While reading an article the other day I was shocked to see that a large tax preparer, H&R Block, did not conduct criminal or credit checks on their tax preparers (to view the article, click here). These are the people to whom we provide our social security number, address, date of birth and entrust with personal financial information. I discussed this with other colleagues that are not in the pre-employment screening profession and they were equally shocked and concerned that a company whose employees routinely access this type of information did not have even basic safeguards to protect their clients.
In this particular situation, the company hired a person that had multiple convictions identity theft and criminal computer use and had falsified their application. In this unfortunate case, the employee used the information in a criminal manner and collected and falsified tax returns on the clients’ behalf. This situation could have easily been eliminated had the company conducted a basic background investigation that on average is completed in less than three days.
This situation highlights two key questions:
- Who has your private information and have they been screened properly?
- Are you screening your employees at an appropriate level?
The cost of the background investigation would have been less expensive than one hour of the attorney fees to defend this type of lawsuit, not to mention the damage to the corporate image.
If you have any questions regarding this or any other Workforce Screening topic, please contact our offices at (888) 689.2000 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Please be advised that the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has introduced a revised Employment Eligibility Verification Form I-9. Under the law, all employers are required to complete a Form I-9 for each employee hired in the United States to record work eligibility.
Employers should begin using the revised Form I-9 immediately for all new hires and reverification, though, prior versions of the Form I-9 are acceptable until May 7, 2013 when the new form must be utilized. A new form I-9 should not be completed for current employees provided a properly completed form is already on file.
The new revisions to the Form I-9 include new fields, reformatting to reduce errors, and clearer instructions to both employees and employers. To ensure you are using the correct version of the form, confirm the revision date of the form which is located on the lower left corner of the document.
Please click here for the Spanish version of the Form I-9. Please note that the Spanish version may be used in Puerto Rico only. Spanish-speaking employers and employees in the US and other U.S. territories may use the Spanish version for reference, but are required to complete the English version of the form.
To view the USCIS release in its entirety, please follow this link.
For more information or questions regarding this topic, please contact our offices at (888) 689.2000 or email@example.com.
With the economy trying to recover and unemployment percentages beginning to decrease finding the right candidates has become tougher and tougher. Recent studies have long since talked about the cost of making a bad hire and how it can affect a business that is trying to grow and the costs involved.
Career Builder recently published a study that discusses the costs associated with making a bad hire. Some companies reported anywhere from $25,000 to $50,000 loss depending on the salary of the employee and the training and development needed to start the position. There are several reasons a company might make a bad hire including:
- Position needs to be filled ASAP
- Inability to identify talent or lack there of
- Did not perform Education, Employment or Reference Verifications from candidates resume
When it comes to verifying the information provided from a resume most employers are unsure where to start. What do I do if a previous employer is closed? The candidate provided me with a copy of the degree so it has to be real right? Do I really have to call these references; no one would list a reference that would say something negative about them anyway right? These are some of the things I hear daily from employers who are attempting to manage their own verifications. Truth is that over 80% of candidates lie on their resume, hoping that the employer will not attempt to verify the information provided.
Verifications have come a long way, and helped large organizations understand their employees and avoid making the costly BAD hire. Here at Credential Check our client service department assists our clients in verifying education, previous employers, references and even professional licenses. We have in-house professionals that reach out to these institutions and businesses to verify the information provided so that you know the information provided is accurate and wholesome.
For more information on verifications contact Credential Check Corporation at 888-689-2000 or Info@CredentialCheck.com
What exactly is offshoring? Most of us are no strangers to the practice. Offshoring is when a company sends some or all of its processes outside of the United States to take advantage of lower costs, such as labor, to increase profits. There are many companies doing it. Many of us have had our own experience of trying to communicate with a customer service representative from another country.
In the background screening profession, there are companies based in the United States who engage in offshoring portions of their processes to workers outside of our country. This might include actually transmitting the information or allowing electronic access to information that is housed in the US. The biggest concern with this practice is the sensitive nature of the information being sent outside of our borders. Personally Identifiable Information (PII) includes many different types of identifying information and such as name, date of birth and Social Security Number. Since those identifying pieces of information are necessary to conduct the background check, the risk of identity theft exists. When you factor in that the countries where lower cost labor is often found are those that are poorer than the US, the potential for theft is amplified. Individuals affected by identity theft in other countries have little to no recourse. Many background screening companies oppose this practice due to the potential impact to the consumer (applicant).
What is also troubling is that the person being checked often is unaware that their information has been transmitted outside of the US without their knowledge or consent. It is not uncommon for the employer to also be unaware of this that this is occurring.
In September of 2010, California Senate Bill 909 was passed which imposed requirements specifically relating to personal information collected for the purposes of conducting a background check for employment purposes which is sent outside of the US. One key requirement, among others, includes a mandatory disclosure to the consumer (applicant) notifying that the background screening company engages in this practice. The responsibilities in California fall to both the employer and the background screening company and there are costly penalties for non-compliance. We fully expect to see legislation such as this considered in other states and already has been proposed at the federal level.
Employers are urged to ask questions of their chosen screening firm to make sure they are aware if offshoring is occurring and carefully consider the possible outcomes for their applicants and employees. We find that this practice does not fit with the values and culture of many of our clients.
Credential Check has certified that we do not engage in the practice of offshoring any portion of our processes outside of the US (Concerned CRAs). The only exception is those individuals from abroad who have consented to their background check in another country. When business decisions such of these are made at Credential Check, full consideration is given as to how the consumer (applicant) who is being checked will be impacted and the highest standard of ethics are applied.
For more information or questions regarding this topic, contact, please contact our offices at (888) 689.2000 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
When Marissa Mayer took over Yahoo we knew there would be changes, as any turnaround cannot be successful without change. Many of us have heard the statement, “The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results.” Change is good; change should be accepted, embraced and even celebrated. In many cases, the speed in which change is institutionalized can have a direct impact on the effectiveness of the turnaround. With all the expected change, the one that I was not expecting in Silicon Valley, land of the perks, was the removal of telecommuting. Yahoo is not the first large corporation to remove Telecommuting. Bank of America last year removed it, but only for certain positions. As the memo from Yahoo reads, this change is for all employees. A key point in Yahoo’s statement was “If you want innovation, then you need interaction. If you want productivity, then you want people working from home.” I have heard from many colleagues that they are more productive when they work at home as there are fewer distractions. The challenge many people have with the statement regarding interaction in order to obtain innovation is with the technology today such as screen sharing, web conferencing and mobile devices, does an employee need to be physically at the office to be interactive? One thing is for sure, Yahoo’s new policy regarding telecommuting will be debated.
The topic of discussion on all media these days is related to gun control and how the government would like to have more involvement in the purchasing and ownership of firearms. The current process for a person to purchase a firearm from a store (dealer) in the state of Michigan begins with a federal form that is completed followed by the store completing an instant criminal search through the FBI. The variance is that when a person purchases a firearm from a “Gun Show” there is no criminal background requirement. This has lead to several lawmakers and advocates requesting that this “loophole” be eliminated and having mandatory criminal record checks on all persons that purchase a firearm.
The concern on the requirement for all persons to have a criminal background check to be completed prior to purchasing a firearm is that the criminal check is not thorough. The check that is being conducted is an instant background check. This is processed through the FBI; however the FBI is not the originating source for the criminal records. When a person is charged with a crime they are charged at a county or federal level. The FBI database is relying on a process in which the originating sources provide the records to the FBI. In an environment in which many counties and federal organizations are short on resources this step is not monitored or complied with in a uniform fashion. The FBI check also does not include many other records which the advocates are requesting such as mental illness records and even failed drug test records.
All negative aside, over the last several months Michigan has been recognized for its efficiency in supplying records for the database. This has included 106,513 mental health records thus making Michigan one of the top 12 states that are actively improving the information available within the criminal database.
Thursday morning I attended the Detroit SHRM Global Forum meeting. The topic of the meeting was to discuss international assignments and how companies are implementing modifications to the policies they have used in the past.
The speaker for this event was Roger Herod, the Principle at Mercer out of Chicago IL. Roger provided an interesting view point as he has been on both sides of international assignments. He provided insight to several of the consultative projects he has performed for clients and how he has seen the policies change over the years.
- Allowances for returning to the employee’s homeland are now capped, allowing for only a certain number of trips during assignment depending on length of stay.
- Social traits are now considered in the assignment process when previously it was only based on skill set.
- Companies are beginning to track statistics on the number of successes and failures on international assignments, and what actually determines a success.
This discussion was a very pertinent topic for the attendees of this forum were from global organizations that face these topics and changes on a daily basis. I appreciate Detroit SHRM for putting together this Global HR Forum and look forward to future topics.
With all the care that goes into the background screening of teachers, it is surprising that other individuals who regularly come into contact with our children can slip through without a background check. In this instance, a law enforcement officer in the audience at a girls’ basketball game recognized the referee to be a registered sex offender. He had a prior criminal history which included a conviction of Rape Two for having sex with a girl under the age of 14 when he was 36 years old.
A background check was not performed on this individual and the organization that hired him claimed that it could not afford to conduct a background check and indicated no legal obligation to do so.
Parents who later learned about this situation were outraged at the risk posed to their children particularly given his role as a person in a position of trust. We as parents make assumptions that someone is checking and that they are doing a good background check.
One organization that certifies officiators operating at high school games in Oregon, The Oregon School Activities Association, gets kudos for conducting an annual background check for the referees they license. If the individual is unable to meet the same criteria set to qualify for a teaching license, they are declined and terminated. The unfortunate truth is that many youth sports groups across the country do not conduct a background check and some that do cut corners due to the cost. These individuals may hold a paid position or might be volunteers. The parents interviewed in this case, would have gladly paid more for the sports program to be assured that a proper background check was conducted.
There are cost effective options. We invite organizations to contact us to explore options available for environments with children and those whose success relies on the participation of volunteers. Youth sports can present great opportunities for kids and should not present an opportunity for a criminal to prey upon children.
For more information contact Credential Check at (8888) 689.2000 or email@example.com.
Since the recent November elections, many companies have been asking how the legalization of marijuana in more expanding areas affects their drug free workplace. The shortest answer, it doesn’t have to. Even shorter, if you are regulated by the Department of Transportation, it doesn’t affect you. The reason for this is that even though states, and even cities, are passing laws legalizing marijuana, some for medical and some for recreational purposes, it is still federally illegal. All drug testing results are processed off of the national standards or the Department of Transportation regulations. Since marijuana remains a Schedule I drug by the Controlled Substance Act, it will continue to report as a positive results on drug screens. Through the MRO process, prescriptions are reviewed as to how they could affect the drug screening results; however this does not include marijuana.
Some companies have raised the question, can I hire the candidate if they fail for marijuana and show me a valid card stating they can possess and use marijuana. If the company is not regulated to conduct drug screening, they can make their hiring decisions based on the information they have on hand. It has stood up in court that an employer can deny a candidate employment for failing a drug test with a marijuana card.
A common comparison is that alcohol is a legal item; however (most) employers do not permit employees to be under the influence while at work. If marijuana is viewed as legal according to state or city regulations, (most) employers will not permit the employee to be under the influence of marijuana while at work. The difference in the two is that it is simple and accessible to test if a person is under the influence of alcohol at that point in time, however the testing for marijuana will show if it in the employee’s system, but not if they are currently under the influence. Until the testing catches up to the requirements, this puts employers at risk if they allow employees to use marijuana as part of their drug free workplace.
Due to a recent law passed in Ohio, background checks conducted through the state will no longer include information about arrests and charges that did not result in a conviction. The intended objective of the law was to give ex-offenders who have fulfilled their sentences an improved chance of securing employment.
The seemingly unforeseen impacts have the superintendent of the Ohio Bureau of Investigation and the Attorney General publicly criticizing the new law.
The concern is that employers will be given a false sense of security that a person has a ‘clear’ record when in fact a serious case may be pending. The types of scenarios possible for pending cases fall into 3 categories – juveniles convicted of serious crimes, adults with recent arrests whose cases haven’t run their course in the courts and those who have been arrested and fled to avoid prosecution. In essence, individuals who have been arrested and failed to appear in court will be protected by this law.
There are two schools of thought on the topic. The motivation behind the law was that some feel a person should not be penalized just because they have been arrested and before the case has a final outcome.
The Attorney General has cited examples that drive home the concern including a recent background check that showed a pending murder charge for an individual applying to a hospital from another state that was pending because the individual was found to be mentally incompetent. In another case a juvenile had a rape conviction was applying to work with a county children’s service. In both cases, the information was not reportable.
Either way, the change has caused an enormous backlog in the processing of checks since it must be done manually. The agency has incurred $30,000 in overtime to process checks since the law was passed.
The Attorney General has asked lawmakers to consider revisions and there are those who believe it should be changed and those who maintain that the new law is achieving its intended goal. In the interim, the Attorney General’s office has started warning employers as to the new limitations on the information it provides.