For the last day of the year, nationwide accredited background check provider Employment Screening Resources (ESR) – has chosen the following ‘Top 20 Stories for Background Check Screening for 2012’ from the ESR News blog at Here are the top 20 stories for 2012 from ESR in order of the date posted:

  1. New California Background Check Laws Impacting Employers Take Effect January 1 2012 (Posted December 22, 2011): Employers in California – and employers doing business in California – needed to be aware of two new laws that took effect on January 1, 2012 that changed the way they conducted employment screening background checks in the state: California Assembly Bill 22 (CA AB 22), which related the use of credit report checks of job applicants and current employees for employment purposes, and California Senate Bill 909 (CA SB 909), which related to the “offshoring” of the Personally Identifiable Information (PII) of consumers who are the subjects of background checks. To read California Assembly Bill 22 (AB 22), visit: . To read California Senate Bill 909 (SB 909), visit: . Read #1 blog here.
  2. Major Beverage Company Pays 3 Million after EEOC Finds Hiring Discrimination against African Americans with Background Check Policy (Posted January 13, 2012):  Following an investigation by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), a major beverage company agreed to pay $3.13 million and make major policy changes by providing job offers and training to resolve a charge of nationwide hiring discrimination against African Americans with criminal background checks, according to a press release at The EEOC found that the criminal background check policy formerly used by the cpompany discriminated against African Americans in violation of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, and most of the monetary settlement will primarily be divided among black applicants for positions the company. Read #2 blog here.
  3. Background Screening Mobile Apps May Violate Fair Credit Reporting Act FTC Warns (Posted February 7, 2012): The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) warned marketers of six mobile applications that provide background screening “apps” that they may be in violation of the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA), a federal law enforced by the FTC, and that they must comply with the FCRA if they have reason to believe the background screening reports they provide are being used for employment, housing, credit, or other similar purposes. The FTC press release is available at: Read #3 blog here.
  4. E-Verify Self Check Now Available in All 50 United States (Posted February 13, 2012): The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) announced that the free online service of the E-Verify electronic employment eligibility verification system called “Self Check” that allows workers to check their own employment eligibility status is available in all 50 United states, as well as Washington, D.C., Guam, Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands, and the Commonwealth of Northern Mariana Islands. For more information about Self Check, visit: Read #4 blog here.
  5. San Luis Obispo County Impedes Access to Public Criminal Records for Background Checks (Posted March 23, 2012): According to the Public Record Update Newsletter for March 2012, a Public Record Retriever Network (PRRN) Member reported that the San Luis Obispo (California) Superior Court had taken steps to impede criminal record searches for background checks in the county by putting the public record access terminals under lock and key and making them off limits to professional public record researchers and private background screening firms. The newsletter is available at Read #5 blog here.
  6. Facebook Warns Employers Asking Job Applicants for Social Media Passwords May Expose Businesses to Legal Liability (Posted March 26, 2012):  Responding to an increase in reports of employers seeking to gain “inappropriate access” to social network profiles of job applicants, online social media giant Facebook issued a warning to employers in a blog posted on the company website – ‘Protecting Your Passwords and Your Privacy’ – that the practice of asking job applicants for their social media passwords “undermines the privacy expectations and the security of both the user and the user’s friends” and could potentially expose businesses to “unanticipated legal liability.” The Facebook blog is available at: Read #6 blog here.
  7. Federal Trade Commission Privacy Report Recommends Legislation to Regulate Data Brokers (Posted April 9, 2012): The Federal Trade Commission (FTC), the nation’s chief privacy policy and enforcement agency, recently issued a final report – ‘Protecting Consumer Privacy in an Era of Rapid Change: Recommendations For Businesses and Policymakers’ – urging businesses to adopt best practices to protect the privacy of American consumers and contains important recommendations regarding data brokers and give them greater control over the collection and use of their personal data. One recommendation in the FTC report, available at, is that Congress consider enacting data broker legislation. Read #7 blog here.
  8. Maryland Passes First Law Prohibiting Employers from Asking Employees and Job Applicants for Social Media Passwords (Posted April 10, 2012): The state of Maryland passed the first law in the nation to prohibit employers from asking employees and job applicants for social media passwords. Both Houses of the Maryland General Assembly approved identical versions of a social media privacy protection bill – Senate Bill 433 (SB 433)/House Bill 964 (HB 964) – that prohibits employers from requesting or requiring employees or job applicants to disclose their user names or passwords to social media websites such as Facebook and other personal Internet sites and Web-based accounts as a condition of employment. Later on May 2, 2012, the Governor of Maryland signed SB 433. Read #8 blog here.
  9. Report Claiming Inaccurate Criminal Background Checks Cost Jobseekers Employment Contains Inaccuracies According to Safe Hiring Expert (Posted April 13, 2012): A report on background check companies from the National Consumer Law Center (NCLC) called ‘Broken Records: How Errors by Criminal Background Checking Companies Harm Workers and Businesses’ that claimed mistakes on criminal background screening reports conducted for employers prevents many job seekers from finding work “was itself fatally flawed with errors and inaccuracy,” according to a safe hiring expert. To address the “erroneous information and unfounded conclusions” contained in the report, Attorney Lester S. Rosen wrote an article, ‘Consumer Group Report on Inaccurate Criminal Background Check Reports Loses Impact Due to Lack of Objectivity and Errors.’ Read #9 blog here.
  10. EEOC Issues Updated Guidance on Use of Arrest and Conviction Records by Employers (Posted April 25, 2012): The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), the agency that enforces federal laws prohibiting employment discrimination, voted 4-1 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 updated EEOC Guidance, which  “builds on longstanding court decisions and guidance documents that the EEOC issued over 20 years ago” and “focuses on employment discrimination based on race and national origin,” is available at Read #10 blog here.
  11. Yahoo CEO Leaves Company after Discrepancy in Academic Credentials Revealed (Posted May 14, 2012): On May 13, 2012, Yahoo! Inc. announced that Scott Thompson, the recently hired Chief Executive Officer who was revealed to have a discrepancy in his academic credentials included in online biographies and filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), had left the company. The story showed the important of education verifications as part of background checks. The full text of the press release is available at: Read #11 blog here.
  12. FTC Fines Data Broker Spokeo 800000 Dollars to Settle Charges of Violating Fair Credit Reporting Act (Posted June 13, 2012): In the first Federal Trade Commission (FTC) case to address the sale of Internet and social media data in the employment screening context, Spokeo, Inc. – a data broker that compiles and sells detailed information profiles on millions of consumers – agreed to pay a $800,000 fine to settle FTC charges that the company marketed profiles to companies in the human resources, background screening, and recruiting industries without taking steps to protect consumers required under the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA), according to a press release at Read #12 blog here.
  13. National Association of Professional Background Screeners to Release Study Affirming Accuracy of Background Checks (Posted June 20, 2012): The National Association of Professional Background Screeners (NAPBS) announced in press release that a study of background screening companies affirmed the accuracy of background checks and refuted a report issued by the National Consumer Law Center (NCLC) that accused background screeners of routinely making mistakes. The NAPBS report found that 98 percent of background screening providers surveyed encountered consumer disputes less than 5 percent of the time out of millions of background checks performed annually, and more than 95 percent of those disputed background check reports were ultimately found to be accurate. The NAPBS press release is available at: Read #13 blog here.
  14. Consumer Financial Protection Bureau Adopts Rule to Supervise Larger Credit Reporting Companies (Posted July 18, 2012):  The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) adopted a rule to begin supervising larger consumer reporting agencies – including the “big three” credit reporting companies Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion – for the first time at the federal level, according to a CFPB press release at The rule outlining the CFPB’s supervision of larger consumer reporting agencies, which took effect September 30, 2012, is available here: Read #14 blog here.
  15. Background Screening Company to Pay 2.6 Million Dollar Penalty to Settle FTC Charges of Multiple FCRA Violations (Posted August 8, 2012): In a case representing the first time the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) charged a background screening company that delivers reports to employers with violating the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA), a leading background screening firm, also known as a consumer reporting agency (“CRA”), agreed to pay a $2.6 million penalty to settle charges that it violated the FCRA multiple times. A press release from the FTC about the settlement is available at: Read #15 blog here.
  16. Background Screening Firms must Modify Forms Mandated by Fair Credit Reporting Act by January 1 2013 (Posted August 9, 2012): According to regulations from the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), three essential forms mandated by the federal Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) used in the background screening process must be modified by January 1, 2013. The forms must be changed to reflect that consumers can obtain information about their rights under the FCRA from the CFPB instead of the Federal Trade Commission (FTC). The three forms in use currently indicate that the FTC is the agency consumers can contact with questions. Read #16 blog here.
  17. National Association of Professional Background Screeners Responds to NBC Today Show Report on Background Checks (Posted November 9, 2012):  The National Association of Professional Background Screeners (NAPBS) Chairman Fred Giles called an NBC Today Show report about pre-employment background checks and how background check firms make errors that mistake innocent people for criminals causing them to lose jobs “misleading” as well as “potentially dangerous.” The full NAPBS statement from Chairman Fred Giles about the NBC Today Show report is available at Read #17 blog here.
  18. Court Holds Federal Fair Credit Reporting Act Is Constitutional and Does Not Violate First Amendment (Posted November 13, 2012): A large background screening firm facing a class action lawsuit alleging inaccurate reports in violation of the federal Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) failed in its attempt to have the FCRA declared unconstitutional on the basis that it violates the right to free speech under the First Amendment. A Pennsylvania federal court ruled on November 6, 2012 that the FCRA was constitutional since it regulated information disseminated for private purposes for a fee, and not to the public. More information about the ruling is available at Read #18 blog here.
  19. Consumer Financial Protection Bureau Announces New Corrected Forms Required by FCRA for Background Checks Starting January 1 2013 (Posted November 30, 2012): In November 2012, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) announced in the Federal Register corrections to typographical and technical errors in the earlier versions of three new essential CFPB forms required by the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) in the background screening process starting January 1, 2013. These forms include ‘A Summary of Your Rights Under the Fair Credit Reporting Act,’ ‘NOTICE TO USERS OF CONSUMER REPORTS: OBLIGATIONS OF USERS UNDER THE FCRA,’ and ‘NOTICE TO FURNISHERS OF INFORMATION: OBLIGATIONS OF FURNISHERS UNDER THE FCRA.’  Read #19 blog here.
  20. Federal Trade Commission to Study Collection and Use of Consumer Information by Data Brokers (Posted December 20, 2012): In an effort to study privacy practices in the data broker industry, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) voted 5-0 to issue orders requiring nine data brokers – companies that collect, analyze, and sell personal information of consumers – to reveal how they gather and use data about consumers, according to an FTC news release available at The FTC – the agency that works for consumers to prevent fraudulent, deceptive, and unfair business practices – will use the responses received from the data brokers to prepare a study and to make recommendations on whether, and how, the data broker industry can improve privacy practices. Read #20 blog here.
For more information about Employment Screening Resources (ESR) – ‘The Background Check Authority’ and nationwide screening company accredited by The National Association of Professional Background Screeners (NAPBS®) – visit or call Toll Free 888.999.4474. For information about the 2nd edition of ‘The Safe Hiring Manual’ by ESR Founder and CEO Attorney Lester Rosen, visit 6th Annual ‘ESR Top Ten Background Check Trends for 2013’ is at   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 about ESR, visit or call toll free 888.999.4474. 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 ESR News Blog Feed, visit To subscribe to the complimentary ESRcheck Report monthly newsletter, please visit]]>

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