Posted in elder abuse
Legislation meant to protect Tennessee’s senior citizens is now headed to the governor for his signature, according to wjhl.com.
The legislation would make it more difficult for people with a criminal history to be employed in positions where they will be working with the elderly – one of the most vulnerable groups in society. The bill would require background checks for people who work directly with patients before they’re hired. Currently, employees have a 10-day window to secure background checks after they’re hired.
The bill would require background checks for people who work directly with patients before they’re hired. Currently, employees have a 10-day window to secure background checks after they’re hired.
Additionally, the new legislation would improve cooperation among agencies to reduce and respond to elder abuse.
“It just puts all of the agencies working together until we come up with one common ground that is to protect our elderly and get rid of this elder abuse,” Rep. Carr said. “(The elderly) are really going to benefit from this.”
“Sometimes they’re afraid to say anything, because that’s all the help they got, but we want them to know if they feel like they’re being abused now or feel like they’re being neglected, speak out,” Rep. Carr said. “We won’t let anybody come back on them.”
While the ban the box movement (a movement with the goal to make it easier for those with a criminal past to gain employment) has spread across the country, legislation such as this one shows that it’s not inclusive of all jobs. It remains a priority for lawmakers and employers to ensure that with any job vacancy where there is a higher risk – such as elder care, child care, and financial responsibility – the right precautions are taken.
Posted in ban the box
Missouri has become the latest in a long line of states to ‘ban the box’. Earlier this month, Governor Jay Nixon made an announcement directing state agencies to lessen unnecessary barriers to employment by removing questions relating to criminal history from employment applications.
The order directs all departments, agencies and boards and commissions in the Executive Branch subject to the authority of the Governor to take all necessary action to amend initial employment applications by removing questions relating to an individual’s criminal history unless a criminal history would render an applicant specifically ineligible for the position.
“The action I’m taking today will ensure that state government continues to be a model for increasing economic opportunity, improving public safety, and strengthening communities,” Gov. Nixon said. “This is about fairness. Giving folks a fair chance to redeem their lives, support their families and make a contribution to their communities is a value we share as Missourians and as Americans.”
According to the announcement, approximately 96 percent of the individuals who are sentenced to prison will eventually return to their communities. But formerly incarcerated individuals frequently encounter challenges in obtaining employment, which make it more difficult for them to successfully assimilate back into society. In fact, the Missouri Department of Corrections states that the unemployment rate for Missourians on parole in 2015 was 44 percent.
“Ban the box” policies have now been implemented in 21 states. Take a look at our full reporting on the ban the box movement.
Posted in ban the box, criminal background checks, pre-employment background checks
Earlier this month, President Obama gathered with 19 companies at the White House to unveil a voluntary initiative to encourage employers to reduce or eliminate barriers to employment for persons with criminal histories: the Fair Chance Business Pledge.
The 19 initial signatories include major companies such as American Airlines, Busboys and Poets, The Coca-Cola Company, Facebook, Georgia Pacific, Google, Greyston Bakery, The Hershey Company, The Johns Hopkins Hospital and Health System, Koch Industries, Libra Group, PepsiCo, Prudential, Starbucks, Uber, Under Amour/Plank Industries, Unilever and Xerox.
The pledge encourages signatories to take the following actions to promote fair hiring practices:
- “Banning the Box” by delaying criminal history questions until later in the hiring process;
- Training human resources staff on making fair decisions regarding applicants with criminal records;
- Ensuring internships and job training are available to individuals with criminal records;
- Using reliable background check providers to help ensure accuracy; and
- Hosting a Fair Chance and Opportunity Job Fair
The White House is building on past efforts by challenging businesses to take on the “Fair Chance Business Pledge”. You may recall that last year, we reported on the Executive Order signed by the President to ban the box for federal employers.
When that Executive Order was signed by the President, he noted that: “Around 70 million Americans have some sort of criminal record … Now, a lot of time, that record disqualifies you from being a full participant in our society — even if you’ve already paid your debt to society. It means millions of Americans have difficulty even getting their foot in the door to try to get a job much less actually hang on to that job. That’s bad for not only those individuals, it’s bad for our economy.”
The White House Fact Sheet launched alongside the pledge estimates that approximately 70 million Americans have a criminal record – almost one in three Americans of working age – and the United States accounts for 25 percent of the world’s inmates.
In conjunction with the announcement of the pledge, the Justice Department has designated the week of April 24-30 as “National Reentry Week” and is planning events across the country designed to help those with criminal backgrounds reenter the workforce.
Posted in pre-employment background checks
Myths about drug testing are incredibly common for both employers and applicants in the employment screening space.
Some are more prevalent than others, though, so we’ve used our experience and the experience of other screening organizations to identify five of the most common. Take a look.
Myth #1: There’s no way to beat a drug test
A simple Google search shows that there are numerous resources online for ways to beat a drug test. While a lot of these are dubious and rarely effective, it is possible. However, the user is not “cleansing” their system. Rather, they’re simply “masking” the true result.
Generally, these tricks fall into three categories:
- Diluting agents: since all drug tests are predicated on concentration of the illicit substance in the body, anything that dilutes the specimen affords a greater chance to pass the test.
- Substituting agents: freeze-dried urine and synthetic urine are available for purchase.
- Oxidizing agents: substances that oxidize the urine by breaking up the detectable metabolite, such as nitrite or glutaraldehyde.
Myth #2: Urine and Saliva testing provide equivalent results
While Urine and Oral Fluid drug testing are both valid test methodologies, they have some biologic differences and can provide different results.
For example, drugs remain in oral fluid for a shorter period of time and at lower concentrations than in urine, particularly THC.
Consequently, if you take a urine and oral fluid specimen at the same time from the same donor they may not correlate, which means one could be positive and one negative.
Myth #3: Marijuana stays in an individual’s system for months
Recent studies by the NCDI have shown that, depending on the cannabis concentration being used, it’s likely that a chronic user would produce a positive urine test for less than 7 days and only in very extraordinary circumstances for about 10-21 days after the last smoking episode. An occasional user would test positive within 3-7 days after the last usage.
Myth #4: Any type of alcohol, including those used in many personal care products, will cause a positive result on an EtG test
No alcohol except for ethyl alcohol (ethanol) will cause a positive result on an EtG test. Other alcohols are, chemically, very different from ethyl alcohol and break down into metabolites that will not be detected during this test.
Myth #5: Exposure to second-hand marijuana (THC) smoke can yield a positive test result
Passive exposure to a drug can make it appear in your urine, but actual consumption of the drug makes it appear at a much higher concentration.
To avoid the argument that a positive result is due to passive contact, cut-off levels have been established. These cut-off levels are set to make it virtually impossible for a specimen to screen positive from passive contact. In the case of THC, it has been shown that subjects can be exposed to extreme, uncomfortable levels of second-hand smoke for long periods of time without registering a positive urine test at the 50 ng/ml screening cutoff level.
Drug screening has numerous benefits, regardless of myths that abound. That said, a better understanding of the facts around drug screening can only make a screening program more effective, more efficient, and more successful. Be sure to keep these myths – and their truth – in mind as you implement your drug screening program.
Posted in pre-employment background checks
Legislators in Massachusetts recently filed an ordinance that would ban employer use of credit checks, including preventing employers from asking applicants to grant permission to perform such a check. Massachusetts has long banned the box for employers - and now looks to do the same for credit checks.
“We need to be eliminating all barriers to employment to ensure people are meeting their full potential and can make contributions civically and to our tax bases,” Councilor Ayanna Pressley said. “Barriers like credit employment checks can make it impossible for some people to become self-sufficient.”
An exception to the ban is for jobs where the information has clear relevance: for example, if the hire would handle significant financial responsibilities for the company or work in law enforcement.
Why perform credit checks?
Credit checks show items such as unpaid debts, outstanding loans, mortgages, credit card purchase, and bankruptcies. One reason employers may consider credit checks is as an indicator of character – many hiring managers believe that a troubled financial history signals untrustworthiness.
However, credit check opponents say that bad credit scores do not reflect poor job skills. Instead, employers should consider that a person was hit by an unexpected hardship.
“People have poor credit for many reasons,” Pressley said. “For a life disruption, or because someone is ill and you went into a tailspin for being their caregiver. You could have poor credit because you were laid off. Or because you were preyed upon in such a fashion that you took on a mortgage at a high-interest rate that should never been granted and you were set up to fail.”
Considering a credit check program? Make sure to understand your local and state laws. If you have any questions on how this legislation may affect your organization, contact us today.
Posted in drug testing, drug testing for welfare recipients
Earlier this month, eleven governors urged congressional lawmakers via a letter to support a proposal that would give states the right to drug-test food stamp recipients.
Republican Rep. Robert Aderholt introduced a proposal in February that would scrap the drug-test restriction, aiming to reduce fraud and abuse within the food stamp system. The eleven Republican governors that sent the letter in support are urging others in Congress to also support the proposal.
“We believe that Congress specifically gave states the flexibility to decide whether to implement this common-sense reform,” the letter noted. “Welfare programs typically have job training requirements as a core element, we write today to express our sincere confidence that drug testing recipients of SNAP benefits is not only lawful, but will aid in our ability to move individuals off of this welfare program.”
Welfare drug testing has long been a point of contention in politics – and this certainly isn’t the first attempt to implement it. Wisconsin Republican Gov. Scott Walker, for example, joined the letter following several failed attempts of his own to drug test welfare recipients in his state.
“The legislation authored by Congressman Robert Aderholt confirms states’ rights to drug test SNAP recipients, and we look forward to working with him on this crucial issue and implementing this common-sense reform in Wisconsin,” Walker said in a statement.
Opponents, however, claim that the cost of implementing these drug tests far exceed any savings. One study suggests that states spent $850,909.25 on welfare drug testing regimes in 2015 to uncover just 321 positive tests.
Posted in pre-employment background checks
Uber will pay at least $10 million to settle allegations by California prosecutors that the company misled passengers about the quality of its driver background checks, according to ABC 7 News.
The lawsuit, filed in 2014, said that Uber falsely claimed its criminal screening of would-be drivers was the most comprehensive available. San Francisco and Los Angeles prosecutors sued, saying Uber’s background checks were inferior to what taxi drivers undergo because they did not include fingerprint checks for past convictions.
According to a settlement agreement dated April 7, 2016, Uber is required to pay “$10 million sixty (60) days after the stipulated judgment, with $5 million for the City and County of San Francisco and $5 million for the County of Los Angeles. An additional $15 million – $7.5 million to San Francisco and $7.5 million to Los Angeles – shall be paid if it is determined that Uber failed to fully comply with the stipulated judgment.
Originally, the district attorneys also filed a claim against Lyft, another ride-hailing company. Lyft settled its case last year by agreeing to pay $250,000 and stop claiming its background checks were among the industry’s best.
Uber did not admit wrongdoing and said it already has made many changes prosecutors sought. For example, Uber stopped claiming its background checks were “industry leading” when it settled a separate case brought by riders. Under that $28.5 million settlement reached in February, Uber also renamed its “safe ride fee” as a “booking fee.”
Despite the company publicly denouncing fingerprint background checks due to database inaccuracies and unfairness, Uber started testing the fingerprinting process on some of its drivers towards the end of last year. They also released a “Commitment to Safety” post on their website that indicated that the company would be looking into biometric and voice safety options for driver screening.
Posted in ban the box
The Austin City Council has passed new ban the box legislation to give people with criminal records a fair chance to find work. The ban prohibits most private employers in the City from conducting a background check into the criminal history of job applicants until after a conditional job offer is made to them.
The legislation covers most types of employment and will make it unlawful for employers to:
- Publish information about a job that states or implies the criminal history of job applicants automatically disqualifies them from the job
- Solicit or inquire about the criminal history of job applicants in an application for a job
- Solicit criminal history information about the criminal history of job applicants unless the employer first makes a conditional job offer
- Refuse to consider employing job applicants because the individual did not provide criminal history information before a conditional employment offer
- Take adverse action against job applicants because of their criminal history unless the employer determines the criminal history of the applicants bears a direct relation to the duties and responsibilities of the job and makes them unsuitable for the job
Any employer that takes adverse action based on a criminal history of job applicants must inform them in writing that the adverse action was based on their criminal history.
This is another example of how ban the box legislation continues to spread across the country. See if your state has banned the box, here.
Posted in EEOC
Last month, five members of the U.S. Women’s national soccer team filed a complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) alleging wage discrimination.
In the charge, the players claim that even though the women’s team is the driving economic force for U.S. Soccer, its players are paid far less than their counterparts on the men’s national team.
A statement the players and their attorney released said: “The numbers speak for themselves. We are the best in the world, have three World Cup championships, four Olympic championships, and the U.S.M.N.T. get paid more to just show up than we get paid to win major championships.”
According to the charge, the women receive as little as 40 percent of what players on the U.S. men’s national team earn – despite the women’s team greater successes.
Despite the success of the women’s team, other factors such as revenue streams, viewership, game attendance and sponsorships, to name just a few, may explain away any perceived wage gaps. Although the filing, citing figures from the USSF’s 2015 financial report, says that despite the women’s team generating nearly $20 million more revenue last year than the U.S. men’s team.
The players filing the complaint are some of the highest profile and most decorated: co-captains Carli Lloyd and Becky Sauerbrunn, forward Alex Morgan, midfielder Megan Rapinoe and goalkeeper Hope Solo, acting on behalf of the entire women’s team, saying they are all employees of U.S. Soccer through their national team contracts.
The EEOC will conduct an investigation and determine if its findings warrant compensation to the U.S. women’s team.
Posted in employment, The Employment Situation
According to ‘The Employment Situation’ news release from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the U.S. economy added 215,000 jobs in March while the unemployment rate and unemployed persons was little changed at 5.0 percent and 8 million respectively.
Among the major worker groups, the unemployment rates for adult men (4.5 percent), adult women (4.6 percent), teenagers (15.9 percent), Whites (4.3 percent), Blacks (9.0 percent), Asians (4.0 percent), and Hispanics (5.6 percent) showed little or no change in March.
The number of long-term unemployed (those jobless for 27 weeks or more) was essentially unchanged at 2.2 million in March and has shown little movement since June. In March, these individuals accounted for 27.6 percent of the unemployed. Significantly, there were 585,000 discouraged workers in March, which is down by 153,000 from a year earlier.
The change in total nonfarm payroll employment for January was revised from +172,000 to +168,000, and the change for February was revised from +242,000 to +245,000. With these revisions, employment gains in January and February combined were 1,000 less than previously reported.
Over the past 3 months, job gains have averaged 209,000 per month.
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