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 “remove” feature at the end of the newsletter.

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July 2006 Vol. 6, No. 7

Employment Screening Resources (ESR) Newsletter and Legal Update

1. In the news: Going Online to Research Candidates

2. Florida Lawsuit Questions if Fast Food Restaurants Have a Duty to Conduct Background Checks or Warn Minors if They are Working with a Sexual Offender

3. Say again? Ambiguous References

4. ESR Speaks

1. In the news: Going Online to Research Candidates

It has been a common practice for students graduating from college to investigate potential employers by running them on a search engine such as Google. However, according to a recent news article in the New York Times, the trend is now for employers to not only Google college students, but to research social networking sites as well, such as Facebook, or MySpace. The big problem for college students: social networking sites are intended for other students and often times will have pictures or commentary that they did not intend an employer to see. The predictable result is that some college students are finding difficulty getting interviews or callbacks. The article cited a specific case of a recruiter interviewing at a major East Coast university, who went to a student’s Facebook page. The recruiter was shocked to see explicit photographs and commentary about the student’s romantic escapades, drinking and pot smoking. It even included a picture of the young woman passed out as a result of drinking. That ended that job opportunity.

Because the employer or recruiters are going to the internet directly, and not engaging the services of a pre-employment screening firm, the federal Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) is not involved. That means that an employer is not required to send an adverse action letter if they come across material that they find objectionable. As a result, students can find themselves effectively blacklisted and may not even know why.

Employers are well advised, however, to exercise caution before using the internet to do applicant research. An employer can face allegations of unlawful discrimination if the online research reveals information that may not be used directly, or indirectly, to limit a person’s employment opportunities, such as race, color, religion, national origin, ancestry, medical condition, disability, marital status, or sex (including pregnancy).

Job applicants are well advised to research themselves to find out what is potentially available on the web that potential employers may see.

2. Florida Lawsuit Questions if Fast Food Restaurants Have a Duty to Conduct Background Checks or Warn Minors if they are Working with a Sexual Offender

According to a July 2006 news report, a 16-year-old central Florida teenager has sued her former employer for Negligent Hiring where a fast food restaurant hired a convicted sexual offender as a supervisor, who molested the teenager. According to the suit, the teenage victim was fired after reporting what the convicted sexual offender did to her.

The ex-offender was a 27 year old on probation while working at a fast food place. One of the conditions of his probation was not to be alone with any minor.

Although it is not clear at this early stage if the employer did a background check, or was aware of the criminal background, the case rises interesting points: if the employer did, in fact, know the manager was a convicted offender on probation but decided to hire him anyway, was there an obligation to warn other employees of the danger, especially minors? Although Florida law creates a presumption that an employer was not negligent in their hiring if they perform a background check, there is apparently no statutory requirement that employees be informed of any danger if an offender is hired. According to the article, a state representative, Sheri McInvale, is reviewing existing law to give protection to minors in the workplace.

Part of the problem according to the minor’s lawyer is that in the fast food industry, which has high turnover, independent owners are not required to perform background checks. The lawyer indicated that they are already getting calls of similar events in other fast food establishments. See

For information on how the Florida law operates to give employers protections, or more information on negligent hiring for your industry, contact attorney and ESR Compliance Director,Vince Pascarella, at [email protected] or 415-898-0044 ext. 241

3. Say again? Ambiguous References

Have you been asked to write a letter of recommendation for someone who does not deserve one and tried to figure out what to do? Have you received similar letters and are not sure what they really mean? Help is available in the form of the “Lexicon of Intentionally Ambiguous Recommendations (LIAR),” by Robert Thornton. This handy volume provides numerous examples of recommendations that can be read in more than one way. Here are a few examples:

  • You will be very fortunate to get this person to work for you (Meaning-She/He is not very industrious)
  • He could not have done a better job if he had tried (meaning-he/she is both lazy and incompetent)
  • He spared no effort in his work (he/she did as little as possible)
  • He would like nothing better than working for you (He would rather do nothing at all)
  • An employee like him is hard to find (He disappears frequently)
  • He is a man of many convictions (He has got a record a mile long)
  • There is no questioning his ability (meaning-he/she gets angry if you do)

4. ESR Speaks

  • ESR announces the Safe Hiring Certification Training, an intensive 30 Hour online educational and professional development course designed for employers, human resource and security professionals, and anyone responsible for Risk Management and Due Diligence in hiring.The Safe Hiring Certification Training is a self-paced, on-line course that can be accessed at any time from anywhere, including at work. Features of this course include:
    • Convenient 24/7/365 availability through any online connection
    • 21 self-paced lessons on Safe Hiring practices
    • A printable, 190-page workbook to facilitate note-taking and preparation for review quizzes
    • Review quizzes after each lesson featuring more than 300 questions about Safe Hiring
    • Easy access to useful Safe Hiring web-links
    • Sample Safe Hiring forms to help guide your own form development
    • Industry certification in Safe Hiring
    • Additional audio pointers by author Les Rosen (requires speakers but not a requirement for course comple
  • Through this course, participants will obtain the knowledge and skills necessary to implement and manage a legal and effective Safe Hiring program including employment screening background checks. Upon successful completion, participants will receive a Certificate of Completion, marking a significant professional accomplishment. The course is offered at no charge to ESR clients.

    The course is available at

    More information is available at:

  • ESR wrote the book on background checks! – The Safe Hiring Manual, now in its third printing, is available from BRB Publications. Click here to read more. The definitive book on pre-employment screening, “The Safe Hiring Manual-The Complete Guide to Keeping Criminals, Terrorists and Imposters out of Your Workplace,” has undergone its third printing since its introduction a year ago. The new printing also contains updates and new material.

ESR is pleased to participate in the following seminars across the United States, including three nationwide SHRM Conference: the SHRM National Conference, the SHRM EMA Conference and the Global Screening Conference.

Current 2006 Schedule

July 27, 2006–Kennedy Information National Audio Conference on, “Background Checks and Recruiting — Avoiding Negligent Hiring.

September 12, 2006–Oakland, CA “International Background Checks.” Northern California Human Resources Association (NCHRA) Annual Conference.

September 21, 2006–Long Beach, CA “International Background Checks” 48th Annual Professionals in Human Resources Association (PIHRA) Annual Conference. (See

September 22, 2006–Long Beach, CA “Legal and Effective Employment an Education Verification” 48th Annual Professionals in Human Resources Association (PIHRA) Annual Conference. (See

September 30, 2006–San Diego, CA “Negligent Hiring Mock Trial– College and University HR in the Hot Seat.” National HR Conference for College and University Professional Association for Human Resources (CUPA-HR)

October 2, 2006–Las Vegas, NV “Who are You Hiring– Credentials Verification and Background Checks.” National Bio Human Resources Conference sponsored by Bio (Biotechnology Industry Organization)

October 13, 2006— Sonoma County, CA-“International Background Screening.” 23rd Annual Conference for PASCO (Personnel Association of Sonoma County) PASCO

November 6, 2006-Long Branch, NJ–Pre-employment Background Checks,” Garden State Council (New Jersey State Council) SHRM Statewide Conference Garden State Council

November 8, 2006–New York, NY– “Background Checks and Recruiting Practices and Legal Compliance,” Kennedy Information’s Recruiting 2006 Conference and Expo.

November 13, 2006 –Tampa, FL – Keynote address at the Annual Pre-Employment Screeners Conference (Intended for background firms and record retrievers) ” The Top Ten Ways for a Screening Firm to Be Sued Out of Existence by Employers and Consumers ” See:

Contact ESR for further details.

Employment Screening Resources (ESR)

1620 Grant Avenue, Suite 7

Novato, CA 94945


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