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.
Posted in ban the box, criminal record, pre-employment background screening
New Jersey recently passed a new “ban-the-box” law, which prohibits private employers in the state from asking job applicants if they have been previously convicted of a crime at the beginning of the application process. New Jersey is only the sixth state to pass ban-the-box laws that affect private businesses as well as public employers.
Meanwhile, with New York City so close to the New Jersey border — and with so many businesses running branches in both the Big Apple and the Garden State — Law360 began speculating about how New Jersey’s attempt to give reformed convicts a better shot at acquiring jobs will affect those employers who run businesses across state borders.
The true conflict, of course, is that some New York cities already having their own ban-the-box policies, and businesses that operate in both states are finding themselves caught between two — or more — employment policies. Both Buffalo and Rochester, New York, have laws that prevent asking job candidates about their criminal histories, and it appears ban-the-box laws are gaining traction in the state’s largest city as well.
What’s a multi-state employer to do?
According to employment law attorney Erin Sylvester Torcello, “Most employers probably would default to what the most strict rule is.” Torcello says that if a company has a branch in New Jersey and one in New York, they’d likely choose the tougher law, and make it common practice across state lines. This prevents the company from having to keep up with multiple hiring policies, and ensures compliance in both states.
New York state currently holds that public and private businesses may ask about criminal backgrounds during the application, but that they may not eliminate a candidate based solely on their past.
“I think employers should be able to ask the question,” said Barbara E. Hoey, the chair of the employment practice group Kelley Drye & Warren. “But they should not consider the question as a bar to the job. Employers are not out there trying to exclude people. They’re really just out there trying to run a business.”
If New York City does pass its own ban-the-box law, the state may feel pressure to enact statewide legislation to prevent discrimination against those with a criminal history.
Posted in drug and alcohol testing, drug screening
The Federal Railroad Administration has proposed the expansion of its drug and alcohol testing regulations for railroad workers, particularly “maintenance-of-way” (MOW) employees, in order to protect its workers and public safety.
If the new policy is passed, all railroad employees, contractors and subcontractors who perform maintenance tasks — including inspecting, installing and repairing railroad tracks and electric track systems — will be subject to new drug-and-alcohol screening guidelines. Those who serve as flagmen will also be screened.
Since 1991, the U.S. Department of Transportation has been required to ensure transportation agencies employ federally mandated drug and alcohol testing programs. But maintenance-of-way employees, who may be contractors to the railroad and not specifically employees of the department, may not have been required to undergo the same kinds of testing.
The FRA wants to set its minimum testing percentages at 50% of all employees each year for drug testing, and 25% for alcohol testing each year. Employees, contractors and subcontractors would be selected at random for screening, though if a MOW worker is behaving suspiciously, he or she may also be subject to drug or alcohol testing.
Not only do these workers put themselves at risk of danger from being struck by moving trains, but their jobs require clear heads in order to prevent the rails and cars from becoming a public danger for railroad passengers and other vehicles that may be crossing or passing near the tracks.
It is estimated that, over a 20-year period, the new proposed regulations would cost approximately $24 million to cover the MOW employees and contractors. But the policy is expected to save the transportation industry more than $115 million in injury, property damage and fatality liability charges.
Posted in drug screening, drug tests
Rio de Janeiro used to have an accredited drug-testing lab. But it was shut down in 2013 by the World Anti-Doping Agency and lost its accreditation due to “repeated failures,” including too many false positives on athlete drug tests.
During the recent soccer World Cup, which also took place in Rio, Brazil had to ship its samples for drug screening to Switzerland for testing. That process cost FIFA approximately $250,000.
Meanwhile, the 2016 Olympics will be hosted in Rio de Janeiro as well. The Games are just two short years away, and the country still finds itself without a drug-screening lab that has been accredited by WADA and deemed suitable for screening the athletes that will be arriving from all over the world.
If Brazil cannot get its anti-doping act together, it may be forced to ship testing samples to another lab again. If so, it is likely to cost the astronomically more than it did for the World Cup, as only 800 players were tested for drugs during the soccer tournament. More than 10,000 athletes are expected to compete in the 2016 Summer Olympics.
There are only 32 WADA-accredited labs in the world.
Brazil’s lab was closed after it found that .81% of tests fell outside the normal substance limits; its samples were tested at a separate lab and found to be incorrect. False positives on drug tests can destroy athletes’ reputations, not to mention keep them from competing and cause them to lose the sponsorships that are so common at the summer and winter Games.
photo credit: tochis via photopin cc
Posted in employment
According to the monthly news release from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the unemployment rate is continuing to hold steady at about 6.2 percent, with 9.7 million people unemployed.
However, the biggest news is that as of July 2014, there are 247,000 fewer discouraged workers than there were in July of last year; there are currently 741,000 discouraged workers in the U.S., down from 988,000 in July 2013. (Discouraged workers are people that are unemployed and do not believe any jobs are available for them, so they are not looking for work.)
Despite the overall unemployment rate remaining steady, 209,000 new jobs were added in non-farming roles last month.
- More than 47,000 new jobs were added in professional and business services. Nine thousand of those new jobs were in architecture and engineering services.
- Auto dealers, food and beverage establishments, and other retailers saw an increase of 27,000 jobs in July.
- The construction industry saw 22,000 new jobs created, as did the mining industry, with 8,000 jobs.
Not every industry was so lucky in July, however.
- While social assistance — which includes daycare for children and elderly assistance jobs — saw an increase of 18,000 jobs, the number of jobs available at nursing home facilities decreased by 6,000. There was little change in healthcare, despite an increase in jobs, because of the nursing care loss, as well as the loss of 7,000 hospital jobs.
- The hospitality, trade, information, transportation, financial, and government sectors saw little change from last month.
These numbers are all nation-wide, but Business Insider recently released a list of states and how each one is doing economically. The evaluation ranks each state compared to the others, and includes information such as the state’s popular job industries, fluctuating pay rates, gross domestic product, and whether each state gained or lost jobs. For a more in-depth look at your local economy, it is a great resource.
Posted in background checking, criminal background checks, employment background screening, pre-employment background checks
There’s something new to keep in mind when it comes to visiting your state and local fairs this summer and fall, and it’s not your cholesterol after consuming new iterations of unusual fried goodies.
Two companies that are hired out to various fairs and carnivals in Washington and Oregon have had problems with hiring criminals that may have put innocent children at risk. Both Butler Amusements and Funtastic, companies that are contracted by state and local fairs to operate games and rides, have hired sex offenders for roles in which the offender would be in direct contact with children.
Unfortunately, federal law does not require fairs to conduct background checks, and states don’t either, so there are no standards for conducting criminal background checks in the circuit. Because of this, Butler Amusements hired sex offenders for at least two consecutive years, including criminals charged or awaiting trial on charges of child molestation and child pornography.
Meanwhile, Funtastic had to fire three registered sex offenders that it hired and allowed to work around children before their background check results came back. Though, since it is not required by law to conduct checks, Funtastic does not screen all employees; it only screens employees that are likely to have “the most access to children.”
In 2012, after a woman who was awaiting trial on charges of child molestation was hired to work in the kids’ zone at the Evergreen State Fair in Washington, the fair began running background checks and requiring Butler Amusements to do their own checks as well.
But Butler admits that it only conducts background checks when a fair specifically asks for them. Even then, at least one employee has passed background checks using a fake name and social security number.
In light of these new fairground investigations, Washington State Representative Liz Pike and Sen. Ann Rivers have said they will begin working on legislation that will require fair workers to undergo stricter screening processes in their state.
When you’re out this summer enjoying the rides, snacks and games your fair offers, be aware that the employees may or may not have undergone background checks. Tell security if you see anything unusual or inappropriate while you’re out.
photo credit: Mark J P via photopin cc
Posted in Mind Your Business, MYB, small business
Hendersonville, NC, August 13, 2014 — Mind Your Business is thrilled to announce that its CEO, Karen Caruso, has been accepted into Goldman Sachs’ exclusive 10,000 Small Businesses program.
The purpose of the 10,000 Small Businesses program is to foster the creation of jobs and economic growth by providing small business owners and entrepreneurs with business education, funding and support.
Those chosen to participate in the program receive one-on-one business consultations with mentors and professionals, in order to form concrete goals and tactics for both economic and business growth.
Karen will also receive a scholarship for tuition and program materials, and will have the opportunity to attend learning sessions, networking events and business clinics. Classes are intended to improve business owners’ skills in identifying business opportunities, using financial statements to improve management, understanding the competitive environment, and more.
The 10,000 Small Businesses program is based out of Salt Lake Community College in Salt Lake City, Utah, and totals more than 100 hours of educational information. The program is supported by the Goldman Sachs Foundation.
Posted in Mind Your Business, MYB
Hendersonville, NC, August 11, 2014 — Mind Your Business has recently been awarded its General Services Administration (GSA) Schedule, which will allow MYB to take its first steps toward serving the government sector.
The GSA Schedules program provides an easy method for vendors to form long-term contracts with the government, and accounts for $50 billion a year, or 10 percent of all federal spending. With this award, MYB will have the opportunity to work with governing agencies on their background screening processes.
The GSA Schedules program requires vendors and contractors to be proactive and competitive as they bid for government work. MYB is honored to have the opportunity to compete alongside other businesses, large and small, to serve the U.S. government.
For more information about the GSA Schedules program, visit the GSA Vendor Overview.
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