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November, 2003 Vol. 3, No. 11  

Employment Screening Resources (ESR)
Newsletter and Legal Update

-both the US House of Representatives and the Senate have passed
versions of new legislation changing the federal Fair
Credit Reporting Act (FCRA). Once
a final bill has been passed, ESR will summarize the impact on safe hiring and
workplace investigations for employers.

1. Background Checks on Rise for Volunteers and Youth, Sports and Church Organizations

2. Detecting Lies at Interviews

3. Employer Tool-Driving Records

4. ESR Featured in Two Nationwide Audio Conferences on Safe Hiring and Due Diligence

1. Background Checks on
Rise for Volunteers and Youth, Sports and Church Organizations

This past year has seen a substantial increase in volunteer groups, youth
organizations ands churches performing background checks. Checks for criminal
records have become a standard procedure for organizations that work with
children, including sports groups such as Little League and soccer, and youth
organizations, such as Scouts. The increased emphasis on these checks has been
fueled by numerous news stories and lawsuits about children being the victim of
criminal conduct, especially sexual abuse. Background checks help protect
children from criminals who use volunteering, and youth groups and church
organizations to gain access to children.

In some states, there is legislation that permits organizations to take
advantage of state fingerprinting or criminal record programs. However, organizations can also utilize the
services of private firms that can provide fast, low-cost background checks.

One tool is a criminal offender database that includes over 100 million
criminal records from over 37 states. These are typically very low-cost and instant searches that will also
include some sexual offender database information. Although a very valuable tool, it should be used with caution
since it does not cover all states and is not exhaustive, meaning that
volunteers and individuals with criminal records can escape detection. Any organization that is planning on
performing background checks must very carefully review their own situation,
including resources available in their state, to develop a cost-effective
program. In addition, organizations can
use no-cost tools to weed out potential problems, such as thorough reference

For information on how to protect children, see the ESR knowledge base at: or contact Jared Callahan at Employment Screening Resources (ESR) at

2. Detecting Lies at Interviews

A recent feature article in HR Magazine by SHRM demonstrates
why employers are at a distinct disadvantage when it comes to spotting liars at
interviews. Although industry
statistics suggest that as many as 30% of all job applicants falsify
information about their credentials, the evidence is clear that merely trying
to spot liars at interview is difficult, if not impossible.

According to the article, it can be a delusion for an interviewer to think
lying can be detected by visual clues or relying upon instinct or intuition.
For example, fidgeting, stuttering or avoiding eye contact could simply be
symptoms of nervousness about the interview rather than intent to lie.

The article quotes a study that concluded that 95% of the time, a person’s
chance of deducting if someone is lying is only 50-50 at best, and the study
included trained professionals, such as police officers, FBI and CIA agents,
and judges.

The article also quotes ESR founder Lester S. Rosen. According to Rosen, although most applicants
are honest, one bad hire can create a legal and financial nightmare for a
company. In addition, it is difficult
to spot applicants who lie since they often have told the lies about their
career so often that it becomes second nature.

The bottom line for HR and Security professionals is that although instinct
is valuable, it does not substitute for factual verification of an applicant’s
credentials through background checks and other safe hiring techniques.

For a list of safe hiring tools, see:

See the article at:

3. Employer Tool-Driving

Many employers utilize driving records as a
safe hiring tool. For a person who is driving a company vehicle or is in a “driving”
position for the company, such a check is a necessity. However, “driving for work” is very broadly
defined in most jurisdictions. It can cover any employee that is behind the
wheel of a car for the employer’s benefit. For example, an employee that drives to the office supply store during
lunch, or between branches of the same firm, or even attends classes that are
paid for by the company can be considered “driving for work.” If an accident occurs, in any of those
situations, an employer may also be sued. The one time an employer likely has no responsibility for an employee’s
driving is for an employee who only drives to work and drives home.

For positions that involve driving, an
employer can review the applicant’s driving history and verify a license’s
status. A check of the driving record may also give insight into the
applicant’s level of responsibility. Just having moving violations may not
relate to the ability to perform the job, but if an applicant has a history of
failing to appear in court or pay fines, that can have bearing on their level
of responsibility.

Since driving records are statewide, it may
be the first place that difficulties with drugs or alcohol are revealed if
there is a driving related violation. (However, there are restrictions on the
use of this information under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and
certain state laws and the employer must determine whether the information is

Driving records can also be obtained
nationwide through a firm that specializes in background checks (although some
states have restrictions). For more
information on driving records, contact Jared Callahan at Employment Screening
Resources (ESR) at 415-898-0044

4. ESR Featured
in Two Nationwide Audio Conferences on Safe Hiring and Due Diligence

ESR will be featured in national audio conferences
sponsored by two prestigious national publishers in December.

The first conference is sponsored by the Bureau of National
Affairs (BNA), which is the foremost publisher of print and electronic
news, analysis, and reference products, providing intensive coverage of legal
and regulatory developments for decision makers in business and

The second conference is sponsored by Strafford
Publications, Inc., a leading national publisher of specialized
information services in both print and electronic form. Strafford serves the
accounting, legal and management consulting professions, and the security and
loss prevention markets.

Here are the details:

December 9, 2003--Audio
Conference sponsored by BNA– “Criminal Records Use: What the HR
Professional Must Know To Avoid Bad Hires and Legal Problems.”
panel including ESR president Lester S. Rosen Time: 2:00 to 3:15 EST.


December 2, 2003-Audio Conference sponsored by Strafford Publications– “CONTROLLING
RISK AND LIABILITY in Security Operations and Guard Force Management.”

Expert panel including ESR president Lester S. Rosen: Time: 1:00 to 2:30
EST. See:

educational opportunities where ESR is participating include:

February 19, 2004–Newark/Fremont, CA– Drugs, Sex
and Murder–An Introduction to Safe Hiring and Pre-employment Screening in
(A three hour workshop sponsored by he
NCHRA-details to be announced)

February 24, 2004–San Francisco, CA– Drugs, Sex
and Murder–An Introduction to Safe Hiring and Pre-employment Screening in
(A three hour workshop sponsored by he
NCHRA-details to be announced)

March 10, 2004–Stockton, CA. “Crimes,
Criminals and Human Resources.”
San Joaquin Human Resource
Association (SJHRA) at Noon. See

April 20-21, 2004-Washington, D.C.
SHRM 35th Annual Employment Management Association (EMA) Conference and
Topic: “Safe Hiring Audit-Implementing
and Measuring Due Diligence in Your Hiring.”

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)



Grant Avenue, Suite 7

Novato, CA 94945


Employment Screening
Resources (ESR
Rated Top Background Screening Firm in First Independent Industry Study

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