening and safe hiring for HR professionals. Safety
Harbor Resort and Spa, Tampa, FL See the HR Screener>>>

November 10, 2003- Tampa, FL-National Convention of Background Screening
Firms-“Legal Update– What Every Background Firm Needs To Know
About the FCRA and Laws Effecting Pre-Employment Screening.
” (For
background firm and record retrievers only).

October 23, 2003–Chicago, IL –Pre-employment
Screening, Safe Hiring and Homeland Security.”
seminar on safe hiring and due diligence by ESR in conjunction
with the HR Screener, a new national publication on
pre-employment screening and safe hiring for HR professionals. Ramada
Plaza Hotel, Rosemont, IL See the HR Screener>>>

Contact ESR for further

Please feel free to
contact Jared Callahan at ESR at 415-898-0044
or [email protected] if
you have any questions or comments about the matters in this newsletter. Please
note that ESR’s statements about any legal matters are not
given or intended as legal advice.

Screening Resources (ESR)

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