of Employers Check Job Applicants' Social Media Profiles Before
Offering Roles, Why Didn't Kent Police & Crime Commissioner?
Online recruitment agency, RecruitmentRevolution.com,
has commented on the resignation and current police investigation
of Paris Brown, the seventeen-year-old Kent Police Youth Crime
Commissioner who resigned after media reports that she had made
"racist and homophobic" comments on her personal Twitter account.
Kent Police & Crime Commissioner, Ann Barnes, had a duty
of care to investigate the social media profile of Brown prior
to offering her the role of Youth Police Crime Commissioner,"
said Anna Taylor, Co-founder and director or RecruitmentRevolution.com.
"Had Barnes checked the social media profiles of the candidates,
it is unlikely that Brown would have been placed in this position,"
said Taylor. A survey of 1,700 UK employers, undertaken by RecruitmentRevolution.com,
found that almost three quarters of employers regularly check
the social media pages and profiles of potential employees before
offering them roles. Only 27% of employers surveyed do not check
Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and other social media sites for
information on job candidates. "We need to educate our young
people that whatever they post on social media is on public
record, can be easily discovered online and can come back to
haunt them," concluded Taylor.
Survey Reveals Criminal Records Aren't Deal-Breakers
of HR professionals who responded to a recently released survey
are screening candidates in a conscientious manner, auditing
providers and educating themselves on legal-compliance issues.
The survey report was conducted by EmployeeScreenIQ, a provider
of background-screening services that is accredited by the National
Association of Professional Background Screeners. The report
tracks employers' attitudes and actions regarding the impact
of criminal records on hiring, the use of social networking
in the screening process, the implications of new EEOC guidance
and the practice of asking candidates to disclose criminal records.
An interesting finding was that criminal records aren't deal-breakers.
In fact, 71% of respondents said that in a mere 5% or less of
cases, candidates with criminal records are not hired for this
reason. "The overarching takeaway from this survey is that employers
seem to be screening and hiring candidates in a responsible,
acceptable and legally compliant fashion," said Nick Fishman,
chief marketing officer at EmployeeScreenIQ.
SCREENING INDUSTRY ACTION ALERT
990 is a fast moving bill that would eliminate exemptions, found
in the current law, for entities regulated by the FCRA and the
Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act thus creating conflict and duplication
with these existing federal laws.
has the potential to impact all of our NAPBS members, especially
those who do business and have customers in Texas.
Read the full alert and how to contact your representative to
voice your concerns.
Guidance Complicates Background Check Process
buyers demand criminal background checks for contingent workers.
On the other hand, the EEOC is seeking to protect worker rights
and ensure that those in protected groups more prone to incarceration
aren't unfairly treated by such checks. The EEOC once had guidelines
that were fairly concise. But in April 2012, it made a decision
to replace concise and workable guidelines with a 52-page long,
somewhat confusing document that leaves a lot of guessing room
for employers. Angela Preston, a board member for the NAPBS
and general counsel and vice president of compliance for EmployeeScreenIQ,
comments that the new guidance says if you want to avoid being
investigated you should conduct an individualized assessment,
however; there is no meaningful instruction in the guidance
on how to take that step. A recommended practice with the new
guidance is to not conduct a background check until there's
a conditional job offer. However, that adds time when a check
ultimately turns up information that disqualifies a potential
candidate. Because the EEOC's guidance is just guidance and
doesn't have the force of law, it remains to be seen what deference
courts will give it as they are not bound by the guidance.
Track Employee Thefts in Vast Databases
a wave of employee theft, retailers have amassed vast databases
of workers accused of stealing and they use the information
to keep employees from working again in the industry. The repositories
of information often contain scant details about suspected thefts
and routinely do not involve criminal charges, but the information
can be enough to ruin a job candidate's chances. Some employees
who submit written statements after being questioned by store
security officers have no idea they admitted committing a theft
or that the information will remain in databases. The databases,
which have tens of thousands of subscribers and are used by
major retailers like Target, CVS, and Family Dollar, are aimed
at combating employee theft. While the databases are legal,
they face scrutiny from labor lawyers and federal regulators,
who worry they are so sweeping, that innocent employees can
be harmed. The lawyers say workers are often coerced into confessing,
sometimes when they have done nothing wrong, without understanding
that they will be branded as thieves. The FTC has fielded complaints
about the databases and is examining whether they comply with
the FCRA, a federal law aimed at curbing inaccurate consumer
information and giving consumers more control.
SCREENING NEWS - continued
Your Enemy? Cut The People Risk
specialist, Jenny Reid, says hiring decisions can be made safer
by looking behind the job applicants' mask and knowing your
enemy. These days, companies can call on screening companies
with the required skills, contacts and equipment to look behind
the mask. Specifically trained and technologically enabled researchers
will get that job done thoroughly and quickly saving companies
from making personnel selection mistakes, and saving them time
and money. Reid pointed out that human nature has changed very
little in the last 15 centuries; mostly it is good and conforms
to decency, fairness and lawfulness. But, she warned, dishonesty
persists in society. In the corporate arena, companies must
be scrupulously and constantly on their guard if they are to
identify today's workplace enemies. Crime in the corporate environment
has its own 'state of the art' driven by technology just like
everything else. New electronics, software and cyber and digital
engineering helps the criminal as much as it does the straight
and narrow of us. She warned that reaction often means too late,
while pro-action provides a fighting chance to thwart attacks
on companies, or could dissuade would-be criminal acts because
the perpetrator regards installed safeguards effective enough
to send lawbreakers looking for easier prey.
Suit: Tenant Screening Company Illegally Flagged Woman
Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) has filed a lawsuit on behalf of
a woman who says her decades-old drug convictions cost her a
chance to rent an apartment-a violation of Washington state
law. In addition, hundreds others may have been illegally rejected
for apartments in the state because of unfair background checks.
Washington law says any criminal record older than seven years
can't be counted. The ACLU is now suing the tenant screening
company, Yardi Systems, in King County Superior Court, and plans
to ask that the case be certified as a class-action. Jonathan
Grant, who heads the Tenants Union of Washington State, says
his group sees hundreds of cases like this every year but that
most people don't have the means to hire a lawyer. "That's why
this class action is necessary-so that it can spread light on
these bad practices, so that people can join that lawsuit and
actually take action," said Grant.
A Basic "Tenant" of Credit Reporting
Trade Commission (FTC) has sent letters to six companies warning
them to "double-check" their Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA)
responsibilities. The selected companies specifically collect
information about the rental histories of tenants and share
the data with potential landlords. "If you assemble or evaluate
information on individuals' rental histories," the FTC press
release states, "and provide this information to landlords so
that they can screen tenants, you are a consumer reporting agency
that is required to comply" with FCRA. Companies collecting
and sharing this information have an obligation to make sure
that whoever is asking has a legitimate reason - a "permissible
purpose" - for getting the info. Companies compiling the information
also have an obligation to ensure it's as accurate as possible.
If consumers ask, they have to give them copies of their reports
and allow them to dispute anything that might be inaccurate.
Companies also have a legal obligation to remind landlords of
certain responsibilities they have under the FCRA. The letter
makes it clear that the FTC hasn't evaluated the companies'
practices to determine if they're complying with the FCRA, but
suggests they visit the Credit Reporting page in the BCP Business
Center for FCRA compliance resources.
Checks on Adviser Applicants Reach Bay State's Radar
Securities regulators in Massachusetts have floated
a plan to conduct criminal background checks on anyone applying
to be an investment adviser representative in the state. The
securities regulator is taking advantage of the access it recently
obtained to the state's electronic criminal history database.
The new rule would require that anyone applying to be an investment
adviser sign a consent form allowing the division to run his
or her name through the system. The securities division believes
"it is in the public interest and for the protection of investors
to conduct criminal background checks of those individuals seeking
IAR registration in order to ensure that the applicant is not
subject to a statutory disqualification, and has truthfully
and accurately disclosed any criminal background required on
Form U-4". The practical effect of the new rule likely will
be limited. Applicants already must reveal past criminal activities,
and according to some, a clean criminal slate is no guarantee
of good behavior. Conducting the checks will help Massachusetts
argue that it has done as much as it can to prevent future investor
rip-offs. And, since Massachusetts is a leader when it comes
to state securities regulations, the move may influence others
to propose similar rules.
more (Requires Free Registration)
New Jersey Poised to Enact the Most Aggressive Social Media
Password Protection Law to Date, Adding to a Patchwork of Conflicting
Laws Across the U.S.
is expected to shortly join California, Illinois, Maryland, Michigan,
and Utah in prohibiting employers from seeking employee or applicant
passwords to social media accounts or services. New Jersey's law
is more pro-employee/applicant than any such law enacted to date,
providing the broadest protections, the narrowest exceptions,
and the most generous remedies. The bill apparently would prohibit
an employer from asking an employee who complains about the social
media activity of a coworker, such as online sexual harassment,
for access to the complaining employee's personal social media
account to observe what the alleged harasser posted. Moreover,
unlike similar laws, the New Jersey bill contains no exception
for workplace investigation into suspected unlawful conduct or
violations of employer policies. The New Jersey bill also has
the most generous remedial scheme. It confers a private right
of action on applicants or employees to recover unlimited compensatory
and consequential damages. Before investigating information present
on an employee's or applicant's "personal account," HR professionals
are encouraged to seek guidance from inside or outside counsel
to ensure compliance with this proposed law.
to the U.S. Legal Challenge Question!
As the background
screening industry continues to get more competitive the firms
that will ultimately succeed will be those that create competitive
advantage through their people by offering continuous learning
opportunities to heightened their knowledge and capabilities.
We believe that having employees that are very knowledgeable about
the legal landscape of background screening is essential to continued
("Nici") Kersey is the Managing Director of Kersey Immigration
Compliance, LLC. She is an attorney whose practice focuses on
the Form I-9, E-Verify, and related immigration compliance issues.
Ms. Kersey partners with law firms, businesses, and other employers
to provide advice, project management, and consulting services
to organizations of all sizes to help them avoid civil and criminal
penalties, as well as ancillary damage to reputation, caused by
weaknesses in their immigration-related hiring and record-keeping
practices. She provides training, policies, and auditing services
and represents employers during I-9 inspections and settlement
your answer by clicking on it:
"Ban the Box" Bill Would Greatly Restrict Use of Applicants' Criminal
Background Information by New Jersey Employers
7, 2013, "The Opportunity to Compete Act" was introduced in the
New Jersey Senate, seeking to dramatically curtail the ability
of New Jersey employers to obtain or use a job applicant's criminal
history during the hiring process. The proposed bill would require
employers to engage in a multi-step process before rejecting an
applicant based on a criminal record. Unfortunately, the process
proposed in the Act lacks clarity as currently drafted. Under
the Act, most employers would be prohibited from inquiring about
an applicant's criminal history during the application process,
either directly or via a background check, until after a conditional
job offer is made. Once a conditional job offer is made, an employer
would be permitted to inquire about the applicant's criminal history
only after providing a detailed notification form, obtaining written
consent from the applicant, and then providing the applicant with
a standardized Notice of Rights form. Employers would then be
permitted to consider only those specific types of convictions
or pending charges expressly identified within the Act, and would
be precluded from considering non-pending arrests, or erased,
expunged, pardoned, or juvenile convictions. Employers who violate
the bill may be subject to civil penalties.
OFCCP Issues Guidance on Use of Criminal Records in Employment
Department of Labor's Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs
(OFCCP) has posted a Directive on "Complying with Nondiscrimination
Provisions: Criminal Record Restrictions and Discrimination Based
on Race and National Origin." The Directive incorporates guidance
issued on the same subject by the EEOC. The OFCCP Directive and
the EEOC Enforcement Guidance emphasize the racial and ethnic
disparities reflected in incarceration rates and advise contractors
to proceed with caution when relying on job applicants' criminal
records for employment decisions. The OFCCP warns that policies
and procedures that categorically exclude individuals based on
criminal records and do not take into account the nature and age
of an offense may violate federal antidiscrimination laws such
as Title VII. The agency clarifies that this is because an automatic
bar to hiring those with a criminal record will likely result
in an adverse impact on certain racial or ethnic groups. If an
employer's exclusion policy creates adverse impact on a protected
class, it will need to prove that it is job-related and consistent
with business necessity.
Utah Passes Internet Employment Privacy Act
over employers requesting or requiring employees or applicants
to disclose their usernames or passwords for their online accounts
at services like Facebook and Twitter, has led some states to
pass laws restricting employers' rights to make such requests.
On March 7, 2013, the Utah State Legislature joined these states
and passed the Internet Employment Privacy Act (the Act). Under
the Act, Utah employers may not request that an employee or job
applicant disclose a username and password allowing access to
a personal Internet account. It also prohibits employers from
taking an adverse employment action (like refusing to hire, demoting
or firing) against an employee who fails or refuses to disclose
a username or password for a personal Internet account. A "personal
internet account" is defined under the Act as an online account
used by the employee or applicant for purely personal reasons
unrelated to work. The Act provides a private right of action
for any person aggrieved by such an action, but limits any potential
award to $500. Even with this limited exposure, the Utah Internet
Employment Privacy Act requires that employers proceed with caution
when accessing or requesting access to employee information on
on the Use of Credit Reports for Employment Screening
Representative Steve Cohen from Tennessee, has introduced H.R.
645 in the House of Representatives. The legislation would
amend the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) to prohibit employers
from using credit reports in the hiring process as well as prohibit
the use of credit reports for the purpose of making adverse employment
decisions. The only exceptions to this would be for jobs which
require a security clearance, are with state or local government,
or for certain individuals working in the financial industry (i.e.,
supervisory, managerial, professional, or executive positions).
If this legislation
passes, it means employers would not be able to consider one's
credit history as part of a background check by a background screening
company for lawyers, cashiers, pharmacists, NBA referees, executives
in non-financial institutions, jewelers, academic financial aid
offices, Human Resources employees, procurement employees and
C. Miller, NAPBS Washington counsel suggest that you check
out the bill and see if your representative is a co-sponsor of the bill as so far
the legislation has 29 co-sponsors. The bill, the Equal Employment
for All Act is pending in the House Financial Services Committee.
You can contact your member of Congress to share your concerns
about the legislation by calling the Capitol Hill switchboard
at 202-224-3121 and asking to be directed to your members office.
You can download
a copy of the
Equal Employment for All Act H.R. 645
schools could increase school safety and security by expanding
the use of fingerprint background checks of adults who regularly
interact with students, according to one state lawmaker.
2228, by state Rep. Joe Dorman, would allow schools to authorize
fingerprint background checks on anyone interacting with students
in school-sponsored activities, including volunteers. Currently,
schools cannot conduct these checks unless specifically authorized
by state law. The legislation was approved by the House Public
Safety Committee and now advances to the House Calendar Committee.
Proposes Legislation Concerning Employee Passwords
General Assembly's Labor and Public Employees Committee is drafting
Bill No. 159, titled "An Act Concerning Employee Privacy," which
would "prevent current or potential employers from requesting
or requiring that employees or potential employees provide passwords
to their personal accounts as a condition of their employment."
New Mexico, Utah Curb Employers from Demanding Private Social
New Mexico and Utah are joining California, Illinois, Maryland
and Michigan in limiting employers' access to social media accounts.
A new law signed by New Mexico Governor Susana Martinez makes
it illegal for employers to request or require an applicant to
provide his or her password, or demand access in any manner, to
the applicant's social media accounts or profiles. The statute
appears to apply only to prospective employees, not current employees.
In addition, Utah Governor Gary R. Herbert has signed the state's
"Internet Employment Privacy Act" (IEPA) into law. Under the IEPA,
employers are prohibited from asking an employee or applicant
to disclose the username and password to access his or her "personal
Internet account," as well as taking adverse action against the
individual for refusing to make the disclosure. Employees and
applicants may sue employers for violating the IEPA. Damages are
limited to $500 per violation. In this developing legal area,
employers need to keep on top of developments and ensure their
managers and supervisors are trained so they know their limitations
in attracting, managing and disciplining employees.
City Council Unanimously Passes 'Ban the Box' Ordinance
City Council voted unanimously to eliminate requirements that
applicants for many city jobs acknowledge prior felony convictions
on initial applications. Though the "ban the box" ordinance's
passage was never in doubt - it was on the council's consent agenda.
Many said they didn't expect the measure to end the difficulty
that convicted felons face finding employment and housing after
release, but added that the city could set a powerful example.
The ordinance - similar to measures adopted in dozens of cities
across the country - won't prevent the city from conducting background
checks and asking about felony convictions in the interview process.
Rather, it is intended to avoid applications from being rejected
outright based on a conviction that may not be relevant to the
position. City positions that will still be subject to the check-box
requirement range from public safety jobs such as police, firefighters
and animal control to positions with financial responsibilities
and those that require work with children and confidential documents.
New York City Council and Bloomberg Administration Clash Over
Proposal to Prohibit Employment Discrimination Based on Credit
The New York
City Council has proposed Int. #0857-2012 (the Proposal), which
would amend the New York City Human Rights Law (NYCHRL) to prohibit
discrimination against job applicants and employees based on their
credit history, and provide expansive whistleblower/retaliation
protections to employees. If the Proposal becomes law, it would
join a growing number of laws and proposed laws to limit employment
discrimination on the basis of credit history. Although the Proposal
exempts employers required by law to run credit checks on their
applicants and employees, its silence as to these other standard
exceptions should give New York City employers particular pause
should the Proposal become law. Given recent trends, employers
across the country should brace for continued legislative efforts
to curtail employer consideration of credit history in their hiring
and personnel decisions.
PROTECTION & PRIVACY
FTC Chair Ramirez Could Push for Global Privacy Rules
Commissioner Edith Ramirez, recently designated by the Obama administration
as the next chair of the Federal Trade Commission, is expected
to champion globalized approaches to consumer privacy protection
and to clamp down on fraudulent marketing aimed at Spanish-speaking
communities. The fact that the Obama administration chose a woman
comes as no surprise, considering criticism of the president's
male-centric senior advisory staff. Ramirez has a background steeped
in antitrust and competition issues, and served as director of
Latino outreach for the Obama 2008 campaign. Jeffrey Chester of
the Center for Digital Democracy said, "Under (Ramirez's) leadership,
we expect the FTC to blaze a new ground on privacy." Ramirez has
expressed interest in leadership on APEC's cross-border privacy
rules and the intersection between privacy and technology. She
has also indicated support of robust rules around children's data
collection and raising the profile of the agency's work on behalf
of all minority and underserved communities.
Prepare for the Coming of the Privacy Police
Trade Commission (FTC) is employing its authority to regulate
deceptive and unfair practices to go after companies that impinge
on consumer privacy. The agency is also finding new ways to apply
old laws to current practices. As the amount of online data about
consumers multiplies, so does the number and sophistication of
attackers trying to get it. And the issue becomes critical as
the attacks target corporate intellectual property and the nation's
infrastructure. "Paying attention to cybersecurity is a business
imperative," said Christopher Wolf, a Hogan Lovells partner. "There
are repeated attacks on infrastructure, and businesses need to
protect their trade secrets and preserve the ability to operate
their business. There are also privacy issues if personal data
is affected. I expect to see more attention by Congress and the
SEC [Securities and Exchange Commission] to corporate disclosures
on cybersecurity." Although there is a lot of interest in consumer
privacy on Capitol Hill, rifts between and within the parties
stand in the way of Congressional action.
More Privacy Pros into HR
in The Globe and Mail's "Nine to Five" column, an employee working
for a U.S.-based public company expressed concerns about having
to submit to a mandatory criminal background check. The employee
had been at the company for 15 years, and until recently, only
new employees would have to consent to a background check. "I
do not have a criminal record, but I have serious objections to
this," the employee expressed. "I don't want this confidential
personal information held by a third party, and I find it to be
an intrusion on my privacy. Surely there are limits to what an
employer can request?" One of the HR experts in the column stated,
"While I understand your concern about your information and privacy,
these policies are typically initiated for the greater protection
of the firm's integrity, not to make you feel uncomfortable."
Wouldn't having a privacy department or the presence of a privacy
professional help in communicating out such a drastic policy change
to employees in a way that doesn't alienate them? If so, perhaps
there wouldn't be as many employees steeped with a sense of discomfort
(assuming this person isn't the only one). But clearly, the damage,
in this case, has been done. Alienated employees can damage a
company's integrity as much as anything else.
He Fired for Addiction - or for Lying About it?
A company hires an employee. Years later, HR learns
he lied about being a drug and alcohol addict on his application.
Can he be fired for his dishonesty? The answer is yes. After the
employee sued the company, claiming disability discrimination,
the court ruled in favor of the company. The court said the issue
wasn't whether the employee was a recovering alcohol or drug addict;
it was whether the company could believe the employee's responses
on his application were dishonest. The evidence that came out
after the employee's on-the-job injury makes it clear.
He had received treatment at a drug and alcohol facility
in the mid-90s after a DUI conviction and he also admitted to
attending Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) and Narcotics Anonymous (NA)
meetings. Despite that, the employee marked "no" on his application
form when asked if he had ever been recognized, diagnosed or treated
for addiction. Since the company fired him for lying (and not
for being a former addict), the termination was legal. Though
this firing was upheld, remember this: employees who are recovering
from drug or alcohol addiction may be protected under the Americans
with Disabilities Act. But it's different when employees are instructed
to tell the truth - and they still lie.
Kansas Governor Signs Public Benefits Drug Test
Sam Brownback (R) has signed into law a bill that requires applicants
for welfare and unemployment benefits to undergo drug testing
if there is "reasonable suspicion" they are using drugs. People
who test positive would have to undergo drug treatment and job
training at state expense before becoming eligible for cash assistance.
According to Senate Bill 149, "reasonable suspicion" may be derived
from "applicant's or recipient's demeanor, missed appointments
and arrest or other police records, previous employment or application
for employment in an occupation or industry that regularly conducts
drug screening, etc." Brownback says the state had an obligation
to its residents to help them break their addictions and improve
their lives through treatment and job training. Critics of the
bill, including the American Civil Liberties Union state chapter,
argued that public benefits recipients don't use drugs any more
frequently than anyone else, that such laws perpetuate existing
stigmas, and that they unnecessarily invade privacy. But those
arguments did not sway the legislature or the governor.
Pre-Employment Drug Test Positives Increase
More Than 5%, According to New Data from Quest Diagnostics Drug
subject to pre-employment drug screening tested positive for illicit
drugs at a greater rate in the first six months of 2012 than in
all of 2011, according to Drug Testing Index (TM) (DTI) data released
by Quest Diagnostics DGX -2.81%, the world's leading provider
of diagnostic information services. The positivity rate from pre-employment
urine drug screening in the U.S. general workforce increased by
5.7% in the first half of 2012 compared to 2011, while the positivity
rate from random urine drug testing in the U.S. general workforce
was down 5.8%. DTI data also reveal a jump in positivity rates
for marijuana in oral fluid vs. urine in the U.S. general workforce.
Due in part to advances in oral fluid testing technology implemented
in late 2011, the oral fluid marijuana positivity rate was 70%
higher than that of urine in the first half of 2012 as compared
with 2011. Marijuana continues to be the most commonly abused
drug. Cocaine use is decreasing and amphetamines use continues
a five-year upward trend. Substance misuse negatively affects
the workplace through lost productivity, workplace accidents and
injuries, employee absenteeism, low morale and increased illness
and can have a serious impact on business operations.
Innovative Enterprises and the National Consumer Reporting
Association (NCRA) Announce Strategic Partnership
Enterprises, Inc., a strategic partner to the background screening
industry and expert provider of court research information products,
smart data solutions and ancillary services, today announced that
it has entered into a strategic partnership with the National
Consumer Reporting Agency (NCRA). Through this new alliance, NCRA
members gain immediate access to Innovative's business-building,
growth and support resources and receive highly-competitive, preferred
pricing on several of the industry's best information products,
including the National Criminal Information Scan®, the industry's
leading multi-jurisdictional criminal search solution; NCIS-Alias™
and the AssuredTenant™ comprehensive resident screening
"We are excited
to forge this new partnership with NCRA," stated William J. Bollinger,
Innovative's Executive Vice President. "NCRA members will now
have access to the most advanced set of services in the background
screening industry, while realizing significant cost savings.
I am confident that this program will provide NCRA members a distinct
competitive advantage in the marketplace, helping to ensure their
long term growth and success."
NCRA Executive Director, added, "We are thrilled to offer these
great new programs to our expanding membership. Innovative is
a proven industry leader, and their history of data integrity,
blended with advanced customer service, is exactly the combination
we look for when developing strategic partnerships to add value
to the NCRA membership experience."
Factory Data Point to Slowing Economy
of Americans filing new claims for unemployment benefits have
risen and factory activity in the nation's Mid-Atlantic region
cooled in April, further signs of a moderation in economic growth.
Underscoring the softening growth outlook, another report showed
a gauge of future economic activity fell in March for the first
time in seven months. They were the latest data to indicate a
step-back in the economy after a brisk start to the year as tighter
fiscal policy began to weigh. While claims, they were still at
levels economists normally associate with average monthly job
gains of more than 150,000. That helped ease concerns of a deterioration
in labor market conditions after an increase in nonfarm payrolls
in March was the smallest in nine months. "This report has to
raise some concerns that the nation's manufacturing sector may
be starting to feel the impact of the higher taxes on households
and the cutbacks in government spending," said Joel Naroff, chief
economist at Naroff Economic Advisors in Holland, Pennsylvania.
The data provides ammunition for the Federal Reserve to maintain
its aggressive policy easing, despite a rift among policymakers
on continuing asset purchases.
By Mike Sankey, PRRN
FREE RESOURCE CENTER
For the MOST COMPREHENSIVE RESOURCE describing
all access methods, restrictions, fees, and search procedures
on over 26,000 government and private agencies visit the Public
Record Research System (PRRS-Web) . We provide the extensive details
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For more information
contact Michael Sankey at email@example.com
or visit www.brbpublications.com/updates.aspx
Compliance with the myriad of state laws is a complex
subject affecting CRAs and their clients. The State Rules Register
provides an uncomplicated explanation in plain English of state
laws for what is reportable to the client, usable by the client,
and the necessary steps to take to be in compliance with state
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For more information
contact Michael Sankey at firstname.lastname@example.org
or visit www.brbpublications.com/updates.aspx
GOVERNMENT PUBLIC RECORD SITES
Facts to Know About Searching Government Records
four important truths about searching public records online from
- Less than
70% of government maintained public records are found online.
For example, only 65% of the state and local courts place access
to felony data online.
sites can be free or fee-based. Generally, the fee-based sites
are more robust.
- Most free
government public record websites contain no personal identifiers
beyond the name. This can be a problem when researching a common
on the type of record, often the searchable and viewable information
found online is limited to name indexes and summary data rather
than document images. Most access sites - especially the free
access sites - permit the former, not the latter.
four truths in mind and your public record searching will lead
to better results.
If you are
looking for the more than a links list - please check out BRB's
Public Record Research System (PRRS).
invite you to pull up a chair, grab your latte and take a break
while you join us for this month’s issue of The Background
Bistro. This week’s guest is Barton Taylor CEO, Tazworks.
Before coming to the background screening industry Barton owned a printing
company and sold business forms to credit agencies. At the time,
he indicate he would often have the opportunity to interface with
the people who ran these agencies and the software providers that
they used. It wasn't hard to see that the form business was dying.
He noted that he had already been asked to help clients make electronic
form overlays for their laser printers. Recognizing that he was
essentially putting himself out of business he decided to open
a credit reporting agency in Salt Lake City, and he went straight
to the use of modems and electronic forms. While growing his credit
reporting agency, he realized that every time interest rates went
up, business dropped despite his best laid plans. So in 1997,
he diversified into background screening. After doing it for some
time, he realized that the current background screening software
was lacking. Knowing that his current company didn't have the
budget to fund the development of a new software product, he formed
a separate company and sold the software to his first company
and all of my peers in the industry. In 2004, he sold the credit
reporting agency and background screening company and focused
solely on the software.
he said he is a serial entrepreneur, having started and grown
7 different successful companies throughout my life.
that Credit reporting was fun when remote dial up was still the
standard. He smiled as he reflected and said he loved seeing all
the blinking lights and hearing all the sounds the modems would
make when someone would connect to our server. You knew it was
the sight and sound of money coming in. Then in 1998 we went to
the internet and suddenly everything was silent. I didn't know
what to do with myself and I was depressed for months. It didn't
feel like I was making any money! As far as background screening
goes, I have always enjoyed reading the interesting and off beat
cases that come in. In addition to that, one of my favorite things
about being on the software side of things is taking business
calls and trying to figure out a software solution to meet the
needs of the client. It's like a puzzle.
aim at TazWorks is to empower our background screening partners
with the most Simple. Powerful.™ software in the industry.
This is the mission that we focus on each and every day.
our goal for 2013 is to exceed the expectations of our clients.
We look at our clients as part of an extended family. Collaboration
is the power behind the screening tools and features we develop
into our background check platform. We make sure that our clients
are connected at all times. Our clients are constantly telling
us how much they appreciate being a part of the feature development
process. Their knowledge, input, feedback, and suggestions have
helped us to create the most simple, yet powerful background screening
software available on the market.
We have a
few industry-changing projects in the works that we are very excited
about. Unfortunately, we can't share anything just yet.
This has been the most enjoyable business of my career. Barton
indicated that he loves providing a great work environment for
my team and helping my business peers succeed. One of the most
pleasing facts about TazWorks has been its steady and predictable
growth over the years, even during the recession in 2008.
to my question regarding what he sees happening 10 years down
the road in the background screening industry, he state that he
sees more opportunity as technology becomes a much bigger part
of the process. He believes that people will need technology to
simplify things and facilitate automation. He added that he thinks
that background screening will become much more of an art than
a science and people will have to adapt to it. He also remarked
that the good news is that it will not become a commodity.
the interview I asked him what was a recent book that he read.
He indicated that he is currently reading a book called Peopleware:
Productive Projects and Teams by Tom DeMarco. He has found
the book to be very interesting because the whole premise is that
it's not all about technology, but also the team you build. The
people you hire are just as big of a factor in the software development
process. He thoughtfully added that he would like to take this
notion one step further and apply the same idea to his clients
because he strongly feels that they are integral part of the process
Kevin Coy is a Partner in the Washington
DC office of Arnall Golden Gregory LLP. Kevin
advises background screening companies and other clients on a
wide range of privacy and consumer regulatory issues, including
Fair Credit Reporting Act, Gramm Leach Bliley Act, Drivers' Privacy
Protection Act, and Dodd Frank Act compliance issues, as well
as data breach matters. Kevin also represents clients with matters
before the Federal Trade Commission, the Consumer Financial Protection
Bureau, and other consumer protection agencies.
be contacted at Kevin.Coy@agg.com
WASHINGTON REPORT - April 2013
On the Hill
So far this year background checks in the context of proposed
gun control legislation has received the most attention on the
Hill. With immigration reform looming background checks related
to immigration are likely to receive increased attention by Congress.
expected to play a significant role in the immigration reform
debate, as various immigration proposals are expected to call
for expanded use of E-Verify as a means of ensuring that those
seeking jobs in the United States are legally eligible for employment.
At the FTC
The FTC continues to warn potential background screeners that
the FCRA applies to websites and mobile applications. On April
3rd, the FTC sent letters to the operators of six websites that
sell tenant history information advising them of their obligations
if they are consumer reporting agencies or nationwide specialty
consumer reporting agencies subject to the FCRA.
The FTC also
continues to use its FCRA and other enforcement authorities to
pursue information security safeguards and settlements.
At the CFPB
At the end of March, the CFPB released an expanded data set regarding
complaints that the CFPB had received from consumers about certain
financial services companies and how those companies responded
to the complaints.
As yet, complaints
about consumer reporting agencies have not been added to the dataset
(although the CFPB already is collecting complaints about credit
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Your Company From Internal Damage
case has highlighted the need for companies to put strategies
in place to protect their businesses from internal fraud. A former
company director pleaded guilty to 14 counts of fraud in the Brisbane
District Court after being prosecuted by the Australian Securities
and Investments Commission. Reports have shown that employees
facing difficult financial times can come under increased pressure
to commit fraud. Everybody in an organization can help to reduce
fraud - but having a risk management strategy in place can be
especially helpful. To reduce the risk, companies can: put policies
in place which define fraud; put policies in place to detect fraud;
regularly review fraud-related policies; and insure against losses
resulting from fraud. Employees are especially well-placed to
detect fraud, and should feel empowered to do so. It is especially
important that they feel they can report any suspicions they have
without fear of retribution.
Three Quarters of Applicants Have Already Lied to You
be embellishing a former job title, talking-up responsibilities
or even fudging qualifications - you name it, an applicant has
done it. The problem is it's happening more often than many employers
realize. According to one background check firm, as many as 75%
of resumes contain an inaccuracy. Some are fairly minor in nature,
while others are out-and-out falsehoods, designed to tailor the
resume to a specific job or to mask aspects of their background
that are less favorable. "A candidate's resume is their marketing
tool to gain employment and hence they use it to portray themselves
in the best light possible," said Greg Newton from background-search
firm Verify. According to Verify, the most common omissions or
embellishments include: leaving out positions which are less flattering
to a person's 'on paper' career profile; modifying job titles
to portrait a higher level position was occupied; and listing
qualifications that were only commenced and not yet completed.
Recent data has also indicated that candidates are more honest
in their online profiles, such as on LinkedIn, than on their paper
resumes, however; Verify found the opposite to be true.
Lying in the Hiring Process: What HR Needs to Know
People lie all the time during the hiring process. It's
up to HR and hiring managers to catch those liars. In this intense
job market, it's no surprise that many applicants exaggerate parts
of their resumes to look more enticing to potential employers.
The concept is so widespread, however, that nearly half of all
applicants admit to lying on their resumes. But no matter how
clued in you are to what applicants fib about, you'll still inadvertently
bring many of them in for interviews. That's when your skills
at judging character come in, and being skeptical can actually
work against you. A recent psychological study found that people
who trust others - or who assume the best in other people - are
the best at identifying liars. Adam Grant of The Washington Post
says, "… lie-detection skills cause people to become more
trusting. If you're good at spotting lies, you need to worry less
about being deceived by others, because you can often catch them
in the act." Therefore, Grant advises employers to put individuals
who tend to see the best in others in the interviewer role to
prevent applicants from duping you into hiring them. Even still,
it is important to sprinkle a few ounces of skepticism into each
pound of trust.
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Loves E-Verify: Grants $111 Million Funding, Conducts Research
Last month, both houses of Congress agreed to grant
USCIS an additional $111 million dollars to fund the E-Verify
Program. H.R. 933 is currently enrolled in the House of Representatives
and has yet to be signed off by the President. To be fair, the
E-Verify Program isn't the only program receiving funding. H.R.
933 would grant Customs and Border Protection an additional $324
million to fund border security fencing, border security infrastructure,
and technology. With the influx in funding for the E-Verify Program
and "border" security of our nation (both the interior and borders),
Congress is getting serious about immigration reform. It's also
making good on its promise to "get tough" on immigration violators.
A Congressional report recently issued detailed the historical
development of E-Verify and its impact on businesses if the program
were to be nationally mandated. The report was well-written but
unremarkable in its objections to the E-Verify Program, paving
the way for Congress to adopt the program on a nationwide scale.
G8's Immigration Bill Shakes Up E-Verify, I-9 and More!
The Senate's "Gang of Eight" Senators have released
its comprehensive immigration reform bill entitled, the "Border
Security, Economic Opportunity, and Immigration Modernization
Act of 2013." Congress wants to implement the E-Verify program
on a mandatory, national basis and the bill proposes employers
enroll according to a specified timeline, which is contingent
on DHS publishing regulations. The bill also incorporates protections
for workers that are lacking in the existing E-Verify System.
Individuals who wish to appeal a non-confirmation would finally,
under this bill, have a procedure by which to do so, by filing
an administrative appeal. This bill carves out protections for
employers from liability based on good faith reliance on E-Verify
results. To ensure E-Verify will increasingly become more accurate,
the bill would require the General Accounting Office to conduct
an annual study on E-Verify's accuracy, efficiency, integrity
and impact. There's also a possibility of future changes to the
current Form I-9. Civil penalties will become effective one year
after the date of enactment of the bill and the bill is serious
about punishing employers. Therefore, partnering with experience
counsel to ensure your organization properly understands and complies
with any enacted law will be critical.
Automation Makes Life Easy for Form I-9 Process
Last August, when U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officially
announced it was automating the I-94 process, many of us were
unsure of the impact on foreign nationals and on employers during
the Form I-9 verification process. After months of anticipation,
CBP has published the official details in the Federal Register.
Part of I-94 automation enables CBP to pull and organize this
data, and provide it to the foreign national electronically rather
than via paper (a process that was duplicative and time/cost-consuming).
One concern was the availability of the data to the foreign national
in order to present to the employer during the Form I-9 process.
It has been confirmed that foreign nationals arriving by air and
sea, who enter at a port that has implemented I-94 automation,
will have immediate access to their I-94 data. The data can be
accessed on a secure website and printed out for presentation
during the Form I-9 identity and employment verification process.
CBP also clarified that the I-94 number available online to foreign
nations who receive an electronic I-94 record will be the "true"
I-94 number. In essence, they'll only receive one number electronically
rather than multiple numbers for that initial entry.
Cooperation Between EU and APEC on Cross-Border Data Transfer
A joint EU-APEC
committee, which includes the French and German data protection
authorities as well as the European Data Protection Supervisor
and the European Commission, has been studying similarities and
differences between the EU's binding corporate rules ("BCRs")
framework and APEC Cross-Border Privacy Rules. The committee's
goal is to facilitate data protection compliance in this area
for international businesses operating in the EU and the APEC
region, including by creating a common frame of reference for
both sets of cross-border data transfer rules.
FOIA Amendments to Take Effect in May or June
to the Information Commissioner's Office (ICO), the following
amendments to the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) are likely
to take effect in May or June: Amendments to the FOIA in section
102 Protection of Freedoms Act (POFA) - duty to provide data sets
in re-usable form; Amendments to the FOIA in section 103 POFA
- meaning of "publicly owned company"; Amendments to the FOIA
and the Data Protection Act in Sections 105-108 POFA - the Information
Commissioner's appointment, tenure etc. The ICO says that it will
publish guidance on the data sets provisions once the code of
practice on datasets and the new fees regulations for the re-use
of data sets are in force. The government has not announced whether
the FOIA will be extended to cover private sector bodies, which
provide public services.
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Global Employee Mobility Assignments Expected to Increase
70% of employers expect to increase short-term overseas assignments
in 2013, according to a report on expatriate policies and practices
by consultancy firm Mercer. The report found 55% of employers
expect to increase long-term overseas assignments and highlighted
for the last two years there has been an increase in the overall
number of international assignments. It found China, United States,
Brazil, UK and Australia are the priority destinations in their
respective regions for expatriates. The report also showed more
than half of employers reported an increase of long-term (52%)
and short-term assignments (53%) in 2011 and 2012. The top five
reasons cited for international assignment programmes are: to
provide specific technical skills not available locally (47%),
to provide career management/leadership development (43%), to
ensure knowledge transfer (41%), to fulfill specific project needs
(39%) and to provide specific managerial skills not available
locally (38%). Anne Rossier-Renaud, principal in Mercer's global
mobility business said, "Mobility and HR directors now face great
complexity in the number and type of international assignments
that need managing."
Economy Adds 112,450 Jobs
labour ministry reported a rise in formal jobs during March, following
an increase in economic activity. But the number of jobs added
grew at a slower pace compared to a year ago. Brazil's economy
created 112,450 jobs last month, an increase of +0.3% from February,
with the number of jobs added meeting market expectations. The
ministry said that 1,849,148 people were hired in the month, compared
to 1,736,698 who lost their jobs. The latest figures show that
the country has added around 306,068 formal jobs this year. "This
result is an effect of economic growth, and the country needs
to create even more jobs," said Labour minister Manoel Dias. "We
expect to create more than 1.7 million jobs this year." Last year,
Brazil created 1.3 million formal payroll jobs, the lowest number
since 2003. Most jobs in March were created in the service sector,
posting 61,349 new roles. The processing industry showed net hiring
of 25,790 while manufacturing and construction also posted an
increase in the number of jobs created. However, payrolls fell
in the agricultural sector. In February, joblessness rose for
the second consecutive month with companies cutting back on seasonal
workers. The unemployment rate in the month was 5.6%, up from
5.4% in January. Despite the increase, unemployment remains historically
low. The average unemployment rate in 2012 reached a record-low
of 5.5%, a fall of -0.5% from the previous year.
Many Alberta Firms Ignoring Privacy Laws, Says FOIP Office
Customer Complains Car Dealership Did Not Safeguard Personal
Many businesses are not complying with Alberta's law
surrounding the collection, use and storage of customers' personal
information, says the province's privacy office. The Personal
Information Protection Act (PIPA), has been law for nine years,
but a survey conducted by Alberta's information and privacy commissioner
found 50% of companies haven't trained staff on protecting customers'
information. A recent example of this involves an Edmonton woman
who received a series of late-night text messages from a mechanic
at Sherwood Ford who got her number when she had her car serviced,
more than a year ago. Her privacy complaints to the company, the
RCMP, Ford of Canada, and the Better Business Bureau, were ignored
and dismissed. Brian Hamilton of the privacy commissioner's office
says the case raises several concerns, including how many people
in a business have access to customers' personal information.
A greater privacy breach is using a customer's contact information
for purposes other than the business reason for which it was gathered.
The woman said her complaint would never have gone so far if the
company had taken her concerns more seriously.
Employer References in the Age of Privacy
The law around
references given to prospective employers by ex-employers is changing.
There is no positive obligation on an employer to provide a reference
for an ex-employee. On the other hand, the failure of an employer
to give a reference has been found to be a factor courts will
consider when determining the period of reasonable notice in a
wrongful dismissal case. There are also risks in giving references.
Whatever reference is given, and however it is given, it must
be truthful. There have been cases where an employer has been
sued for giving a false reference. There have also been cases
where writers of 'bad' references were found to have defamed the
person for whom the reference was written. If an employer is going
to give references, it should have a policy, or standardized reference
process. A policy helps to ensure consistency. A policy may also
help an employer avoid liability in a case where a reference is
given by someone not authorized to do so, and which is not in
keeping with the employer's policy. Employers should also require,
as a practice, consent from job applicants to seek out references.
Data Protection Law Goes Into Force
Data Protection went into effect on 18 April 2013. The Law introduces
a comprehensive privacy regime in Colombia for the first time
and regulates, among other things, notice and consent requirements,
cross-border data transfers, and the processing of children's
data. The Law also contains data subject rights and registration
requirements. Under the law, the Superintendence of Industry and
Commerce will have the power to sanction violations of the provisions.
EU Postpones Crucial Vote on European-wide Data Regulation Law
The EU has
delayed the vote on a controversial reform of data protection
laws, which seek to implement a single law across all 27 member
states. Industry bodies are running a lobbying campaign against
the proposals, which they claim will have a "chilling" effect
on UK business and prevent the UK from being the home of the next
Twitter or Facebook. Organisations including the Internet Advertising
Bureau, Interactive Media in Retail Group and Coalition for a
Digital Economy signed an open letter to ministers, warning them
that the European Commission's proposals to clamp down on data
violations would hamper growth of the digital industry in the
UK. It is understood the crucial vote was delayed in order to
concentrate on the fallout from the Cyprus banking crisis. The
EU argues that a single data protection law across all its member
states would save businesses €2.3bn a year by removing "fragmentation
and costly administrative burdens" and will boost growth and jobs
by reinforcing "consumer confidence in online services". John
Pooley, managing director at specialist agency The Data Partnership,
said, "It seems the EU data regulators need to review their objectives
and encourage data responsibility, rather than set out restrictive
and widespread 'data gatekeeping'."
Privacy a Central Issue in New Schengen D
The European Information System called SIS (Schengen
Information System) II is launching after substantial delays.
The new database is intended to allow security officials faster
and easier ways to exchange information, but privacy concerns
abound. The main goal of the Schengen Agreement is to have a space
of free movement without controls on the internal borders. All
EU member states belong to the Schengen area with the exception
of Great Britain, Ireland, Cyprus, Romania, and Bulgaria. In light
of security concerns, the member states established the SIS in
1995 as a joint database to be used in manhunts. This system has
now been reformed and enables European customs and border officials
as well as police and prosecutors to search not just for missing
people or criminal offenders, but also for cars and weapons. National
and European privacy authorities are intended to help determine
whether the SIS II conforms to their countries' standards. Some
have reservations about the lack of uniform privacy standards
in the EU. Federal Commissioner for Data Protection and Freedom
of Information, Peter Schaar, believes that such a concentration
of power is not in accordance with data protection standards.
He also says a situation is developing in which information about
not just suspected criminals or criminal deeds is being collected,
but simply everyday behavior.
CNIL Sets Forth Guidelines for Workplace Privacy Protection
The French CNIL has adopted and published a new set
of guidelines that set forth "best practices" about privacy protection
at work. According to the Guidelines, employers can monitor an
employee's Internet use such as web-surfing and electronic mail.
They can keep track of the list of websites visited and of the
amount of time an employee spends online. However, they cannot
use "keyloggers" to track all activities on a computer. Any monitoring
must be declared by employers to the CNIL. Employers must inform
their employees about the procedure in place, its aim and duration.
Employers cannot access any email marked as "private" or "personal,"
except during a trial, and based on a court order. Additionally,
employers cannot receive a copy of every email sent by employees.
The first principle set forth by the Guidelines is that employers
cannot use the result of illegal monitoring during a performance
evaluation or against an employee under disciplinary procedure.
The CNIL recommends that employers set up policies in their companies
to notify their employees of every rule, or monitoring procedure
Recruitment Moving into Positive Direction
Hiring sentiments in India's formal sector was +9% higher in February
when compared to a year ago, with the pharma, IT and BPO sectors
posting increased activities. The latest job index by local job
board Naukri.com found that recruitment prospects are looking
brighter than in 2012. However, sectors like banking, oil and
gas, telecom and insurance saw dips in hiring levels, ranging
between -9% and -13%. The auto sector posted flat hiring levels
while capital goods (+9%), software services (+5%) and the pharma
(+2%) sector all posted growth in hiring levels. In February,
the highest demand was seen for professionals in HR, software
services and accounts domains. Sales and engineering design professionals
were also much sought after while demand for banking professionals
unsurprisingly dropped during the month. Barring Hyderabad which
saw stable hiring levels, hiring activity grew across major cities,
particularly in Pune and Kolkata, Delhi, Mumbai, Bangalore and
Mexico: Mexico's New Privacy Notice Guidelines
Require Immediate Action
17, 2013, Mexico's new
Privacy Notice Guidelines will go into effect. The Guidelines
impose extensive requirements for furnishing adequate data privacy
notices and obtaining consent before personal data is collected
directly from a person or electronically via "cookies," "web beacons"
or other automated means. The Guidelines are mandatory and particularly
important to employers that regularly collect, process, and/or
transfer personal data about employees or job applicants, and
web beacons, and similar media technology that automatically collects
personal data online. As shown in a recent decision by the Federal
Institute for Access to Information and Data Protection ("IFAI"
for "Instituto Federal de Acceso a la Información y Protección
de Datos"), sanctions may be imposed for noncompliance.
number of employers have begun demanding private login information
to applicants' social media accounts. In the U.S., such practices
may be a breach of privacy, however; there is no law in Singapore
that guarantees employee privacy. Although this may change in
the future, employers now are legally free to monitor their employees
through any means - including tracking Internet history, e-mails,
chat sessions and file downloads. Some companies even use GPS
tracking on company devices to check on employee location. As
a result of this lack of legislation, nothing is sacred when it
comes to employee privacy - not even employees' social network
accounts. Employers may not need to worry about legal ramifications,
but employee privacy is still a minefield that should be approached
with caution. With the boundary between an employee's personal
and professional line is getting increasingly unclear, it is important
that HR professionals do draw a line and stick to it. The best
way to do this is to institute a social media policy and provide
training and resources for employees to turn to.
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