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Nov 5 14

An Uber Debate on the Regulation of Private Ridesharing Companies

by Dawn Standerwick

Ridesharing companies like Uber and Lyft have been sprouting up in metropolitan areas sparking much debate about the lack of regulation for these companies.  One aspect of the debate is centered around the background screening and drug testing of drivers as well as whether they are subject to any other requirements such as insurance minimums.

A new bill passed by the Council in Washington DC will likely be the first of many across the country to address the growing concern of public protection with private “for hire” transportation.  To some extent the bill presents an ‘ask’ of these companies to adopt self-regulating stances on certain issues.  The bill does impose new commercial insurance requirements on private vehicles, requires a 7 year criminal background check, a check of any sexual offenses and a driving history.  It also requests that they adopt a zero tolerance policy for drug and alcohol, display some identifying banner or decal and allow access to investigate illegal conduct.  Part of the controversy is that these drivers are not subjected to the same requirements as a taxi company or their drivers.  Many feel the bill doesn’t go far enough or impose regulations that would adequately protect the public.

Companies like Uber are celebrating the passage of the bill because they feel that this bill has largely preserved their ability to do business in the current capacity without some of the regulation required by other types of “for hire” transportation, such as taxi cabs.

The Taxicab Commission has opposed this legislation and stated that “The bill deprives the Commission of the basic tools it needs to hold companies and drivers accountable for violations of basic safety standards and consumer protections”.

If you hire a personal vehicle to take you to a destination, would you expect the company to have done some due diligence in having their drivers background checked?  Would you expect that some minimum standards of insurance are in place in the event of an accident that was or was not the fault of the driver?  As a result of recent media attention, many of these companies claim to have adopted a background screening program that better meets expectations but have been slow to provide full details.  This could become another Ban the Box type issue where we see each city or state impose its own set of requirements that could make compliance a patch work nightmare of differing laws.

If you have any questions on this or any other topic, please contact our office at (888) 689.2000 or

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Oct 29 14

“Michigan Appeals Court Ruling on Medical Marijuana Effects Unemployment Claims”

by Ken Lang


This new ruling states that if an employee gets fired only for using medical marijuana then they qualify for unemployment benefits.  In essence, if you smoked marijuana under the Michigan Medical Marijuana Act and get fired for violating the company’s drug testing policy, you can collect unemployment until you find a new job.


The Michigan Attorney General’s office argued that the state law would protect a user of medical marijuana from being criminally prosecuted does not apply to civil disputes including state unemployment.  The court disagrees.  This does not mean that employers must change or stop enforcement of their drug free workplace policies,  however, if an employee is terminated, they will retain the right to collect unemployment.


This is great example of why it is so important for the HR professional to stay on top of the legislative impact on key policies such as unemployment and drug-free workplace policies.  Employers can still have Drug-free workplace policies and employees can still be fired for violating those policies.  We just need to realize that if the reason is smoking medical marijuana, it is now not a cause to deny unemployment.


For more questions on this topic, please contact our office at (888) 689.2000 or




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Oct 22 14

NAPBS Annual Conference Sessions Drive Home Importance of Compliance

by Business Development

The National Association of Professional Background Screeners hosted their 2014 Annual Conference earlier this week.  The conference had over 640 attendees and a sold out exhibit floor with 45 exhibitors.

The conference was an enormous success and offered a multitude of educational sessions.  The event was kicked off with key note speaker Shannon Miller, the most decorated gymnast in American history.  She delivered a motivational message underscoring the inevitable success that perseverance, dedication and passion bring.

Many speakers emphasized the importance of compliance and due diligence, which, for Consumer Reporting Agencies and employers includes a multitude of areas where compliant practices are of critical importance.  The knowledge we gain from this conference is one resource we count on to better assist our clients in navigating the complex regulatory landscape.  The sessions were informative and the speakers presented on an array of topics from FCRA, to substance abuse testing, to I-9 E-Verify to EEOC and Title VII.

Overall, the conference provided valuable insight into legislative and regulatory activities and provided an excellent opportunity to network with our fellow CRAs.  Stay tuned over the next few weeks as we share information from the conference on these topics.

For more information on this or any topic, please contact our offices at (888) 689.2000 or

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Oct 15 14

Is Your Background Screening Firm in the Loop?

by Dawn Standerwick
Due Diligence

Later this week, the National Association of Professional Background Screeners (NAPBS) will host its annual conference in Denver, Colorado.   This organization’s success is particularly near and dear to us at Credential Check because we are a proud founding member with employees currently serving in leadership positions.  Throughout the tenure of this organization’s existence, Credential Check has been an active supporter and participant in carrying forward the mission of NAPBS.

NAPBS was formed by background screening companies in 2003 to promote ethical business practices and compliance with state and federal laws by Consumer Reporting Agencies (background screening companies) as well as to foster awareness regarding consumer protection and privacy rights.   What started out as a US based group has grown well beyond the borders of the United States now with established international chapters including Asia Pacific Rim Countries (APAC), Canada and Europe.  NAPBS has an accreditation program and those accredited companies have well demonstrated their commitment to excellence, accountability, high professional standards and continued institutional improvement.

When selecting a professional screening firm it is vital that employers carefully evaluate their choice in a partner.  Class action lawsuits against employers related to their screening processes have become a trend (think about that for a moment – lawsuits for non-compliance have become a TREND).  With the proliferation of state, county and even municipal laws, the employer/screening firm partnership has become even more critical.  NAPBS members work to strengthen standards to be proactive in their awareness of legislative and compliance requirements that affect them as consumer reporting agencies as well as their employer clients.  Based on the countless legislative and public policy initiatives, education, meetings with key government agencies, conference sessions and best practice awareness, it is easy to see how a screening firm not associated with NAPBS could easily be out of the loop, putting all stakeholders at risk.

We embrace what NAPBS stands for and applaud the efforts of many who have strengthened our profession in countless ways by volunteering their time for the benefit of all companies.   Many businesses are safer as a result of the services provided by professional screening firms and to have a hand in the collective success of developing higher standards has been nothing short of inspiring.  We take pride in the time and effort we have contributed to this organization and to our profession.

It is our pleasure as a company to continue to support NAPBS and view our participation and membership as a value to our clients.

For more information about Credential Check or NAPBS, please feel free to contact us with any questions at (888) 689.2000 or

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Oct 7 14

2014 Michigan SHRM Conference – HR Amplified, Driven to Be…

by Ryan Cowsert

October proves to be an exciting time each year as the local HR community gears up for the Michigan Society of Human Resource Management’s (MI SHRM) annual conference. The conference is October 8th-10th, 2014 in Detroit, Michigan at the NEW COBO Center.

CredentialCheck® is very excited to be exhibiting! So, why should you be excited? With over 900 attendees, you’ll hear great speakers, earn recertification credits, learn and improve your professional skills, network, see exhibitor presentations and have fun! This conference offers something for HR professionals at all levels!

This conference provides CredentialCheck® with the unique opportunity to greet existing clients in person and to demonstrate our exceptional service and technology offerings to new clients.

In between the great keynotes scheduled, and fun evening events, we hope you’ll stop by our booth #317 and say hello!

For more information on this event or any topic, please contact Credential Check Corporation at 888-689-2000 or

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Oct 1 14

Maximum Possible Accuracy – Are You At Risk?

by Ken Lang

If you conduct a background check on a prospective employee, one very important aspect of compliance to be aware of is the Fair Credit Reporting Act’s (FCRA) concept of “Maximum Possible Accuracy”.  Whenever a consumer reporting agency prepares a consumer report, it is required to follow reasonable procedures to assure maximum possible accuracy of the information concerning the individual.  Unfortunately, this question of “maximum possible accuracy” is not specifically defined and it tends to be settled in court.

Does an inexpensive database search provide maximum possible accuracy?

We continue to run into companies that use vendors that run only database searches and provide them at a very low cost.  These databases can be of value from a national perspective in casting a wider net but they also do not contain all jurisdictions which means they are by no means comprehensive and may not be updated consistently across the board.  You have to question that by using and not verifying these sources whether you are hiring someone who could be a danger to your customers and employees or a financial risk to your business not to mention inviting additional liability.  If you do get a hit against a database to ensure maximum possible accuracy the vendor must review the county court records (originating source of the record) to validate the finding.

Are you being supplied data that you can legally use?

Some background screening firms provide data that is taken out of context, irrelevant for the purpose, or that is simply reported because it was supplied by the source of the data.

What to do?

  1. If your price from your screening firm seems too good to be true,
    question the data sources, how often they are updated and the accuracy of the data.
  2. Know and approve the sources of the information your screening firm is providing to you.  Understand how often the various sources of data are updated.
  3. Select a vendor that is a member of the Concerned CRAs, they will ensure that if a hit on a database is encountered that the actual court records are pulled to maintain maximum possible accuracy.
  4. Look for a screening firm that has a structured review process in place to ensure data quality and reduce the likelihood that the information being received can legally be used for hiring purposes.
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Sep 24 14

Employers Underestimate Risk Posed by Their Extended Workforces

by Dawn Standerwick

What exactly constitutes an extended workforce?  An organization’s extended workforce includes contractors (temporary employees), volunteers, trainees, students and other persons who enter the workplace and perform duties.  For many companies, this intricate people web is one that delivers a number of benefits, but, many don’t realize that it also introduces significant risk if not managed properly.

Employers give careful consideration to the screening of their employees and for good reason.  They contemplate negligent hiring, the position, related job duties, legal requirements and elements that should be part of the background check as well as disqualifying factors.

  • Do any of your extended workforce personnel have access sensitive areas within your company?
  • Are they ever without direct visual supervision or come in contact with the public?  Other employees?
  • Do they have any decision making latitude or access to financial instruments? Intellectual property?

Shouldn’t their background check meet the same standard as your employees?  The bottom line goal of any screening program is to minimize risk for negligent hiring, ensure the safety of the workplace, customers and public as well as to comply with the law.  It is not disputed that companies that fail to conduct a proper background check expose themselves to significant liability.  Many companies underestimate that this is also true when it comes to their extended workforce.

An extended workforce may include temporary workers that come from a staffing firm, suppliers who perform work onsite as well as other types of sub-contractors.   Why would an organization with stringent requirements for their own employees not hold other onsite workers to the same standards?  I submit that many perceive the responsibility and liability to be on the staffing firm or the sub-contractor’s business while others simply find it a daunting task to manage such a program with proper oversight.   This perception of narrow liability and difficulty, however, couldn’t be further from the truth.

Employers should be aware that liability is likely for the majority of scenarios where criminal acts are carried out by members of their extended onsite workforces, particularly if an individual has a prior history of the behavior.  Case law in this area supports that employers have a duty to ensure a comprehensive background check has been conducted and in some cases may be considered as a co-employer.  In a co-employment context, the employer and the vendor’s firm share many of the same employment risks and responsibilities, which translates to liability for a deficient background check.

We educate our clients in this area and counsel them that they must go further than simply having a screening policy for their extended workforces.   They must ensure that those standards are being met and met consistently.  We recognize that without the proper tools, it can be difficult for companies to facilitate the oversight and management necessary to achieve this end goal.   The risk posed by a company’s workforce is certain, but, the difficulty in managing compliance doesn’t have to be.

CredentialCheck®’s CC-Verify solution has the ability to simplify, automate and manage all levels of vendor compliance for screening and training functions.   CC-Verify is a robust technology that enables companies to be certain their staff, suppliers and sub-contractors all meet required compliance objectives on an ongoing basis.  Multiple tiers of companies can be registered with automated indicators as to which employees have met the principal company’s background screening and training standards for a given time frame.   The solution is vendor neutral meaning that more than one background screening firm can be approved by the top level organization for use by sub-contractors and vendors.  CC-Verify is a complete lifecycle vendor compliance management solution that is instrumental in keeping workplaces safe all the way through the extended workforce and beyond.

For more information about Credential Check’s CC-Verify solution or to request a demonstration, please contact us at (888) 689.2000 or

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Sep 16 14

A Carousel of Liability

by Ryan Cowsert

Every year millions of people attend county and state fairs, whether it is for the elephant ears or the rides it’s always a great time! Recently state representatives in Washington have taken a step forward to ensure that these types of events aren’t just fun but safe.

Currently Massachusetts and Illinois are the only states to require sweeping background checks for all fairs and carnivals. Republican Rep. Liz Pike is looking to add Washington to that short list. Companies that provide the rides and entertainment have been allowed to screen their own candidates if they wish, but they are not required to. Funtastic an Oregon based company requires all employees assisting or working with events to be background checked and has been providing team members to the Washington Fair for many seasons.

It’s incredible to me that events that are attended heavily by children are not required to perform background checks including Sex-Offender searches on employees and volunteers. Incidents such as an event that happened last year in August when a 50 year old Washington Fair employee tried lure a 9 year old girl into a barn on the last day of the fair, is a prime example of the horror that can come from what should be a fun experience.

Even with the recent incidents, Washington is finding it difficult to pin-point a best practice for screening these individuals. In Illinois, fairs and carnivals are not tasked with performing the background investigations only ensuring that the individual has had one in the past. The question that continues to concern these employers and events is the funding. These fairs employ 400-1500 employees for a given season and they are concerned that the cost of doing criminal checks will cause fairs to be a thing of the past.

For more information on this topic and more, contact Credential Check Corporation at 888-689-2000 or

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Sep 10 14

Ohio SHRM Annual Conference – Sept. 17th – 19th, 2014

by Ken Lang

The Ohio SHRM Annual Conference is a great event for HR Professionals to exchange information, ideas and experiences. The theme this year is “HR Marathon, Setting the Pace for the Future.”

CredentialCheck® is excited about exhibiting at the upcoming event at the Kalahari Resort in Sandusky, OH. This conference provides us with the unique opportunity to greet existing clients in person and to demonstrate our exceptional service and technology offerings to new clients.

If you are attending, we hope you will stop by booth #3 in between the great sessions that are scheduled.

Enter to win a Coach Handbag!

For more information on this event or any topic, please contact Credential Check Corporation at 888-689-2000 or

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Sep 3 14

FCRA Lawsuits Against Employers Now a Rising Trend

by Dawn Standerwick

According to an article put out in August by SHRM, class action lawsuits against employers for violations of the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) are not just on the rise but are being considered an emerging trend.  For a law that’s been in existence for decades, we have recently seen an unprecedented number of employers realizing the hard way that compliance with this law is not to be taken lightly.  The SHRM article was drawn on a report by Littler Mendelson and provides a comprehensive summary of recent class actions against employers.

The FCRA seeks to protect consumers from the potential devastating impacts of misuse and inaccurate information and puts into place protocols for consumer reporting agencies (CRAs) as well as the users of consumer reports to follow.  The FCRA imposes requirements upon consumer reporting agencies (“CRAs”), in many cases a background screening firm, that collects and compiles consumer information into consumer reports for use by credit grantors, insurance companies, employers, landlords, and other entities in making eligibility decisions affecting consumers.  It also regulates the use of these reports by these organizations who obtain these reports and imposes other specific responsibilities they must carry out as well.

Most companies know that to provide a safe work environment for their employees and the public and to minimize negligent hiring risks, that performing a background check is a vital business element on several levels.  For one, courts have ruled that employers have a general duty to conduct a background check and state and/or federal law may also dictate a specific check must be performed.  It is imperative that the background check was conducted according to best practices, is compliant with the law and is properly validated for accuracy.  The good intentions many employers have to perform a background check can go sideways quickly if the letter of the law is not followed.

From a broad perspective, employers have a number of responsibilities under the FCRA.  There are requirements before a background check is even requested and if the information is used to make a decision that adversely affects a consumer, another set of processes and disclosures must ensue.  We’ve talked a lot in the past about the maximum possible accuracy standard which the CRA must ensure but arguably, employers also have a duty to ensure the information they are buying from their screening firm meets this standard.

Noted in the Littler report is a breakdown of class actions filed this year to be no less than 27 with cases highly concentrated in California, Florida, Georgia and Missouri among others.   Some of the settlements include:

  • National pizza delivery chain – $2.5 million settlement
  • National retailer – $3 million settlement
  • Transportation company – $2.75 million settlement
  • Transportation company (different) – $4.4 million settlement
  • Transit provider – $5 million + settlement

The report notes that the most frequent claims against employers included issues with their disclosure form and failure to follow adverse action processes as mandated by the FCRA.  These two items also topped our list of Top Areas of Employer Non-Compliance in their workforce screening programs.

There are many things employers can do to ensure compliance under the FCRA.  Many rely on their background screening partner, in part, to assist in their compliance efforts.  A background check is very important, but, just as important is having a consistent, repeatable process in place to ensure legal compliance and that appropriate care is taken to uphold the rights of consumers as required by law.

For more information on this or any of our topics, please contact Credential Check at (888) 689.2000 or

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