Insanely Simple Employee Background Screening

June 15, 2012

I recently read Ken Segall’s new book “Insanely Simple: The Obsession That Drives Apple’s Success”. Ken Segall is an advertising executive who worked closely with Steve Jobs for over 12 years at NeXT and Apple. He’s the guy who came up with the iconic iMac name and helped develop Apple’s famous “Think different” campaign.

The book takes you on an entertaining and insightful journey through Steve Jobs’ world. You understand how Jobs’ love of Simplicity made Apple one of the most successful companies in the world.

This got me thinking about my own company and how much I love Simplicity. Employee background screening is a complicated process that is getting more complicated every day. But we make it simple. Our cloud-based employee screening software is incredibly easy to use.

You log in, enter the applicant’s SSN, a few clicks to verify the information and your background check gets ordered. No more time consuming data entry and errors. We make sure you receive an accurate, compliant background check.


Insanely simple employee background screening

What Employers Need to Know About Conducting Criminal Background Checks in Massachusetts

March 19, 2012


Littler Mendelson, the nation’s largest employment and labor law firm, has an important update for Massachusetts employers conducting background checks:

Massachusetts Employers Face New Obligations When Conducting Background Checks Involving Criminal History Records

Effective May 4, 2012, the Massachusetts Criminal Offender Record Information (CORI) Reform Act (the Act), which was enacted in August 2010 with the controversial “ban the box” legislation, will significantly change the way employers access, use, and maintain information obtained through the Commonwealth’s CORI system. The Act will allow all employers access to a new online records system, but also imposes obligations on employers that acquire criminal history information from private sources, such as consumer reporting agencies (background report vendors such as FYI Screening). Employers should review their hiring and background check policies now to determine whether any updates are necessary.

Related article:

2010 CORI Reform Explained: How the law is changing, and when. (pdf)

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Does Your Background Screening Program Need A Check-Up? – What’s Hot in Background Screening News

February 2, 2012


Welcome to our monthly edition of “What’s hot in employee background screening news”. If you want to become smarter about background screening, you’ve come to the right place. Here are some of the news items that caught our attention last month.

Pre-Employment Criminal Background Checks: Learning from Pepsi’s $3.13 Million Mistake

Pepsi has agreed to pay $3.13 million and provide job offers and training to resolve a charge of race discrimination filed by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC).  Based on the investigation, the EEOC found reasonable cause to believe that the criminal background check policy formerly used by Pepsi discriminated against African Americans in violation of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

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Screening Your Background Screener

The employee screening environment is rapidly evolving, making it hard for businesses to keep up. That’s just one reason why businesses are either outsourcing background checks to a partner or are not conducting screenings at all.

For those not conducting pre-employment screening, the case for reconsidering is air tight. If you’re working with an expert partner, it’s important to stay on top of the changing nature of background checks to be sure you’re working with the best partner for your business.

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5 Reasons Why Criminal Background Checks Are a Perfect Storm for a Lawsuit

Criminal background checks of job applicants seems to have reached a tipping point as a topic in employment-law circles. So, what are the key components leading to this perfect storm of EEO laws and how can an employer avoid the perfect storm?

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Former Domino’s Pizza Employees Allowed to Proceed with Class Action Against Company for Background Check Violations

On January 25, 2012, United States District Court Judge Deborah K. Chasanow denied Defendant Domino’s Pizza’s Motion to Dismiss in Singleton, et al., v. Domino’s Pizza, LLC, 8:11-cv-01823-DKC (D. Md.).

In a lengthy opinion, the Court ruled that the plaintiffs properly alleged that Domino’s violated the Fair Credit Reporting Act by (1) running background checks on employees without proper authorization; and (2) “systematically” failing to provide employees with copies of their background checks prior to taking adverse employment action against them.

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Following Deadly Stabbing, Restaurant Could Face Penalty For Hiring A Felon

The killing of a south Charlotte store manager – allegedly by a felon hired to work there – highlights the risks companies take when they hire an employee with a criminal record, or don’t do a full background check on applicants.

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No Background Check Done: Bookkeeper Accused of Stealing $1 Million From Archdiocese

When a church worker was hired by the archdiocese in June 2003, it did not perform criminal background checks on prospective employees, as it does now. Church officials were unaware until recently that the bookkeeper had been previously convicted of grand larceny in one case and had pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor in another.

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Social Media Background Checks : Off-duty Conduct Laws :: Oil : Water

One report suggests that as many as 91% of employers use social networking sites to screen potential employees, with as many as 69% of employers rejecting a candidate because of information discovered on a social site.

Jon Hyman, from Ohio Employer’s Law Blog, has written about some of the risks employers face when conducting background checks on employees via Facebook or other social media sites.

He gives us one more risk to consider: off-duty conduct laws.

29 states have laws that prohibit employers from taking an adverse action against an employee based on their lawful off-duty activities.

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Photo credit: JelleS

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Top 10 Employee Background Screening Posts For 2011

December 27, 2011


The use of credit and criminal history records in employment screening were the most widely-read posts from our blog in 2011. Stay tuned and we’ll keep you informed of the latest trends, best practices and legal compliance issues for employee background screening in 2012.

Our most widely-read posts of the year:

  1. Lying On Your Resume Is Not Good For Your Career
  2. How To Use Credit Reports For Employment Background Checks
  3. Is It Legal For An Employer To Charge A Potential Employee For A Background Check?
  4. Six Myths About Using Credit Reports For Employment Screening
  5. 3 Myths About Employing People With Criminal Histories
  6. People With Criminal Records “Need Not Apply”
  7. EEOC Examines Arrest and Conviction Records as a Hiring Barrier
  8. Do You Do Social Media Background Checks?
  9. How To Check Your Own Employment Eligibility In The United States
  10. The Importance of Quality Background Checks – What’s Hot in Background Screening News

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The Importance of Quality Background Checks – What’s Hot in Background Screening News

December 1, 2011


Welcome to our monthly edition of what’s hot in employee background screening news. If you want to become smarter about background screening, you’ve come to the right place. Here are some of the news items that caught our attention last month.

Unauthorized employee recommendations, references on social media may put employers at risk

Employers are beginning to realize that their employees are sending or receiving recommendations on social media sites, such as LinkedIn, about co-workers’, vendors’, and customers’ work performance or services that are inconsistent with the employer’s policies.  Worse yet, they may even be providing false or fraudulent information.  Employers need to take a hard look at their employees’ recommendations on social media.

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Woman on a crusade for change after her sister was murdered by an air duct cleaner in Florida

When you have work done at your home, do you know who’s coming to your door?

Two local women thought they were safe calling Sears to have their air ducts cleaned.But it turned into a nightmare after a convicted felon with a history of harassing women showed up to do the work.

This could happen to you too, even if the company you hire does background checks.

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Background check law could get some Pennsylvania teachers fired

A new Pennsylvania law requiring all school workers to disclose their criminal history could see some employees who have been convicted of various crimes lose their jobs.

The law, signed by Governor Tom Corbett in June, went into effect in September and mandates background checks for all employees of public, private and vocational schools. Administrators must notify employees of the law and have them return a form reporting any criminal history by December 27.

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Employer held responsible for negligent hiring: Kansas City-area lawyers win $7M verdict over truck crash

A group of Kansas City-area lawyers won a $7 million verdict Thursday for the family of an Arkansas truck driver killed in a 2008 accident.

The truck driver who caused the accident — a driver whose license had been twice revoked — was hired negligently, said lead attorney Kent Emison.

In a statement, Emison said the company could have learned of Quisenberry’s driving history in 15 minutes through a simple background search. He said the verdict is part of a growing trend of employers being held responsible for negligent hiring.

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How effective are background checks in protecting children from abusers?

Experts point a various problems that make it difficult to truly protect children.

Many molesters fly under the radar and don’t have contact with law enforcement for years. Many organizations only do a criminal background check when someone is employed and don’t re-check periodically. Offenders at times plead to lesser charges that might not raise flags. And even Megan’s Law, designed to create as sex-offender registry, has loopholes.

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Cracks in background check system give drug abusers, mentally ill access to guns

Gaps in the Federal Background Check system may be putting guns in the hands of killers, according to a new report by Mayors Against Illegal Guns.

The report finds two huge gaps in the National Instant Criminal Check System (NICS). The biggest one, and hardest to fix, boils down to a communication problem. Many states and state agencies do not cooperate with the system. The blame doesn’t fall on solely on state agencies, federal agencies don’t comply with the background check system either.

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Texas state criminal database is flawed

According to a recent report by the Texas State Auditor’s Office, nearly one out of every four criminal records is incomplete, while some are completely missing for the state’s database.

Thousands of Texas businesses, day cares, schools use the state’s database for criminal background checks.

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Photo credit: Johan AP

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Credit Checks and the EEOC: What’s Hot in Background Screening News

November 1, 2011


Welcome to our monthly edition of what’s hot in employee background screening news. If you want to stay up-to-date with background screening, you’ve come to the right place. Here are some of the news items that caught our attention last month.

Connecticut Limits Use of Credit Checks in Employment

A new Connecticut law that took effect on October 1, 2011 (Public Act 11-223) makes it unlawful for most Connecticut employers to require employees or prospective employees to consent to requests for credit reports that contain information about their credit scores, credit account balances, payment history, savings or checking account balances, or account numbers. Connecticut is one of only a few states that have enacted such a law.

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National Retail Federation Releases Research on Retailer Use of Background Screenings

Today NRF released its first piece of research on the topic of background screening. We polled retail executives from 96 of the nation’s leading department stores, mass merchants, discounters, drug stores, grocery stores and restaurants to examine their use of background screenings before and during the application and employment process.

The findings? Nearly all retailers – a whopping 97% – utilize background screenings in some form during the application, hiring and employment process, according to the survey. Additionally, a majority of retailers surveyed report that human resources (56%) and loss prevention departments (39.4%) are most often charged with criminal background screenings and similarly are the same departments that can override employment decisions to ensure a fair and open process for all applicants and employees.

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Criminal Records May Not Appear on Background Checks in Texas

Background checks used to screen people in crucial occupations may not turn up criminal records because of gaps in the Texas records database, a new state audit shows.

Prosecutors and courts have failed to submit to the state disposition records on about 1 in 4 arrests in 2009, the audit found. While that is a slight improvement from a 2006 audit, it still means agencies doing the checks can’t rely on the Department of Public Safety Computerized Criminal History System for complete information, the audit found.

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California Joins Other States in Placing Restrictions on Employers’ Use of Credit Checks

On October 10, 2011, Governor Brown signed into legislation Assembly Bill No. 22, which generally prohibits employers from using an applicant’s or employee’s credit history in making employment decisions.  Prior to this legislation, employers could request a credit report for employment purposes if they provided prior written notice of the request to the person for whom the report was sought.  Assembly Bill 22 significantly changes this landscape by prohibiting employers from using credit reports for employment purposes unless the report is used for one of the limited purposes enumerated by the statute.

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Using Arrest and Conviction Records for Hiring. What Does the EEOC Say?

The Peace Corps asked the EEOC for an opinion on the legality of its use of conviction and arrest records to screen potential volunteers. In response, the EEOC published an informal opinion letter, which offers guidance for employers who are considering using conviction or arrest as part of their screening processes.

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Hot Topics in Pre-employment Screening (two-part series on pre-employment screening)

An increasing number of employers are conducting some form of pre-employment screening on job applicants. Employers are researching not only a candidate’s educational qualifications and prior job history, but also a candidate’s criminal history, credit history and online presence. At the same time, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) and various states have begun scrutinizing the legality of some of these practices.

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Legal Issues Surrounding Social Media Background Checks

The legal risks of making employment decisions using the Internet have become a real concern for businesses, especially when you consider that 54% of employers surveyed in 2011 acknowledged using the Internet to research job candidates. The actual number of employers using the Internet is probably higher, and sometimes companies may not even be aware that their employees are researching job candidates and factoring that information into their evaluations. This is yet another reason to establish an internal procedure for researching job candidates, and communicating your procedure to employees who are participating in the employment process.

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EEOC Examines Arrest and Conviction Records as a Hiring Barrier

July 26, 2011


On July 26, 2011 the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) held a public meeting to discuss the employment barriers faced by individuals with arrest and conviction records.

A recap of the meeting can be found here.

Photo credits: Cosima’s Digital Designs

Six Myths About Using Credit Reports For Employment Screening

April 25, 2011

credit cards

Finally we’re getting some factual reporting on the use of credit checks for employee screening.  Erica Sandberg, a Personal Finance Expert / Reporter, wrote an excellent article “6 myths about employer credit checks“.

Here’s a recap:

Myth No. 1: Most employers pull all applicant’s reports.

  • Truth: Few do, and usually for specific reasons.

Myth No. 2: Employers and lenders look for the same information.

  • Truth: Employers take a longer view on your credit past.

Myth No. 3: Poor credit will immediately disqualify you.

  • Truth: Your checkered credit history may be ignored.

Myth No. 4: Employers use credit checks to discriminate.

  • Truth: Employers pull reports to protect themselves.

Myth No. 5: All negative information is bad.

  • Truth: Some credit report information is more alarming than others.

Myth No. 6: Employers don’t care about your reasons for having bad credit.

  • Truth: They care a lot.

Read the entire article here.

Photo Credit: TheTruthAbout…

How To Use Credit Reports For Employment Background Checks

April 23, 2011


Maryland joins Hawaii, Washington, Oregon and Illinois as states that recently passed laws regulating the use of credit history-related information by employers for employment purposes. The Maryland law restricts the use of credit reports and credit history information unless specified conditions are met.

Employment Practices Solutions, Inc. (EPS), a human resources consulting organization, offers the following tips for employers in an article titled:

To Check or Not to Check: The Pros and Cons of Using Credit Reports in the Hiring Process

If an employer currently uses, or is contemplating the use of, credit histories to evaluate applicants, they should consider the following:

  1. Is there a clear policy or practice regarding what positions will include a consideration of credit histories?
  2. Are they used consistently for all applicants to those positions?
  3. Is there a sound business reason to use the credit information for each of the positions that they are reviewing it for? That is, is it job-related? (i.e., will the position require the handling of money or assets, making fiduciary decisions, access to trade secrets or confidential information?)
  4. Are there any applicable laws in the states in which they have employees? If so, is the employer considered a “covered employer” and are their current policies and practices consistent with such laws?
  5. Are they getting the credit information from a reliable source?
  6. Does the credit information have a record of reliability?
  7. Have their HR professionals and/or hiring managers been trained in how to use and/or interpret credit reports?
  8. Are applicants being given the opportunity to review and respond to the information contained in the credit reports or are all applicants with a weak credit record screened out?
  9. Is the credit history used as a deciding factor between applicants with equal qualifications?
  10. At what point in the selection process is it being used?

Related Posts:

  • How Credit Checks Affect The Decision To Hire – A poll by SHRM  provides an up-to-date look at the impact of credit checks on the decision to hire. It looks at factors that have the most impact on hiring decisions, the reasons that organizations conduct credit checks, the types of job candidates most likely to be subject to credit checks and more.
  • Don’t Ban Pre-Employment Credit Checks – Evil HR Lady (Suzanne Lucas) offers some common-sense advice for employers on how to properly use credit reports.

Photo credit: shawnzrossi

New Hampshire to Reorganize Court System

April 7, 2011


News reports this week confirmed rumors that New Hampshire plans to reorganize their court system, eliminating approximately 60 court clerks. The money saving effort, will see many clerks dismissed or demoted. In their place, New Hampshire plans to adopt a “circuit court system” with the remaining clerks managing more courts. If passed by the legislature, the reorganization will go into effect on July 1, 2011. New Hampshire’s court system has not reported whether delays are expected as a result of the reorganization.

Read more here.

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