Illustrating the importance of employee background screening in keeping customers and retailers safe, the National Retail Federation (NRF) has released a new survey completed by retail executives from nearly 100 of the nation’s leading department stores, mass merchants, discounters, drug stores, grocery stores, and restaurants that shows nearly all retailers polled – 96.6 percent – utilize some form background screening during the application, hiring, and employment process. The NRF ‘Background Screening: Protecting Retailers and Consumers’ Survey is available for download at:

In addition, the survey – which contained responses from 96 retail executives and was conducted in July 2011 – revealed that companies routinely conduct pre-employment background checks on a wide range of associates from senior executives (85.7 percent) to store associates (55.2 percent), with a particular focus on customer-facing employees. A majority of retailers report background screening is conducted for most job categories, including store, distribution center, and corporate office employees since these positions work with customers, manage merchandise, or handle sensitive information.

However, the survey also indicated retailers are concerned over potentially new Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) guidelines that would “Ban the Box” – a term referring to the box asking about criminal history seen on most application forms – and prevent all businesses from asking potential employees about their criminal history during the application process. The “Ban-the-Box” guidelines were the focus of a July 2011 EEOC meeting that examined arrest and conviction records as a hiring barrier. For more information, visit:

As reported earlier on ESR News, Cleveland, Ohio recently removed the checkbox asking applicants about felony convictions from city job applications and is now one of 28 cities/counties across the country to “ban the box.” The others are: Alameda County, CA; Austin, TX; Baltimore, MD; Berkeley, CA; Boston, MA; Bridgeport, CT; Cambridge, MA; Chicago, IL; Cincinnati, OH; Detroit, MI; Hartford, CT; Jacksonville, FL; Kalamazoo, MI; Minneapolis, MN; Multnomah County, OR; New Haven, CT; Norwich, CT; Oakland, CA; Philadelphia, PA; Providence, RI; San Francisco, CA; Seattle, WA; St. Paul, MN; Travis County, TX; Washington, DC; and Worcester, MA.

As retailers across the country begin to hire hundreds of thousands of holiday employees, background screening helps them to ensure the safety of both shoppers and employees from the beginning of the application process and are one of the tools used during the holiday season to deal with hundreds – even thousands – of job applications. The NRF Background Screening Survey was created to get a better understanding of how retailers use background checks within their organizations. The survey from NRF – the world’s largest retail trade association – is available at:

For more information about background checks, visit Employment Screening Resources (ESR) – a nationwide background check firm accredited by The National Association of Professional Background Screening (NAPBS) – at

About Employment Screening Resources (ESR):
Employment Screening Resources (ESR) literally wrote the book on background screening with “The Safe Hiring Manual” by ESR founder and CEO Lester Rosen. ESR streamlines the screening process and reduces administrative overhead though its proprietary technology solutions.  ESR is accredited by The National Association of Professional Background Screeners (NAPBS®), a distinction held by less than two percent of all screening firms. This important recognition was achieved by successfully passing a third party audit demonstrating compliance with the NAPBS Background Screening Agency Accreditation Program. By choosing an accredited screening firm like ESR, employers know they have selected an agency that meets the highest industry standards. For more information about ESR, visit



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