Posted in background screening, Facebook, pre-employment background checks, social media background checks
Some police agencies in California have been requiring prospective employees to hand over their social media passwords during background screening, or risk losing out on a job.
California passed a law two years ago preventing employers from asking applicants for social media passwords, but there is a loophole: the wording of the law makes it unclear whether the law applies to all employers, or only private employers.
“We interpret [the law] as only applying to private employers,” said Police Chief Ken Corney, of Ventura, Calif.
Some police departments in the state still require job applicants to hand over their Facebook, Twitter and other social media passwords in order to comb through anything that has been hidden by privacy settings. This applies to not only law-enforcement positions, but also “sensitive” non-police jobs, such as corrections officers and dispatchers.
Alternatively, some departments ask candidates to bring up their social media accounts in front of their prospective employer. Some departments require password information when current employees switch jobs within the organization as well.
When the author of the original law, Assemblywoman Nora Campos, attempted to pass legislation closing the loophole this year, she received opposition from police management groups that were concerned that they would not be able to screen candidates thoroughly without access to an individual’s social media accounts.
However, those who supported the new bill expressed concern that if police agencies are able to require passwords, then other public employers, such as school districts, may be able to require social media passwords as well.
The bill was dropped in favor of letting the courts decide whether law enforcement agencies have the right to ask for passwords, or if the law applies universally to both private and public employees.
Photo credit: railking via Free Images
Posted in background legislation, drug and alcohol testing
While ride-sharing services Lyft and Uber have withdrawn their opposition to a newly introduced bill requiring large amounts of insurance on drivers without passengers, for a brief moment the two competitors put aside their differences and became allies against California’s proposed bill AB 2293.
In its original form, AB 2293 — which was proposed by Assemblywoman Susan Bonilla — would have required ride-sharing companies or drivers to maintain $750,000 in commercial insurance on each driver, sans passengers, at all times. When a driver picked up a passenger, the insurance would be required to jump to $1 million in coverage. While Uber and Lyft already require their drivers to maintain the $1 million insurance requirement when they have a passenger in the vehicle, they have not previously been required to maintain such a large amount of commercial insurance when there no passengers were present.
However, Uber and Lyft were able to get on board with the new requirements when the bill was amended to state that the drivers must have $200,000 in excess liability coverage for times in which no passengers are in the vehicle, as well as $50,000 per person and $100,000 per accident coverage for personal injury protection. They also must have $30,000 in property damage coverage. In this format, the bill headed to the state Senate at the end of August.
A second bill that affects ride-sharing companies never made it out of the gate, however. California’s AB 612, which was sponsored by Assemblyman Adrin Nazarian, did not make it past the Transportation Committee. This bill would have strengthened drug and alcohol testing and background checks for drivers by requiring companies to go through the Justice Department and Department of Motor Vehicles to conduct background checks and acquire driving records.
In addition, that bill would have also prevented convicted felons from working as drivers within seven years of their convictions, which is already mandatory for taxi and limo drivers.
Posted in background checks, criminal background checks
An investigation into the Denver Human Services department has found that DHS has routinely failed to conduct federal criminal and fingerprint background checks on the next-of-kin for children who have been removed from their homes due to parental neglect or abuse. Once removed from their parents by DHS, children are often placed with their next-of-kin temporarily, and a lack of screening has put these children at risk of further abuse.
The purpose of requiring fingerprint background checks is twofold: first, it prevents children from going to a home in which their caregivers have been previously convicted of sex offenses or violent crimes, and second, the checks verify that the caregivers are, in fact, related, and that they are who they say they are. It ensures that criminal background checks are actually being conducted on the proper person as well. This kind of screening is mandatory in Colorado.
Four employees of DHS were suspended earlier this year after placing children in the homes of relatives, in which their next-of-kin were either convicted of child abuse, or were registered sex offenders. After these errors came to light, DHS began reviewing all “kinship cases” to ensure fingerprint background checks had actually been conducted.
The DHS Director, Penny May, told investigators in July that the department does have fingerprinting and background screening policies, and that they follow procedure in ensuring caregivers are properly screened. Joe Homlar, the Child Welfare Department head at DHS, has said that there will be a review of all files, and that he is not aware that there are many cases in which fingerprint checks had not been conducted.
Posted in education checks, employment checks
There are many ways that candidates can commit resume fraud when applying for jobs: lying about their experience or education, exaggerating duties or management experience, or even omitting details such as their reason for leaving a previous job. The only surefire way to protect your business from fraud is to verify the candidate’s education and employment history. But what is employment verification, and how can you use it to find the best possible candidates for your company?
Consider the recent case of a Virginia elementary school principal that resigned when a background check revealed that he had not completed college. The man worked in the school district for five years — two of those years as a principal — and it wasn’t until a background check was conducted during his fifth year that his resume fib was discovered.
These kinds of stories are hardly a rarity anymore, as it has become so easy to verify employment history and education. The problem is that too many businesses are skipping that step in favor of saving a couple bucks and getting a candidate in the door immediately. But that tactic can cost your business and the candidate a lot more in the long run.
In order to verify a candidate’s employment or education, you should consider hiring a background screening company. Hiring a service whose sole purpose is to conduct background checks takes the pressure off your human resources department, by allowing them to focus on the hiring process instead of spending valuable time trying to get a hold of every candidate’s complete employment or educational history. A screening service like Mind Your Business has the time and resources to devote to tracking down previous employers, even across multiple states or countries.
In addition to confirming that the candidate has told the truth about his or her education or employment experiences, background checking companies can also determine if a candidate has a criminal history. While it’s becoming more and more common for states to have ban-the-box laws, some jobs — such as schools, daycares, nursing homes and law enforcement — require candidates to pass all background checks before working with children or the elderly. The Virginia principal should have been required a background check years earlier, but without a screening company, it’s easy for overworked human resources departments or education administrators to get overwhelmed and distracted from its goal of keeping children safe.
So what is employment verification? It’s a means of protecting your business, your employees and your finances, by eliminating unqualified candidates immediately from the hiring pool. For more information about education and employment verification services and other good hiring practices, contact Mind Your Business today.
photo credit: markgranitz via photopin cc
Posted in ban the box, criminal background checks, nursing homes
While nursing homes and retirement care facilities are supposed to conduct background checks on the nurses and healthcare aides that work with the elderly, senior living retirement communities have different requirements under the law. Independent senior living communities are those communities in which residents live in their own homes within a specified neighborhood, and meet for various activities and events.
Those who operate independent living communities do not always have to be licensed, and do not fall under the same regulatory guidelines as those homes or communities in which residents require higher levels of daily care.
The concern is that, because independent living community employees are not necessarily required by federal law to pass background checks, new ban-the-box laws — especially those that affect private employers — may require changes in the hiring process, and those changes could affect the safety of the residents.
If communities are unable to ask applicants about convictions for things such as elderly abuse or sexual assault immediately, they waste resources during the hiring process by speaking with candidates that could not be seriously considered for the position for reasons of public safety.
Any hiring change requirements would greatly vary from state to state, and even city to city, as some states’ ban-the-box laws apply to private businesses and some do not.
On the other hand, independent living communities may be able to wriggle around parts of the ban-the-box laws by claiming a “business necessity,” or that residents must be kept safe by requiring employees to pass screening processes. Again, that would vary by city or state, but contact with vulnerable residents and public safety are both reasons to claim a “business necessity,” according to the American Seniors Housing Association. Owners would need to consider, however, that those convicted of non-violent crimes may be eligible for positions, and that they should still be considered for available roles whether their conviction is brought to light immediately in the hiring process or later on.
In order to ensure retirement communities are following their state’s laws, community owners or directors should work with an employment attorney when creating new hiring policies amidst ban-the-box laws.
Posted in background checks, background screening, pre-employment background checks
Last year, Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal signed a new background screening law that requires all school employees — public and private — to undergo nationwide fingerprint background checks. Before the law was passed, school administrators in the state were required to submit to state and federal background checks, while other employees were only required to pass state background checks.
The new law was prompted by the actions of former Progressive Christian Academy operator Christina Perera, a convicted felon that ran the school until her criminal history was discovered back in 2012. She had previously also run other day care centers before being convicted of fraud, theft, possession of drug paraphernalia and other charges, and operated the facilities under several different names, addresses and identities.
Undercover detectives finally arrested Perera for parole violation in August when she was found to be working under a false name at Daniel’s Academy, a daycare center in Fort Myers, Fla. More than 20 children had been attending the center.
Daniel’s Academy will be closed for a minimum of 90 days while it remains under investigation by the Florida Department of Children & Families. Investigators have already found that the facility lacked documentation about employees, did not have a license, and employed individuals who had not been subject to background checks, among other problems.
Under the new Georgia law, problems like these can be avoided in the future by ensuring all educators are subject to screening. Hopefully other states will follow suit, continuing to work on background screening laws that protect children.
Posted in background checks, criminal background checks, pre-employment background checks
New York Governor Andrew Cuomo signed a new law earlier this month, under which new volunteer firefighters in the state will undergo criminal background checks to prevent sex offenders from working with vulnerable residents. Current volunteer firefighters may also be screened — and let go — if they have certain types of convictions on their records. Those convictions can include any type of sexual offense, and also offenses such as arson and violent crimes.
Those who have been convicted of arson were already banned from working as volunteer firefighters in New York, but until now, it was not illegal for sex offenders to volunteer.
This legislation was first introduced in 2005, but took a long time to maneuver through the legislative process, according to Ken Pienkowski, the Second Vice President of the Fireman’s Association of the State of New York. Many firefighters across New York were surprised to learn that sex offenders were not already banned from working in fire departments.
Not only do volunteer firefighters come to people’s homes on fire or medical calls, but they also go to area schools for career days, fire safety workshops and emergency-preparedness training.
“We go to seminars with kids, we go to schools and do training with them like ‘Stop, Drop and Roll,’” said John Fall, President of the Solvay Fire Department. “It just never occurred to us there wasn’t a law in place. … It’s something that should’ve been implemented many years ago.”
FASNY was also concerned that many of the people who require assistance from firefighters are vulnerable residents, such as children and the elderly. The organization has expressed its pleasure at the implementation of the new law.
Now, all volunteer fire chiefs will require new volunteer applicants to be screened for a criminal record and sex offense convictions. New applicants can be denied a position based on the results of that screening. Existing volunteers may also be removed from their current roles if background checks determine they have a criminal record as a sex offender.
photo credit: Matthew Rice via photopin cc
Posted in Mind Your Business, MYB
Hendersonville, N.C., September 1, 2014 — Mind Your Business recently became the proud recipient of a North Carolina Incumbent Workforce Development Program (IWDP) grant. This honor allows MYB to add value to the company by focusing on closing the skill gaps for employees, through improving education via training and certifications.
Employees that are “incumbent workers” — that is, they work for MYB and are adult, U.S. citizens that live and work in North Carolina — will have the opportunity to receive state-funded job-skills training that will help them to pursue higher-level jobs within the company, or even outside the company, depending on the level of skill and certification they achieve.
Mind Your Business’ employees will be able to participate in programs that can help improve occupational skills, as well as enroll in more basic education programs such as literacy and English as a second language.
The funds will be dispersed via the N.C. Department of Commerce’s Division of Workforce Solutions and the Local Workforce Development Board. The latter organization also monitors the way the funds are used.
All training programs must be completed within 12 months of grant disbursement. Funds can be spent on the cost of instructors, tuition, textbooks and other materials, and computer software. They may not be spent on travel, training program development, website development, public relations, or a myriad of other expenditures.
Posted in background checking, background screening, background screening company, identity theft
The Internal Revenue Service became the subject of public scrutiny when a government investigation by the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration revealed that the IRS had turned over the names, social security numbers and addresses of more than 1.4 million U.S. residents to a government contractor whose employees had not undergone background checks back in 2013. If the contractor had utilized corporate screening services to perform checks on its employees, millions of taxpayers’ information might not have been put at risk.
The IRS often utilizes contractors for printing, translation, courier and document recovery services. This particular breach occurred when the IRS released a disc of information to a printing company whose employees had not undergone background checks.
The breach increases public concern about identity theft, as the IRS has had to deal with several incidences of people filing tax returns and trying to receive refunds using stolen social security numbers. In 2012, this kind of criminal activity resulted in more than $4 billion worth of funds refunded to criminals. With taxpayers’ social security numbers, names and addresses in hand, identity thieves could wreak havoc for thousands of hard-working citizens.
While only 34 contracts were active as of May 2013, when the incident occurred, the statement released by the U.S. Treasury estimates that 10,000 private contractors had access to taxpayers’ “sensitive but unclassified” (SBU) information as of January of this year. The IRS does have policies in place that require contract employees to undergo background checks if they have access to SBU information.
“IRS policy requires contractor personnel to attain favorable background investigations if their duration of employment exceeds 180 calendar days and they require unescorted access to IRS facilities or work on contracts that involve the design, operation, repair or maintenance of information systems, and/or require access to SBU information,” the report states.
However, without the use of corporate screening services for hiring, identity thieves could easily get away with not undergoing any screening at all, provided they remained with the contractor for less than 180 days. Additionally, it is not clear which government department is responsible for background screening, as investigations services fall under several different offices.
Of the 34 contracts, five contractors had not required their employees to be screened. Another 20 of the contracts did not require their employees to sign non-disclosure agreements.
Whether your company conducts all business internally or works with contractors to accomplish the goals of your business, it is vital that you employ corporate screening services — such as Mind Your Business — to conduct background checks on the people that may have access to company, employee, or private data.
For more information about Mind Your Business and the peace of mind background screening can provide, contact us today.
Posted in background checks, dating site checks, employment
Plenty of people already do their job hunting online. And thousands of companies actively recruit employees via social media and job listing websites. But would you consider using a matching service to pair you with your ideal job? Dating website eHarmony is counting on it — and has put three years of work into making it happen.
In December, eHarmony plans to launch a new company called Elevated Careers by eHarmony. Using similar algorithms as the famous “29 dimensions of compatibility” that it uses when pairing singles with their ideal partners, Elevated Careers will work to match job seekers and employers. The company aims to primarily work with employers, not just the individual job applicants.
“The goal will be to help people get a job where they really belong,” said eHarmony founder Neil Clark Warren.
Elevated Careers “will try to identify people at eHarmony [of which there are 777,000 subscribers] who are unhappy with their job and give them a way to do something about that,” said Steve Carter, Vice President of Matching.
On average, U.S. employees change jobs every 4.6 years, and a Harris Interactive study found that 29 percent of employees feel they are not appreciated in their current roles. Elevated Careers believes, with proper matching, employers will find employees that are a better fit, and employees will find more job satisfaction in a role for which they are well-suited.
According to Warren, the service will involve matching based on honesty, conflict resolution, conscientiousness, and other qualities that can cross over from the dating world to the work world.
However, employers need to be aware that eHarmony, at least on its dating site, does not conduct background checks on its members. When matching, your business will still need to thoroughly screen its potential employees with the help of a third-party screening service. It’s easy to maintain anonymity and misrepresent oneself online, and conducting criminal history checks, credit checks and other types of screening is still of the utmost importance.
As far as its dating service, eHarmony has managed, during its 14 years of business, to maintain a divorce rate of only 3.8 percent. If it could manage the same rate of satisfaction — 96.2 percent! — within the job market, it could change the entire way employers recruit and job-seekers find work.
“If we can do that for jobs, we will save companies enormous amounts of money, and save the person a lot of strain and stress too,” said Warren.
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