Posted in background checks, background investigations, dating checks, dating site checks
A new dating site out of Dallas has become the first online dating portal to perform thorough background investigations on every member, in order to ensure that your blind date doesn’t blindside you with any felony convictions, second families or other falsehoods.
As the “Newest and Safest Way to Date,” Play It Safe Dating not only screens its members for criminal records, it also claims to verify its members’ ages, photos and relationship statuses in order to prevent people from presenting themselves dishonestly. Its goal is to make daters’ safety a higher priority, as sex offenders and scammers are common on traditional dating sites.
Of course, background screening all your potential dates does come with a cost. In addition to monthly membership fees, new members must pay $44.99 to sign up.
“After speaking to hundreds of online daters, there was a clear direction of common complaints. Men complained that women were older and heavier in person than their photos portrayed, and women have found that a lot of the men they meet online are married,” said Play It Safe Dating Founder and CEO Cheryl Rios.
A background check based on name, birth date and state of residence may turn up a person’s marital status, though it is not clear how the site will confirm its members’ weight or photo accuracy. The website is still in beta mode, and did not provide further information about how background checks would be conducted.
Posted in drug screening, drug testing
Former U.S. Treasury Department employee and current California gubernatorial candidate Neel Kashkari had an interesting idea. Lawmakers are constantly passing legislation about who should be background checked, drug tested, and investigated — in fact, California’s current Proposition 46, regarding drug testing for doctors, will be voted on in November — so why shouldn’t the legislators themselves be required to pass an annual drug test?
Kashkari expressed this sentiment during a stint as guest host on the Mark Larson radio show, though he said he thought that many lawmakers would not be okay with such a mandate.
“I think we should drug test legislators. Every statewide officeholder, and everyone in the Assembly and the Senate. Why don’t we just have an annual mandatory drug test?” Kashkari said on the air.
The candidate for Lieutenant Governor, Ron Nehring, also participated in the radio program, and Kashkari’s question came up during a discussion about legalizing marijuana, which current Lt. Governor Gavin Newsom supports. Both Nehring and Kashkari spoke about the possibility of proposing drug testing for legislators, though Nehring evaded a question about whether he specifically would be willing to participate in a drug test alongside Lt. Governor Newsom, by changing the direction of the conversation back to Proposition 46.
Kashkari was right about the legislator feedback regarding his comments; a spokesman for Democratic state Senate Leader Darrell Steinberg said, “The only thing tripping is Mr. Kashkari’s desperate campaign.”
Later on, after his comments were publicly aired, Kashkari claimed that he was joking, and quipped that IQ tests should be required instead.
photo credit: Un ragazzo chiamato Bi via photopin cc
Posted in Department of Labor, employment
Back in February, President Barack Obama signed a President’s Executive Order to create a minimum wage for government contractors. On October 2, the Department of Labor finally released the terms for how the government will put the wage hike into effect, as well as regulations for the Department of Labor’s pay reporting and improved pay transparency.
The Order is expected to affect approximately 200,000 contractors, though it will not be going into effect until early next year.
The Order not only established a minimum wage, it also raised the minimum pay rate to $10.10 per hour for federal contractors. The new pay scale will cover all contractors that work on government construction and service projects.
The new Department of Labor regulations were introduced publicly last week, and include clarification on what contractors’ obligations are under the minimum wage, as well as enforcement procedures (which are similar, if not identical, to the enforcement procedures that government contractors already work under).
The Department of Labor has also been working on new pay transparency regulations since a second Executive Order was signed on “Equal Pay Day” in April. Their proposed regulations would keep government contractors from keeping pay policies a secret, and remove discriminatory language from contracts regarding employees asking about or sharing information about their wages.
The Order will go into effect on January 1, 2015, and applies only for new contractors and replacements for contracts that are expiring. For more information on the Executive Order and what contracts are affected by it, visit the Department of Labor website.
Posted in Mind Your Business, MYB, small business
On October 8, Mind Your Business’ founder and CEO Karen Caruso had the opportunity to speak at the Asheville business development seminar, hosted by the North Carolina Small Business and Technology Development Center. Over the past month, the SBTDC has hosted several of these seminars for female small business owners, with a variety of topics covered.
Each of the seminars included discussions about marketing your company as a woman-owned small business and how to compete for government contracts. They also introduced a selection of business resources that can be of assistance to those who run women-owned small businesses (WOSB) and economically disadvantaged women-owned small businesses (EDWOSB).
The SBTDC hopes to promote the WOSB and EDWOSB programs — which are under the U.S. Small Business Administration —through these business development seminars. In addition, the SBTDC assists small business owners with business planning, educational opportunities, training programs, economic growth and more.
It’s not too late to register to attend either of the remaining two Women-Owned Business Development seminars! It is free to attend, but you must register in advance. Check out the upcoming events in Raleigh and Boone, N.C., on October 14 and November 18, respectively!
Posted in employment
According to a news release by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the unemployment rate dropped by .2 percentage points in September, bringing the unemployment rate down to 5.9 percent. So far in 2014, the percent of unemployed people has dropped by 1.3 points overall.
The number of available non-farming jobs increased by nearly 250,000 jobs last month, thanks to growth in the business services and health care markets. Thanks to that job growth, there are 329,000 less unemployed people this month than there were in August 2014.
More than 80,000 new professional and business service jobs were created in September, a dramatic swing upwards from the previous monthly average of 56,000 jobs. The bulk of the new positions were in employment services, though a good chunk of them were in technical consulting and management. Legal services jobs declined by 5,000 in September.
The retail industry also saw a leap in jobs, with 35,000 new positions added. Twenty thousand of those jobs were for food and beverage retailers, including the reinstatement of the grocery store workers in the northeast from last month’s chain disruptions.
The healthcare industry also saw above-average increases, with 23,000 new positions created. Information, mining, construction and financial industries also saw mid-size gains, while the manufacturing, transportation, government and trade sectors saw little change.
Posted in credit checks in employment, employment credit checks
When your ability to get a job, finance a home or maintain a low credit card interest rate is dependent on having a stellar credit score, any negative event on your report — even as minor as missing a payment on a student loan or having a medical bill go into collections — can be problematic. But if a California lawmaker has anything to say about it, negative credit events would remain on a credit report for less time, and cause less potential damage to your score.
Representative Maxine Waters, of the California House Financial Services Committee, has introduced a new bill that would alter the Fair Credit Reporting Act in several significant ways, which could help job seekers, as well as the general public.
“The Fair Credit Reporting Act was passed in 1970, before credit scoring was pervasive as it is today,” said Gerri Detweiler, the director of consumer education for credit.com. “It probably is time to look at the seven-year reporting period.”
Under the proposed changes, negative credit information — such as filing for bankruptcy or defaulting on a loan — would only remain on a person’s credit report for four years, instead of the current seven years. After the four years had passed, the negative event would be wiped from the record.
In addition, for those with hefty student loan debt, if a person defaulted on their loans, they could undo the damage by paying on time for nine straight payments. Those with medical debt would see their debts removed from their credit reports if the balances were reduced.
Several credit reporting agencies have expressed opposition to the new legislation, with experts claiming the bill would put an “unreasonable” burden on financial providers and would drive up interest rates for everyone.
“If [banks] are less able to accurately predict risk, they will proactively increase the cost of loans across the board,” said Amber Stubbs, cardratings.com’s managing editor.
It is unlikely, once the bill goes through the legislative process, that it will look the same as it does in its initial iteration; it may not even pass, with or without amendments. But it would be interesting to see how a more consumer-geared credit-reporting system could affect job seekers that have stumbled on hard times, and employers that are always looking for top talent.
Posted in background checks, background investigations, pre-employment background screening
Since last October, the federal government has made big strides in reforming the way that it conducts background checks on its employees and contractors.
The single biggest change was that the government fired the background screening company that had been performing about 40 percent of its investigations, or about 21,000 background investigations each month. That background screening company, USIS, was also sued by the Justice Department for filing incomplete background checks on more than 660,000 employees and contractors.
The Office of Personnel Management is responsible for overseeing the background checking process for those with security clearances — just under 5 million employees and contractors. An OPM audit of USIS showed that USIS’s employees were turning over a ridiculous large number of cases per employee each month, with one employee “dumping” 15,000 cases in a single month. That would have meant completing more than 85 background investigations every hour, assuming a 40-hour workweek.
In addition to changing who conducts federal checks, a special council was formed to review the security clearance process. That council stated that the government needs to be utilizing more local and state police reports in their screening processes, as things that would definitely pop up in a local or state police report might not make it to a federal report, likely due to limitations in getting local or state police reports online and available for federal usage.
Since the council made that call, the Office of Personnel Management has begun working to upgrade its technology in order to collaborate better with existing criminal databases. It has also begun requiring those with security clearances to undergo follow-up background checks every five years.
The OPM has also taken steps to reduce the number of employees and contractors that may maintain clearances.
Montana Senator Jon Tester has called the changes a “welcome sign that the federal government is finally beginning to hold contractors accountable for taking millions in federal money and then failing to get the job done for the taxpayer.”
Photo credit: Vartian
Posted in background legislation, background screening, EEOC
After some witness expressed concerns about the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission’s enforcement actions at an oversight hearing in June, the Subcommittee on Workforce Protections arranged a hearing last month to review three potential new pieces of legislation that would affect how the EEOC can enforce and regulate businesses that are trying to comply with state and federal anti-discrimination laws. That hearing took place on Sept. 17.
During the hearing, Rep. Tim Walberg, Chairman of the House Subcommittee on Workforce Protections, said, “[The EEOC] has spent a great deal of time and resources advancing a deeply flawed enforcement and regulatory agenda … employers have fallen under EEOC’s intense scrutiny without any allegation of employment discrimination.”
Walberg encouraged the creation and support of legislation that would oversee enforcement and assist employers in complying with local, state and federal laws.
The hearing covered three pieces of legislation, including the EEOC Transparency and Accountability Act, and the Certainty in Enforcement Act. The former would require the EEOC to post publicly any mandatory court-sanctioned costs it pays on its website; the latter, once passed, would provide a “safe harbor” for employers working to comply with regulations about the hiring process, particularly in regards to background checks.
The Certainty in Enforcement Act would also help to clarify existing background check laws and the EEOC’s guidance in the process as businesses complete checks without discriminating against any group. Former EEOC staff member Lynn Clements testified that the existing guidance “fail[s] to provide a clear path for employers.” Another witness said that the bill would assist in keeping EEOC guidelines from interfering with or overriding state and city laws.
Not everyone was so thrilled with the potential new laws. Professor Michael Foreman, who is the Director of the Civil Rights Appellate Clinic at the Dickinson School of Law at Pennsylvania State University, testified that the new regulations would “weaken the EEOC’s effectiveness” in enforcing anti-discrimination laws.
For more information about the laws that were discussed, check out the memo regarding the pending bills.
Posted in background investigations, credit checks, credit checks in employment, employment credit checks
The New York City Council has once again introduced legislation that would prevent city employers from utilizing credit checks in determining whether a candidate is a good fit for a job. Jobs that require credit checks under state or federal law would, of course, be exempt from the new law, should it pass.
Employers often utilize credit checks in determining whether a candidate would be a responsible employee, and so long as the company is not violating the Fair Credit Reporting Act, doing so is legal. (However, ten states — including the nearby Connecticut, Vermont and Maryland — have existing legislation that limits state employers’ use of credit checks in the hiring process.)
The ban would prevent employers and employment agencies from conducting personal credit checks, in order to prevent discrimination based on race and/or economic disadvantage.
A study by Demos showed that one in 10 people who would otherwise be qualified for a position are told they cannot be hired because of a bad credit report; however, the study also showed that, overwhelmingly, bad credit is often due to factors outside a person’s control, such as the faltering economy, crippling student loans and medical debt. Student debt is shown to disproportionately affect minority students, and medical debt is often due to an inability to maintain health insurance, which can be difficult if one cannot find work.
“We want New Yorkers who apply for jobs or promotions to be judged by their qualifications and experience for the position, and not by whether they have enough money to pay their bills,” said Councilmember and Chief Sponsor Brad Lander.
In addition, studies have found that white households are more likely to consider their credit scores “good,” while black families are more likely to describe theirs as “fair” or “poor.” By banning credit checks, the city could help reduce racial discrimination in employment, as well as assist those who are unemployed simply due to tough times, and not a lack of responsibility.
The Council seats 51 members, and 40 of them are sponsors of the bill. Mayor Bill de Blasio has also been supportive of the legislation, at least in theory, but has not actually endorsed the bill. Similar legislation was introduced in 2013, but did not pass.
Posted in drug screening, drug testing, pre-employment drug tests
A Chicago alderman has introduced a new ordinance that would require pre-employment drug testing — and subsequent annual drug testing — for all ride-sharing companies’ drivers within the city. Councilman Roderick Sawyer introduced the ordinance in September, after a drug-test mandate was eliminated from the ride-sharing ordinance that the Windy City passed in May.
The City Council was divided on May’s legislation, however. When the drug-testing language was removed from a previous ride-sharing bill, Sawyer felt he had to vote against it.
“We want to make sure our constituents are safe and have a safe ride,” said Sawyer. “It should have stayed in.”
The new ordinance requires that any ride-share driver pass pre-employment drug testing prior to receiving a license to carry passengers, as well as prior to renewing existing licenses.
Drug tests would also be required to be administered by a City Hall-approved company, under the ordinance. Companies and drivers that do not comply would be subject to per-incident fines up to $1,000, as well as license revocation for at least a year.
Chicago and other Illinois cities are able to create their own ordinances for ride-share companies after Governor Pat Quinn vetoed legislation in August, which would have placed stricter regulations on ride-share companies state-wide.
No timeframe has been set for voting on the new ordinance.
California also recently attempted to pass legislation mandating pre-employment drug testing for drivers; the bill did not pass.
photo credit: Armando G Alonso via photopin cc
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