This newsletter is sent to clients of Employment Screening Resources (ESR), as well as employers, Human Resources and Security professionals, and law firms who require information on pre-employment screening, safe hiring, the FCRA and legal compliance. If this was sent in error, you can be removed from this mailing by using the â€œremove” feature at the end of the newsletter.
(Reading time: Less than 5 minutes)
June 2004 Vol. 4, No. 6
Employment Screening Resources (ESR) Newsletter and Legal Update
According to statistics maintained by ESRâ€™s international division, resume fraud is a worldwide issue. When verifying past employment around the globe major discrepancies in employment information appeared 22% of the time. The overall discrepancy rate for education was 20%, consisting of a 16% rate of candidates claiming accomplishment they did not have and another 4% claiming degrees from fake schools or diploma mills. These figures include both U.S. citizens claiming international credentials as well as individuals from abroad. In every screening, the candidates knew they were subject to screening and willingly signed consent forms. These statistics underscore the fact that by just accepting international credentials without questions, employers will have a 20-22% rate of candidates with fraudulent credentials.
With the increased mobility of the international workforce across borders, US employers are more often dealing with applicants who have spent time abroad. Although international screening has its own challenges, there are resources available to employers to verify international education, employment and even international criminal checks.
According to a recent news story (June, 2004), a civil case was settled for $9 million, where a well-known air conditioner repair firm sent a worker, who was a twice-convicted sex offender, to a home where he killed the homeowner. According to news sources, the repairman cleaned the air ducts of the home and then returned six months later and raped and murdered the victim. In an attempt to cover up the crime and destroy DNA evidence, the murderer set fire to her body and her home. A criminal background check would have revealed the repairmanâ€™s criminal past.
The victimâ€™s family has started an organization called The Sue Weaver CAUSE-Consumer Awareness of Unsafe Service Employment. The purpose is to raise awareness that not all contractors can be trusted. It is also pressing for legislation to require companies that send employees into homes to conduct background checks before hiring these employees or agents.
The case underscores the heightened responsibilities of employers who send workers into peopleâ€™s homes. For additional information on what consumers should know before letting a repair person into their home, see an article by ESR entitled: Protecting Yourself When Inviting Workers Into Your Home â€” Five Easy Steps http://www.esrcheck.com/articles/homeprotection.php
As reported in previous editions of the ESR Newsletter, the federal Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) was substantially amended in 2003. The new law was called the Fair and Accurate Credit Transactions Act of 2003.
One important provision for employers was the change in the statute of limitations, the time limit set by law during which a person must bring legal action on a case for injuries.
The previous statute of limitations was two years. The law increased the time period to five (5) years.
Section 618 [15 U.S.C. Â§ 1681p] of the FCRA was amended to read:
â€œAn action to enforce any liability created under this title may be brought in any appropriate United States district court, without regard to the amount in controversy, or in any other court of competent jurisdiction, not later than the earlier of (1) 2 years after the date of discovery by the plaintiff of the violation that is the basis for such liability; or (2) 5 years after the date on which the violation that is the basis for such liability occurs.â€
For employers, this may effect the time period for retention of documents related to pre-employment screening. That is because an individual can bring an action for up to five years after the event. Since many jurisdictions allow a plaintiff up to one year in which to serve a lawsuit, a good rule of thumb may be to retain all documents relating to background screening for a six-year period. An employer with any questions about document retention should contact their legal counsel.
ESR is please to participate in the following seminars across the United States:
November 4, 2004–Santa Rosa, CA “Practical Tips For Successful HR Management” Lorman Seminars. See www.lorman.com
October 6, 2004–Dallas, TX “Crimes, Criminals and Human Resources” HRSouthwest Annual Conference. See www.HRsouthwest.com
September 29, 2004–Dallas, TX “Safe Hiring Audit-Implementing and Measuring Due Diligence.” ASIS International 2004 Seminar & Exhibits. See www.asisonline.org
September 13/14-Oakland, CA “Extreme Caution Advised: Dealing with Federal and State Laws that Regulate Pre-Employment Screening and Safe Hiring.” Northern California Human Resources Association (NCHRA) Annual Conference. See www.nchra.org
September 2, 2004–Long Beach, CA “Safe Hiring Audit-Implementing and Measuring Due Diligence.” 2004 Professionals in Human Resources Association (PIHRA) Annual Conference. See www.PIHRA.org
August 24, 2004–Santa Rosa, CA “How to Hire Winners!” Lorman Seminars. See www.lorman.com
Contact ESR for further details.
Employment Screening Resources (ESR)
1620 Grant Avenue, Suite 7
Novato, CA 94945