According to a column on the New York website, a convicted con man who served three years in prison for passing bad checks and ripping off banks was awarded city contracts to restore parks without any kind of criminal background check. The man was later arrested for allegedly paying his workers with $50,000 in bad checks. The column on, a leading local news source covering New York City’s neighborhoods, is available at: The New York column describes how the 35-year-old accused man left state prison in 2009, created a new company, and soon after applied for and received contracts from the Parks Department “worth hundreds of thousands of dollars.” Although he filled out a detailed questionnaire created to “weed out businesses linked to criminals or organized crime from getting taxpayer-funded projects,” the accuracy of the answers on the questionnaire depended solely on the honesty of applicants and there was no background check. Because of this dependence on the so-called “honor system,” the accused’s history of fraud that included swindling banks and businesses out of approximately $500,000 and prison time was not revealed before hiring. However, while this story is a good example of the importance of criminal background checks and how they may prevent crime in the workplace, employers need to understand that their use of criminal records is coming under greater scrutiny. In April 2012, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) – the agency that enforces federal laws prohibiting employment discrimination – voted to approve updated Enforcement Guidance on the Consideration of Arrest and Conviction Records in Employment Decisions Under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. The complete text of the updated EEOC Guidance is available at To help employers comply with updated EEOC rules on the use of criminal records, Attorney Lester Rosen, Founder and CEO of background check firm Employment Screening Resources (ESR), has written a new whitepaper: ‘Practical Steps Employers Can Take to Comply with New EEOC Criminal Record Guidance.’ The complimentary whitepaper by Rosen is currently undergoing a controlled release and is available only to employers interested in screening by emailing [email protected]. Rosen has also just completed an updated edition of his comprehensive guide to background screening, ‘The Safe Hiring Manual,’ which contains an entire chapter devoted to the updated EEOC Guidance. For more information, visit: For more information about legally compliant criminal background checks as part of a Safe Hiring Program (SHP), visit Employment Screening Resources (ESR) – ‘The Background Check Authority’ and a nationwide background screening firm accredited by The National Association of Professional Background Screeners (NAPBS®) – at, call Toll Free 888.999.4474, or email [email protected]. Related: Criminal Records and Getting Back into the Workforce: Six Critical Steps for Ex-offenders Trying to Get Back into the Workforce Source: About Employment Screening Resources (ESR): Founded by safe hiring expert Attorney Les Rosen in 1997, Employment Screening Resources (ESR) – ‘The Background Check AuthoritySM’– provides accurate and actionable information that empowers employers to make informed hiring decisions for the benefit of their organizations, employees, and the public. CEO Rosen literally wrote the book on background checks with “The Safe Hiring Manual” and ESR is accredited by The National Association of Professional Background Screeners (NAPBS), a distinction held by a small percent of screening firms. Employers choosing ESR know they have selected an agency meeting the highest industry standards. To learn more, visit, call 888.999.4474, or email [email protected]. About ESR News: The Employment Screening Resources (ESR) News blog – ESR News – provides employment screening information for employers, recruiters, and jobseekers on a variety of topics including credit reports, criminal records, data privacy, discrimination, E-Verify, jobs reports, legal updates, negligent hiring, workplace violence, and use of search engines and social network sites for background checks. For more information about ESR News or to send comments or questions, please email ESR News Editor Thomas Ahearn at [email protected]. To subscribe to the complimentary ESRcheck Report monthly newsletter, please visit]]>