By Les Rosen, Employment Screening Resources

Employment Screening Resources (ESR) a leading national employment screening firm based in the San Francisco area, has released its third annual Top Ten Tends in Screening and Hiring for 2010.

ESR has identified new trends that are starting to make a difference, as well as old trends that have evolved as the screening industry matures and as plaintiff’s attorneys, including class action lawyers, have started to focus on background checks.  In 2009 for example, ESR noted that the use of social networking sites as a hiring tool would merely be a “hot topic.” In 2010, the trend has been upgraded to concerns over the potential for litigation alleging the unfair use of social networking sites.

Additional forces that will shape the screening industry and hiring in 2010 are advancements in technology as well as the constant struggle to balance privacy and fairness with security and due diligence.  For instance, the ease with which criminal records can be aggregated conflicts with the laws against the discriminatory use of criminal records.

Another issue related to the industry maturing is the proliferation of fly-by-night background check sites that have jumped on the screening bandwagon to make a quick buck, often using fear tactics or the lure of getting “inside information.”  Of course, legitimate employers understand that employment checks are a professional service that is heavily legally regulated.  In fact, concerns over accuracy and compliance with the requirements of the federal Fair Credit Report Act (FCRA) are likely to cause an increase in lawsuits and class actions in 2010.
Other trends are related to privacy, government-mandated screenings, and the emergence of best practice for international background checks. An issue related to the recession is problems associated with fraudulent educational and employment claims.

One very positive development that will help employers in 2010 is that the National Association of Professional Background Screeners (NAPBS) has been firmly established as the voice of the screening industry, and is very pro-active in promoting best practices.

“Employers that do not exercise due diligence to weed out potential bad hires are certainly taking an unnecessary risk and exposing a business to serious legal and financial consequences,” said Lester S. Rosen, attorney at law and founder of ESR and author of two books on background screening.  “On the other hand, an employer also faces a risk if they are not using appropriate tools and do not appreciate that, as with all matters related to employment, this area is heavily legally regulated.” 

The trends are reviewed at:

The top trends are:

1.  Increased focus on whether the use of credit reports and criminal records are discriminatory. 
2. More lawsuits including class action litigation over accuracy, privacy, and consumer rights.
3. Pressure on privacy and data protection including the physical location of data.
4. The battle over databases will continue with the  latest wrinkle being the proliferation of cheap “do-it-yourself” websites and even apps for smart phones. 
5. Lawsuits for unfair use of Social Networking Sites may arise.
6.   Increased technology will bring about the end of paper and faxing for employment screening.
7.  An increase in fraudulent employment and educational claims due to the pressure of the recession.  
8.   I-9 and other government requirements will grow.
9.  Screening will expand beyond new employees to vendors and others on premises and even consumer-generated checks.
10.   International screening will be under more scrutiny and best practices will start to emerge,
11.   Bonus Trend:   The emergence of the National Association of Professional Background Screeners (NAPBS) as the voice of the industry and the continuing efforts to establish best practices

More information on background checks and employee screening is at: