Welcome to another 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 interesting items that caught our attention last month.
While the EEOC’s position on the use of criminal background checks adds to the time and cost of implementing a screening policy, there remain many benefits to screening potential candidates.
Joe Adler, director of the Montgomery County Office of Human Resources, told The Gazette that the office, which is responsible for the intake of job candidates for more than 30 county departments, determines on a “case by case basis” whether a person with a criminal background will continue in the application process.
Adler said there is some additional work when it comes to investigating the history of a person with a criminal background, “but not to the point we consider terribly burdensome.”
The inspector general found that the majority of disciplined nurse aides with prior records had been convicted of burglary, larceny or other crimes against property. Only a tiny fraction had convictions for crimes against people. However, the investigation also found that, before their respective nursing homes disciplined them, three nurse aides had registered as sex offenders.
Research suggests recruiters find employed job seekers with criminal records more employable than candidates with clean records but no job. Experts recommend HR professionals take a close look at individual circumstances when considering unemployed applicants.
Collateral Sanctions reform law will make it easier for job seekers with felony records to get hired.
Effective November 18, 2012, most employers that operate in Newark, New Jersey must comply with a new ordinance broadly restricting their discretion to rely on criminal background records for employment purposes.
As employers across the U.S. continue to grapple with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission’s updated guidance on the use of arrest and conviction records in the hiring process, two city council bills from Washington State and Washington D.C. aimed at helping ex-offenders reenter the workforce are causing some employers concern at the local level.
The Amateur Athletic Union (AAU) is performing security reviews on more than 100,000 coaches, adult athletes, volunteers and support staff to help identify those who might be threats to child athletes, including pedophiles and people convicted of drug-related offenses.
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 interesting items that caught our attention last month.
How Should Employers Use Criminal History in Employment Now That The EEOC Has Issued Enforcement Guidance?
Criminal history information can be a crucial tool in the employment decision process. During the past few years, federal agencies and state governments have been limiting, employers’ use of criminal history information in the employment process through regulation, litigation, and legislation. On April 25, 2012, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (“EEOC”) issued new guidance in an effort to limit employers’ options with respect to their use of this tool.
Using Background Checks Wisely
Businesses can be legally liable if they don’t check out workers who go on to commit crimes while on the job. And no company wants the embarrassment of finding out later that high-profile employees fibbed on their resumes, as happened recently with Yahoo CEO Scott Thompson.
Would You Fire Someone Over a Past Crime?
A Wisconsin bank employee lost her job after her employer discovered she’d shoplifted—40 years ago.
Bills Would Prohibit Employers From Requesting Access to Employees’ Email and Social Networking Sites
Members of the House and Senate introduced legislation on May 9, 2012 that would ban employers from requesting individuals’ usernames, passwords, or any other means of accessing their social networking sites and from taking adverse action against job applicants and employees who refuse to provide such information.
Terminated CFO Illustrates the Confidentiality Risks Social Media Pose
According to a recent survey by Intel, 85% of American adults share information about themselves online, while 90% think others are sharing too much. Maybe the former CFO of Francesca’s Holdings Corp., Gene Morphis, should have heeded the latter and shared less about his company’s inner workings.
A 12-Word Social Media Policy
- Don’t Lie, Don’t Pry
- Don’t Cheat, Can’t Delete
- Don’t Steal, Don’t Reveal
Background Checks, Screening and Your Nonprofit
The term “background check” means different things to different people. Some nonprofit leaders use the term loosely to refer to a variety of screening tools, such as criminal history background checks, credit checks, reference checks, or the verification of prior employment and higher education.
Ban the Box Update: Ex-convicts in Massachusetts still face tough sell in job market
The fortunes of former convicts seeking employment have changed little since the passage of a 2010 law that overhauled the state’s criminal records system, according to a report released by two Boston nonprofits.
The report, written by the Boston Foundation and the Crime and Justice Institute at Community Resources for Justice, compiled the experiences of 28 employers, advocates, criminal records officials, landlords, and legislators. It gives a first look at the real-world effects of changes to the Criminal Offender Record Information system, widely known by the acronym CORI, which had been lauded by activists as a game-changer for people with criminal records looking to reintegrate into society.
The law’s “Ban the Box’’ provision prevents employers from asking about criminal records on initial job applications. That has allowed more former convicts to get interviews, but has seldom translated into jobs, the report said.
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This headline caught my attention this morning while reading our local newspaper, “The Columbus Dispatch:”
Colleges Weigh Student Crimes
Clarett among hundreds of felons admitted to Ohio schools
In case you don’t know, Clarett is Maurice Clarett who led the Ohio State Buckeyes to the 2002 national championship during his freshman year. He pleaded guilty in 2006 to aggravated robbery and carrying a concealed weapon, and served 3 1/2 years in a Toledo prison. On Monday he started taking classes again at Ohio State.
His return to classes has created a lot of buzz, but what really caught my attention was the statement “he’s hardly the only person with a criminal record attending a central Ohio college.”
Here are some interesting tidbits from the article:
- Ohio State University estimates that 30 to 45 people with felony convictions or suspensions from another college apply to the Columbus campus each year as freshmen or transfer students. Of those, about 20 or so make it through a vetting process that ensures they don’t pose a safety risk. They still have to meet the school’s academic requirements, and some give up when they find out they might not qualify for federal financial aid because of a drug conviction. The vast majority have gotten into trouble because of alcohol and drugs. At Ohio State, officials sometimes add restrictions, such as being prohibited from living in a dorm or being required to talk with a campus counselor, for people who have convictions. A few are asked to reapply in a year after securing permanent housing, finding a job or doing volunteer work – or taking classes online or at a two-year school to prove that they are ready for the challenge.”We don’t automatically bar anybody,” said Louise Douce, assistant vice president of student life.
- Columbus State Community College has higher numbers of applicants with criminal histories, in part because the school has open enrollment, said Admissions Director Tari Blaney. Last school year, there were 980 felons among the 31,000-plus applicants to Columbus State. Nearly 400 were admitted, Blaney said. Like a growing number of schools nationwide, Columbus State Community College is considering running background checks for students whose records raise red flags.
- Miami University – Under Ohio law, people who have served time for any of more than 30 violent crimes have to wait a year after being convicted before they can enroll in a public college, said Claire Wagner, Miami University’s spokeswoman. “And if we have learned a student lied about the criminal conviction, we can suspend them for at least a year,” she said.
- Ohio University – Ex-convicts who make it through the vetting process do as well as students without a record, several local campus officials said.”I’ve been doing this for 15 years and only two of the hundreds and hundreds of people with criminal convictions we have admitted have re-offended,” said Nicolette Dioguardi, Ohio University’s deputy general counsel. “People who are truly dedicated to getting their education and improving their lives are generally the most motivated to succeed.”
Most central Ohio colleges ask applicants to report whether they have ever been convicted of a crime or suspended from another school. Those who say yes are asked to provide more information. A committee of campus officials reviews the nature of the offense, when it happened and whether it is part of a criminal pattern. The committee also looks at what applicants have done since being convicted.
Employee Screening Best Practice
This holistic approach is also a recommended best practice for employers when hiring. If the applicant has a conviction, look at the nature and gravity of the crime, the nature of the job, and the age of the crime to determine whether there is a business justification to deny employment. Also, employers should review the individuals entire background – through verifications, references, interviews, etc. to make an informed decision about the individual.
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The Wall Street Journal reports:
Agencies across the federal government Tuesday will start ordering contractors to use an electronic immigration system to verify the legal status of their roughly 3.8 million workers, barring an emergency stay from a federal appeals court in Virginia.
The sweeping new mandate, crafted by the Bush White House but being implemented by the Obama administration, represents a significant expansion for the so-called E-Verify system, which government officials and independent experts expect to become mandatory for all private employers nationwide in the future.
About 169,000 federal contractors and subcontractors will eventually be covered by the program taking effect Tuesday.
U.S. District Court Judge Alexander Williams, Jr., of Maryland, rejected an 11th-hour-effort late Friday by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and other business groups to delay the mandate while a federal appeal is pending.
The rest of the story is here.