Security Management Magazine, the official publication of ASIS international, featured an article on background screening by ESR as a cover story in its May, 2009 edition.  ASIS International is considered the preeminent international organization for security professionals.  The article can be found at

The article, authored by ESR President Lester Rosen, was titled, “How to Avoid Hiring Mishaps,” and covered a range of current issues affecting background screening and due diligence.  Some of the main points are:

  1. Criminal databases, although valuable due to the millions of records, should not be used as a primary tool for screening, due to issues of accuracy, timeliness and complexities.
  2. Criminal databases are also subject to a number of legal issues, especially surrounding the application of the federal Fair Credit Reporting Act.
  3. Even if an employer locates a criminal history, its use for employment is limited by discrimination laws.  The State of New York for example, just passed a series of new laws to ensure that individuals with criminal records are not locked out permanently from society.
  4. Employers need to be especially carful in the use of automatic “adjudication rules” for criminal records without taking into account the particulars of the crime, the person and the job.
  5. Education fraud is on the increase, and now even includes fake accreditation agencies to accredit fake degrees.
  6. Although employers have discovered a treasure trove of information by using the internet and social network sites such as Facebook and MySpace, the jury is still out on whether it is a good idea to utilize those sites.  There can be issues concerning discrimination, violation of privacy rights, the improper use of legal off duty conduct and problems with authenticity and reliability.
  7. Given the mobility of workers across international borders, employers need to factor international screening into their programs.

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