Posted in background check, background legislation, criminal background checks
In March, we shared that Colorado lawmakers had voted to kill a bill that would protect children involved in youth sports organizations from child predators. The bill sponsors said that employees, coaches and volunteers associated with extracurricular youth sports groups should have to undergo background checks, but the bill was rejected because the Colorado Senate Judiciary Committee didn’t think it would do enough to deter sexual predators.
Now, less than three months later, Colorado lawmaker Rep. Jonathan Singer has sponsored a very similar bill, requiring background checks for individuals who volunteer with youth sports groups for more than five days per month. This time, the bill was introduced in the Colorado House of Representatives.
“When my constituents came to me with this idea for a bill, I thought we had already done this,” said Rep. Singer.
Thus far, there has not been any dissention in the House regarding the bill.
In the state, only the Colorado Amateur Hockey Association requires background checks and provides education to parents and employees about sexual harassment and abuse. Should this bill pass this time around, Colorado would be the first state with youth sports background-check laws on its books.
Posted in EEOC, employment
A new study from Career Builder and Harris Polls shows that 20 percent of hiring managers have asked job applicants illegal interview questions, whether inadvertently or intentionally. Similarly, one in three managers don’t know what kinds of questions are illegal to ask during the interview process.
Which begs the question, do YOU know what kinds of interview questions could get you in trouble with the law?
Here are some common interview questions that you should avoid, and some alternative options to keep in mind during the interview process.
Avoid: Where are you from?
Approved: Are you legally eligible for employment in the United States?
The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission protects job applicants and employees against discrimination based on a variety of factors, including race, national original, age, gender and religion. As hiring manager, you absolutely should know that the applicant can legally work for you and is able to pay taxes in the country that employs him or her, but it’s not necessary to find out what country the applicant hails from.
Avoid: Do you have kids? Do you plan to have kids?
Approved: Where do you see yourself in five years? Ten years?
It is illegal to discriminate against a candidate based on whether she (or he) has children or wants them at some future date. Asking about the future gives applicants the opportunity to share their career goals, and whether they see themselves staying at your organization long-term.
Avoid: How old are you?
Approved: Tell me about your previous work experience.
Instead of asking the applicant’s age, find out what experiences they have that will allow them to do the best possible job for your organization. A wealth of related experience or a genuine desire to improve their skills and grow professionally is much more important than a number.
Even if you play it safe and avoid all potentially discriminatory questions, know that the applicant may still volunteer answers that can be used to discriminate against them. Even if this happens, it is still your job to do the best you can to avoid discriminatory behavior in your hiring practices.
Posted in Department of Labor, employment
According to a release from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, 223,000 new jobs were added to the U.S. workforce in April, primarily in business, health care and construction. The unemployment rate remained steady between March and April, hovering around 5.4 percent of the population (about 8.5 million people).
Of the new positions available, 62,000 of them are in business and professional services. This figure is up from the monthly average for business jobs — that is, 35,000 jobs — over the previous three months. Of those new positions, 16,000 of them were in building and dwelling services, 9,000 were in computer systems design, and business support services saw 7,000 new jobs created.
Health care and construction also saw large gains, each increasing by 45,000 jobs last month. The bulk of the health care jobs were in ambulatory health care services (25,000 positions), and the vast majority of new construction jobs were for specialty trade contractors (a whopping 41,000 jobs). However, construction did see a loss of 8,000 jobs in nonresidential building.
The transportation and warehousing industries also saw small gains, while the manufacturing, trade, hospitality, government, information and financial sectors saw little change from March’s numbers.
Meanwhile, mining took another hit and lost another 15,000 jobs in April, mostly in mining support activities, and some in gas extraction. In the past five months, the mining industry has seen the loss of about 49,000 jobs.
Posted in EEO, EEOC, MYB, pre-employment background checks
Hendersonville, NC, May 20, 2015 — Last month, Mind Your Business Inc., (MYB), was awarded two new contracts to conduct Administrative Management Inquiries for Federal Government Agencies, and a contract to write Final Agency Decisions for a federal government agency.
Headquartered in Hendersonville, N.C., MYB also has an office in Washington, D.C., covering the entire DMV (D.C., Maryland and Virginia), as well as staffing throughout the United States offering Equal Employment Opportunity (EEO) services to government agencies. MYB’s EEO professionals have served as EEO Directors, EEO Managers, EEO Specialists, EEO Counselors, EEO Administrative Assistants and EEO attorneys.
In 2011, with the economy still suffering and companies cutting their budgets for background screening, Karen Caruso, CEO/President and founder of MYB, elected to diversify as a means to grow the business. This led to their expansion into providing EEO investigations to federal agencies.
One of MYB’s most recent contracts came from an Agency, which received positive and noteworthy feedback from other federal agencies that MYB has previously provided EEO Services.
“Being recognized for providing outstanding services four years later is very exciting for the company. We are extremely excited about what the future has in store for our EEO Division,” said Caruso.
This is the latest in a line of victories for MYB in the federal space, including being awarded its General Services Administration (GSA) Schedule in 2014, for Pre-Employment Background investigations and Equal Employment Opportunity (EEO) Services under GSA Schedule 738X Human Resources and EEO Services.
GSA Schedules are fast, easy, and effective contracting vehicles for both federal customers and vendors. GSA establishes long-term government-wide contracts with commercial companies to provide access to millions of commercial products and services at volume discount pricing.
MYB received certification as a Participant in the U.S. Small Business Administration’s (SBA) 8(a) Business Development Program two years ago. It is through this certification that MYB is able to compete for these contracts as well as receive some sole source set-aside contracts.
MYB currently provides, or has previously provided, services for multiple federal agencies, including OPM, IMLS, PBGC, BIA, BLM, Army, DOI, and DOE.
EEO Services offered by MYB:
- EEO Counseling
- EEO Investigations
- Final Agency Decision Writing (FAD)
- EEO Counseling Training (32-Hour and Refresher)
- EEO Investigator Training (32-Hour and Refresher)
- Writing Acceptance and Dismissal Letters
- Personalized EEO Consulting
EEO Division Staff Members at MYB:
- Heidi Griffin, EEO Director
- Renee Heider, EEO Manager
- Evon Lee-Patton, EEO Consultant/Technical Advisor
- Onsite EEO Investigators and EEO Counselors
About MYB: MYB, founded in 1996, is a leading provider of background investigations, EEO investigations and drug screening services. MYB is 8(a) certified from the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA), joining only 158 other businesses in the state of North Carolina as part of this exclusive program. MYB is also a GSA Schedule holder.
Karen Caruso, CEO/President and founder of MYB, was awarded the Small Business Person of the Year for North Carolina in 2011. In 2014, Caruso graduated from the Goldman Sachs’ ‘10,000 businesses’ program at Babson College, MA.
Posted in EEOC, employment
STEM fields (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math) have traditionally held a reputation as being a kind of boys’ club that is difficult for women to break into. However, a new study by PNAS regarding women applying for STEM tenure-track positions shocked researchers when it was discovered that, based solely on resume comparisons, women were preferred for tenure-track university jobs 2:1 over male candidates with identical qualifications.
This held true among every STEM field in the study — biology, engineering and psychology — with the exception of economics. In that field, there was no inherent gender bias toward either men or women. The study covered 371 universities in the U.S. and 873 faculty members in those selected fields were studied.
The study asked participants to review resumes from male and female candidates for tenure-track jobs. The participants were given three resumes and were asked to rank them; two of the resumes had identical qualifications, with gender being the only differentiating factor, while the third resume lacked some of the qualifications of the other two. Of the candidates with similar qualifications, the woman ranked first approximately 67 percent of the time.
Similarly, when asked to rate the identically qualified candidates without comparing them to each other, the woman’s resume invariably received higher scores.
University of Kansas economics professor Donna Ginther described it as a “provocative study,” though she says that you don’t often see results like it in real-world applications. Rather, a number of factors are considered in hiring a candidate in addition to the application or resume, including the applicant’s interview skills, and therefore hiring in university communities does not tend to reflect this bias.
Between 2008 and 2010, studies showed that women received more doctorate degrees than men, though of the available assistant professor positions during that time, women only filled 32 percent of the roles.
The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission lists gender as one of its protected classes, in which it is illegal to make hiring or firing decisions solely based on a person’s gender.
Posted in background checks, criminal background checks, Federal law, public service
After a breach in airport security in which a Transportation Security Administration employee attempted to smuggle weapons onto a plane leaving Atlanta, the TSA has set new policies to help keep both staff and passengers safer. The Administration announced at the end of April that they had finished a review of airport security measures throughout the country, and is now taking action to close the security gaps that were found.
According to U.S. Secretary of Homeland Security Jeh Johnson, the updates to airport security will significantly reduce “the potential insider threat” of employees.
Under the new policies, airline employees, TSA employees and other airport workers will be subject to ongoing, random criminal background checks, though a system has not yet been established for conducting these random screenings. Airport and airline employees will also not be allowed to skip security screening before boarding flights as passengers. (The statement from Homeland Security did not specify if crew members were to be subject to TSA screening before boarding an airplane.)
Those airport employees that maintain Secure Identification Display Area badges will also be subject to fingerprint background checks every two years.
photo credit: Dulles DHS Employee Engagement via photopin (license)
Posted in background checks, criminal background checks, public service
Georgia’s state legislature is working to pass laws that aim to protect citizens from ride-sharing companies such as Uber and Lyft, who claim that their background checking processes are good enough and that fingerprint background checks are not necessary for drivers.
Georgia House Bill 225 — nicknamed the “Uber bill” — is likely to be signed into law early in May. Under the bill, ride-sharing companies must prove they pay taxes and have $1 million in liability insurance, and drivers must undergo criminal background checks. Despite the Georgia Bureau of Investigation’s statement that “[fingerprinting is] the best and most reliable way to determine if someone has a criminal history,” there is a loophole in the bill, so that drivers may have criminal records checked by private agencies that don’t require fingerprinting.
“You’d have to be crazy to employ people who haven’t been fingerprinted, because you’d only be one disaster away from being sued,” said Georgia Rep. Alan Powell, who sponsored the Uber bill. He had to compromise on the fingerprinting issue in order for the bill to pass.
Cab companies and other professional drivers in the state have also filed lawsuits against some of the ride-sharing companies due to policies that allow drivers to skimp on regulations that taxi and limo drivers are required to comply with in order to keep passengers safe.
Ride-sharing companies — particularly Uber — remain under fire for many other reasons, including reports of assault, accidents while on the job, and ignoring city and state regulating laws.
Posted in credit checks, credit checks in employment, pre-employment background checks
The Big Apple may have just passed the strictest pre-employment credit checking law in the country. In a 47-3 vote, the New York City Council passed a bill preventing employers in the city from running credit checks on job applicants.
“Millions of Americans who have bad credit would also be great employees,” said Brad Lander, who sponsored the bill. “What they need to repair their credit is a job, and to make it harder for them to get a job is the definition of unfair.”
Credit reports are often said to provide information that is often irrelevant for employers to know during the hiring process, and that conducting these kinds of checks allows employers to more easily discriminate against people of color, as well as those struggling financially or those with health problems. (According to studies by Demos, more than 50 percent of those with poor credit scores have medical debt that adversely affects their score, and that “predatory lending schemes” have predominately targeted non-white communities, increasing the number of defaults and foreclosures for these communities.)
However, others believe that credit reports are an important part of the pre-employment process, as they paint a picture as to whether an individual can be trusted to, say, manage a company’s finances.
Regardless, there will be a few exceptions to the New York City ban: if state or federal law requires a credit check for a position, the employer may still conduct one. Employers in fields related to law enforcement and national security may still have credit checks conducted, as will those who work in roles with “financial agreements valued at $10,000 or more” and those with access to “trade secrets.”
The law is expected to go into effect in August, though enforcement will be difficult; enforcement will be via complaint, and it will be up to workers to report violations to the law.
Posted in background check, ban the box, pre-employment background checks
Vermont Governor Peter Shumlin has signed Executive Order NO. 03-15 to implement a ‘Ban the Box’ state hiring policy that removes questions about criminal records from the first part of job applications for state employment.
Agencies will continue to conduct background checks, but only after an applicant has otherwise been found qualified for the position. The policy will prevent applicants from being immediately screened out of state jobs because of a criminal conviction.
The policy will not apply to law enforcement, corrections, or other sensitive positions. A number of states, including Virginia, Georgia, and Nebraska, as well as the District of Columbia, have taken similar actions to combat hiring discrimination against workers with criminal records.
“This is about giving those who have paid their debt to society a fair chance at a good job,” Gov. Shumlin said. “Nobody wins when Vermonters are trapped in a cycle of unemployment and re-incarceration.”
The National Employment Law Project estimates 70 million American adults have arrests or convictions in their past that can make it difficult for them to obtain employment.
Another study by the same group indicates that more than 100 cities and counties, in addition to sixteen states, have now adopted Ban the Box policies.
Major cities include: Atlanta, GA; Boston, MA; Chicago, IL; New York, NY; San Francisco, CA; and Washington, D.C.
States include: California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Georgia, Hawaii, Illinois, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Nebraska, New Jersey, New Mexico, Rhode Island, Vermont, and Virginia.
Posted in background checks, employment background screening, pre-employment background checks, social media background checks
Gone are the days when employers had to wait for background check results to arrive in order to dig up any dirt on a job applicant; while savvy employers still conduct all kinds of background checks on their potential employees, you’d be hard-pressed to find an employer that doesn’t review an applicant’s social media profiles, as more than 75 percent of employers admit to the practice of conducting social media background checks. In fact, it’s not even uncommon these days for employees to be connected to co-workers and bosses through Facebook or LinkedIn!
Why are social media background checks so common, and is this a good or a bad thing for your business?
It’s easy to screen out behavior you don’t want in your company.
One can glean quite a lot of information from a candidate’s Facebook, Instagram or Twitter profiles, and learn about applicants’ habits. You may find photos of an applicant smoking when your company policy is to not hire tobacco users, or involvement in marijuana legalization groups when your company has a zero-tolerance drug policy. Likewise, negative status updates about previous jobs, co-workers or bosses can paint a vivid picture as to how the candidate might behave in a new position.
But it’s also easy to inadvertently discriminate.
In trying to find bad behavior with social media background checks, you yourself may be committing one of the cardinal hiring sins — using social media to discriminate against an individual on the basis of race, religion, gender, age and a few other factors protected by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. A simple search for the candidate on social media, especially on sites like LinkedIn and Facebook, often turns up a photo of that person’s face, which automatically reveals one’s gender and race. If you think discrimination may play a factor in not hiring an individual, it’s better to stay off the social platforms.
And not all social sites are created equal.
If you want to know the good qualities that a candidate will bring to a job, your best bet will be to look at their LinkedIn profile, as it will likely contain endorsements for certain tasks and recommendations from past employers or co-workers. Sites like Instagram, Pinterest or Facebook might not provide you with adequate information about what type of employee someone might be, as individual profiles on those sites are not typically intended to be viewed from a corporate perspective.
Take care when utilizing social media background checks during the hiring process. To learn more about conducting social media checks, contact Mind Your Business.
Next Page »